Birth & Death Certificates FAQs

Frequently asked questions specific to birth and death certificates.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Do you really need my maiden name? Why not my married name?

Yes. Birth name, also known as maiden name, is what shows up on the birth certificate. You must know the birth name in order for the certificate to be issued. 

Q. Can the fee be waived

No, the fee cannot be waived. Under Washington state law (RCW 70.58.107) public health must charge a fee of $20 for certified copies of records and for copies or information provided for research, statistical, or administrative purposes, and $8 dollars for a search of the files or records when no copy is made. Public health is also authorized to charge fees to be paid for preparing sealed files and for opening sealed files.

Q. Are there any laws that prohibit me from obtaining a copy of a death certificate?

No, Washington state is an open record state, anyone who knows the required information on the record may purchase a certified copy.

Q. What permits do I need to transfer a dead body?

Under state law, (WAC 246-500-040) if the individual’s death occurred in Spokane County, Spokane Regional Health District can issue a burial transit permit. Once the death certificate is filed, our office can issue the permit.

If the individual’s death occurred in another county, obtain a burial transit permit from that area’s local health officer or local registrar of vital statistics.

Q. How do I order a death certificate for an individual whose death occurred before 1907?

To order a death certificate for a Spokane County death that occurred between 1891 – July 1907: Spokane County Auditor. 

To order a death certificate for Washington death prior to 1907: Washington State Archives.

Q. I have not received an order confirmation email. Am I supposed to receive one?

Yes, an email should be sent to you once you’ve placed your order. Once your order is shipped, you should receive an additional email. If you did not receive this email, click here.

Q. I have not received the certificate I ordered. How long does it take?

Typically, orders are shipped the same day they are placed or the following business day. Allow ample time for mail delivery. You will receive an email if ordered online.  If we have difficulty locating the record, staff will contact you for more information.

Q. How do you confirm the hospital where birth certificate was filed?

Since there might be multiple people with the same name and birthday, it’s essential that you know either the place of birth or the name of the hospital where the person was born when ordering a copy of the birth certificate. If you do not know the name of the hospital, place of birth will suffice.

Q. My child was recently born and the form for their birth certificate was sent to you. When will I receive the certificate?

Birth certificates are filed electronically directly from the hospital to the Washington Department of Health, Vital Statistics office. The certificate does not come through the local county office during the filing process. A record is not automatically sent/issued. You must submit an order for certificate. <KP, link to entry>

Q. How do I correct information on a birth certificate? Is the process the same for name, birth city, etc.?

Corrections to birth certificates are made using an Affidavit for Correction form. The form summarizes how to make a correction. Most corrections require proof. 

There are two ways to access the form:

  • The Washington State Department of Health offers the form on its website here.
  • The form is also printed on the back of every birth certificate.

To submit the completed form:

  1. Gather required proof, if needed
  2. Submit the documents to the Department of Health:

By Mail

Center for Health Statistics      
Attn: Corrections
P.O. Box 47814
Olympia, WA 98504-7814

If you have further questions, please call Spokane Regional Health District’s Vital Records office at 509-324-1601.

Q. How do I add a name (father’s) to a birth certificate?

It is done by completing a Paternity Affidavit. You can obtain this form from Support Enforcement or us. Both parents are required to sign the form in front of a notary. You may call our office at 509-324-1601 to get information/requirements. Or you may visit:

Q. Why is there no father listed on my child’s birth certificate?

If you were not married at the time of your child’s birth and/or a Paternity Affidavit was not completed at the hospital at the time of birth, no father will appear on the certificate.

Q. Why is there no record of the death certificate I am looking for?

We were not provided the correct information and/or the individual’s death occurred in another state.

Q. What if I want to pay by check?

Personal checks are not accepted.

Q. What are your hours?

Walk-in hours: 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m (closed for lunch from noon-12:30 p.m.), Monday thru Friday except on Holidays.