There are many reasons why a resident of West Virginia or someone who was born in West Virginia needs a copy of their birth certificate.
For example, when it comes time to enroll your child in school they will ask for your child’s birth certificate. And if your child joins a sports team such as Little League, they are separated by age, so you may need to show the birth certificate there.
If you apply for public assistance such as food stamps. medicare, or financial aid, you will need to prove you are a citizen, and this is equally true for your children.
And of course, to get a driver’s license in most states, you will need to have a copy of your birth certificate.
If you wish to join the Armed Services, they will ask to see your birth certificate, and if you wish to travel to another country, you’ll need a passport, and there too a copy of your birth certificate is required.
You may also need to show your birth certificate to prove your identity if you inherit some money.
How to Get a Birth Certificate in West Virginia?
Birth Certificates are issued by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services.
Not everyone can obtain a copy of a Birth Certificat. West Virginia is not a state with an open records policy. In order to get a copy of a birth certificate besides requesting your own, you must be:
- The Parents and Grandparents of Person on the Certificate
- The Wife or Husband of the Person on the Certificate
- The Children or Grandchildren of the Person on the Certificate
- Brother or Sisters of the Person on the Certificate
- Anyone who has Legal interest in the Certificate
In order to comply with state privacy laws, whenever anyone who’s name is not on the birth certificate will normally be required to submit additional documentation to prove their own identity and relation to the person whose name is on the birth certificate.
West Virginia Birth Certificate Request
Whether you choose to order your birth certificate in person or by mail, the Vital Records Department charges a non-refundable fee of $12 to do a records search, The department will search the year you requested, and if the search comes up negative, do an additional search at no cost for the year before and after you specified.
Any additional searches will cost an additional $12. The department of Vital Records accepts cash, checks and money orders only. No credit or debit cards. And of course, if you are mailing in your application, sending cash in the mail is not recommended.
West Virginia Birth Certificate Application
Most people do not want to wait the estimated 5 to 19 days it will take for West Virginia Vital Records department to receive their request, process the required search, and then send out a certified copy of the birth certificate.
Obviously, going direct to the Vital Records counter in Charleston is the quickest, b but that means traveling directly to Charleston.
The state of West Virginia allows online orders but does not process the applications initially themselves, but relies on their party companies to screen and submit an application.
The payment for search is forwarded onto the state, along with the application, and then the search begins.
The State does not publish how much they receive for expedited online orders, but the third party processors charge roughly $30.50 plus shipping costs for a non-rush credit card order, and $35.50 plus shipping for rush orders.
By phone, depending upon whether you choose a rush order or not, the process can be completed in as few as 2 to 3 business days, but then the certificate still needs to be sent to you. If you have your certificate sent by UPS, its theoretically possible from start to finish to get a certificate in 4 or 5 days, start to finish.
If you choose to have your certificate mailed to you by the post office, expect it will roughly take 10 days.
Note also, that if you live in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or international destinations it will take longer, particularly if the birth certificate is being sent to an international location. It’s not uncommon for postal deliveries in other countries to take 30 days or more.
In the case of living in another country, it is often best to use a trusted friend or relatives address in the U.S. and in turn, have them send it on by DHL or Fed Ex.
The U.S. Post Office does have a First-Class Package International Service, but even then, the most they will promise is 21 days.