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 the required fee of $25 plus any additional fees based on method of ordering. No refunds.

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

Yes, Washington State went to a closed record state. New laws/regulations went into effect 1/1/2021 Please see below:

  • Limiting the release of certified copies (or certificates) of birth, death, and fetal death records to a qualified applicant, who is the subject of the record or has a qualifying relationship with the person whose record they are requesting.
  • Requiring all qualified applicants to provide identification and proof of eligibility documentation.
  • Creating a short form death certificate that does not contain cause or manner of death information to protect the decedent’s sensitive medical information.
  • Allowing the release of noncertified informational copies of birth and short form death records to the public.
  • Increasing the certificate fee to $25 plus any additional fees based on method of ordering. The noncertified informational copy fee is also $25 plus any additional fees based on method of ordering.
  • Making historical vital records available at State Archives after specified timeframe (e.g., 100 years for births and fetal deaths, and 25 years for deaths, marriages, and divorces).
  • Not charging a fee for birth certificates for people experiencing homelessness who were born in Washington state.
  • Adding a non-binary “X” sex designation option on vital records.

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.

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 an Acknowledgement of Parentage form. You can obtain this form from Support Enforcement or us. Both parents are required to sign the form in front of a notary or third-party witness. 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 an Acknowledgement of Parentage form 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, Monday through Friday except on Holidays.