Updated: Mar 1
According to Pennsylvania's Vital Statistics Law of 1953 (P.L. 304, No. 66), birth and death records become public records 105 years after the birth date or 50 years after the death date. Pennsylvania State Archives holds birth records dated from 1906.
Therefore, as of 2017, copies of birth records of people born in Pennsylvania can be obtained for the following:
- Individuals born between 1906 and 1911, or
- Individuals who died between 1906 and 1966.
You must be 18 years of age or older and an immediate family member of the person in order for your request to be processed.
The individual whose birth certificate you are ordering must be your child, parent, spouse, sibling, grandchild, grandparent, great-grandparent (specifying "maternal" or "paternal" on the application) - or you must be Power of Attorney for the person named on the certificate.
Note: You may only submit one spelling in the "Name at Birth" field on the application, so be sure to use the name and spelling most likely to have been used. If there are other spelling variations, you may note it in the space marked "Other", however, the search will be for the spelling you specified. Other names given will be used to help positively identify any matches found. If the name is a common one, it may not be possible to produce the correct birth record. If enough information isn't provided, your request may be unable to be processed.
How to order birth records
In Pennsylvania you can order copies of birth records in person by visiting a Division of Vital Records office in Erie, Harrisburg, New Castle, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, or Scranton. You can download and fill out the form (see below) beforehand or acquire one at their office.
Uncertified copies of birth certificates issued from 1906 to 1911 are available at the State Archives. The cost is currently $5.00 per certificate. Use their Vital Records Request Form to order.
Certified copies of birth records are available from Dept. of Vital Statistics. Submit your request by mail following the simple steps below.
Download the Application for Certified Copy of Birth Record if you know the exact year the individual was born, or download the Application for Multi-year Search of Birth Record if you do not know the year but can narrow it down to a 10-year time frame.
Search the Pennsylvania birth indices to obtain the state file number to be specified on the application as instructed.
Fill out the form giving as much information as you know. If you do not know the exact town or city the individual was born in, you must at least provide the name of the county they were born in.
Sign the form at the top of the application.
Include a copy of your valid government-issued ID. Expired ID is not accepted. The ID must match/confirm your address. Copies of photo IDs will be shredded upon examination. If you don't have acceptable ID, click here for alternative ordering methods.
Address an envelope to: Division of Vital Records 101 S. Mercer St. PO Box 1525 New Castle, PA 16103
The current fee if you know the exact year of birth is $20. If you require the multi-year search, the fee is $45 for a search of 2-10 years. Enclose a check or money order payable to: "Vital Records". This fee may be waived for past or present military personnel or their dependents. (Prices are subject to change).
Enclose the completed, signed application, the copy of your ID, and the check or money order into the envelope and mail.
Births before 1967 take approx. 15-20 days to process.
*This information is up-to-date as of February, 2020, however, Pennsylvania's policies and pricing are subject to change. Visit the State's web site for details.
For information about finding death records in Pennsylvania, click here.