Code of the District of Columbia

§ 7–231.25. Certification from the system of vital statistics.

(a)(1) A certificate of live birth, a death, fetal death, domestic partnership or dissolution of domestic partnership, or any part thereof, issued in accordance with this section, shall be considered for all purposes the same as the original record and shall be prima facie evidence of the information it contains.

(2) The evidentiary value of a record submitted to the Registrar more than one year after the vital event, a vital record that has been amended, or a record of foreign live birth shall be determined by the judicial or administrative body or official before whom the record is offered as evidence.

(b)(1) The Registrar shall require an applicant applying for a certified copy of a vital record to submit a signed application, proof of identity, and evidence of entitlement under this section.

(2) Upon receipt and approval of an application, the Registrar shall issue a certified copy of a vital record in the form of a physical image or abstract to the applicant. Only the Registrar may issue the certified image or abstract.

(3) All certifications of vital records registered in the system shall be issued from the District's vital statistics system.

(c) The Registrar shall specify through rules issued pursuant to § 7-231.29 the forms of identification an applicant may provide in support of an application for a certified copy of a vital record; provided, that for applications received pursuant to subsection (b) of this section from inmates incarcerated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, if the Registrar requires an applicant to provide identification when requesting a certified copy of all or part of a vital record, the Registrar shall accept identifying information provided by the Federal Bureau of Prisons as one permissible form of identification.

(d) An applicant for a certified copy of a vital record shall be at least 18 years of age, or any age if the applicant is an emancipated minor.

(e)(1) The Registrar shall review the evidence of entitlement the applicant provides to support a request for a certified copy of a vital record. Such evidence shall consist of copies of vital records, court documents, or alternative methods identified and considered acceptable by the Registrar through rules issued pursuant to § 7-231.29. Evidence of entitlement shall demonstrate that the applicant is authorized to receive a certified copy of a vital record.

(2) The only applicants entitled to receive a certified copy of a live birth record are the registrant, his or her child, parent, sibling, grandparent, legal guardian, or legal representative.

(3)(A) The only applicants entitled to receive a certified copy of a death record are the informant, the decedent's spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, next of kin as specified by probate or other law, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, the individual with rights to control the final disposition of the decedent's body, the decedent's legal guardian immediately prior to death, the decedent's legal representative.

(B) A funeral director from the funeral establishment named on the death record is entitled to receive a certified copy of the death record for 30 days after the date of filing of the death record.

(C) An applicant may also obtain a certified copy of a death record by demonstrating that the record is needed for determining or protecting any individual or property rights.

(4) The only applicants entitled to receive a certified copy of a fetal death record are the parent, sibling, grandparent, legal guardian of a parent, or legal representative of the fetus. A funeral director from the funeral home named on the fetal death record is entitled to receive a certified copy of a fetal death record for 30 days from the date of filing of the record.

(5) The only applicants entitled to receive a certified copy of a record of a domestic partnership or the dissolution of a domestic partnership are the registrants, a registrant's child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, legal guardian, or legal representative.

(f) The Registrar may verify with originating agencies the identity documents and evidence of entitlement submitted in support of a request for a certified copy.

(g) The Registrar, in deciding whether to approve the request of a government agency or other entity for receipt of certified copies of vital records or verifications in electronic format shall consider the agency's or other entity's proposed use of the certified record, the frequency of need, security after receipt, and other relevant criteria.

(h) The Registrar shall establish the minimum information to be included in a certificate. No certificate shall be issued without the minimum information necessary; provided, that live birth records without a first name for the registrant may be issued to authorized government agencies for adoption or custody purposes.

(i) A death certificate that includes the manner or cause of death shall be issued with a denotation of such information unless the decedent's spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, next of kin as specified by probate or other law, the individual in charge of disposition of the decedent's remains, or the legal representative of any of these individuals, requests the omission of this information.

(j) Each death certificate issued for a record shall include the date of registration. Except as provided by rules issued pursuant to § 7-231.29, each certificate issued from a record marked or flagged as "amended" shall be similarly marked or flagged and shall indicate the effective date of the amendment. A certificate issued from a record marked or flagged as "delayed" shall be similarly marked or flagged and shall include the date of registration and a description of the evidence used to establish the delayed record. A certificate issued from a record of foreign live birth shall indicate this fact , display the actual place of live birth, and state that the certificate is not proof of United States citizenship. A certificate issued from a live birth record that has been matched to a death record shall be marked or flagged as "deceased".

(k) Information identified in the U.S. Standard Certificates of Live Birth, Death, and Report of Fetal Death, or identified as for medical or health use only in any vital record through rules issued pursuant to § 7-231.29 shall not be subject to subpoena or court order and shall not be admissible before any court, tribunal, or judicial body. Information identified as for administrative, statistical, medical, or health use only shall not be included in a certificate issued for the vital record.

(l) If the Registrar conducts a search for a vital record on behalf of an applicant, and this search does not identify a record that matches the requested criteria, the Registrar shall issue a document indicating that no matching record was identified. The document shall state the specific information used in the attempt to identify the record, including the type of event, the name of the registrant, the alleged date or range of dates of the event, and any other criteria used to identify the record.

(m) The Registrar may verify the facts contained in a vital record at the request of any authorized government agency in the conduct of its official duties.

(n) Each certificate issued from the vital statistics system containing a live signature shall meet the requirements for apostille, authentication, and exemplification by the District's designated competent authority to facilitate use of the certificate outside of the United States.

(o) All forms and procedures used to issue certificates of vital records in the District shall be uniform and provided or approved by the Registrar. Each certificate issued shall include security features that deter altering, counterfeiting, or duplicating the certification.

(p) The Registrar shall maintain a searchable file, either physical or electronic, of all accepted applications for a minimum of 3 years.

(q) No individual shall prepare or issue any paper or electronic document that purports to be an original vital record, a certification or a verification of a vital record, or a copy of a vital record except as authorized by this chapter or rules promulgated pursuant to § 7-231.29.

(r) An application and any supporting documentation submitted to obtain a certificate of a vital record shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed except upon the order of the court.


(Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-164, § 125, 65 DCR 9324.)

Applicability

Section 401 of D.C. Law 22-164 provided that subsection (c) of this section shall apply as of October 1, 2018.