Information for Parents

As a birth parent or adoptive parent, you must submit required documentation to have your child's birth certificate created. Your child's birth certificate is a valuable legal document. It is the chief source of information on your child's full name, place of birth, date of birth, and parents. Filed shortly after birth (preferably within 30 days of birth), the birth certificate provides proof of age and identity. This is important, because your child may need his or her birth certificate throughout life (for example, to enter school, access social services, travel in foreign countries, receive inheritance, etc.).

What You Should Do

If You Have a Home Birth

Complete and return the home birth worksheet within 30 days of birth. If you do not return this form within a year of your child's birth, you will need to provide additional evidence about the birth and pay an additional filing fee. More importantly, the birth certificate will be marked delayed. Government authorities question the validity of delayed birth certificates, which could hurt your child for the rest of his or her life.

If You Want a Copy of Your Child's Birth Certificate

Request a certified copy of your child's birth certificate at any city or town hall in Rhode Island or at the State Office of Vital Records. You can do this within a few weeks of submitting your child's birth worksheet (if you had a hospital birth) or home birth worksheet (if you had a home birth). more

If Your Child Has a Legal Change in Parentage

  • Provide the State Office of Vital Records with required legal documentation to have a new birth certificate created for your child. You must provide either a certified court order of paternity or a voluntary affidavit of acknowledgement of paternity or legitimation. Please note that if you are not a child support client, you can make an appointment with the State Office of Vital Records to complete the voluntary affidavit.
  • Request a certified copy of your child's new birth certificate. more

If You Adopt a Child Born in Rhode Island

  • Please note that the court hearing the adoption will forward the court report of adoption to the State Office of Vital Records. For children adopted in Rhode Island, the State Office should receive the report approximately three weeks after the court hears the adoption. For children adopted in other states, the process may take longer.
  • If you wish to do so, pay $15 to process the court order to seal your child's original birth certificate and create a new birth certificate.
  • Request a certified copy of your child's new birth certificate. more

If You Adopt a Child Born in a Foreign Country

  • Contact the State Office of Vital Records for information on creating a certificate of foreign birth.
  • Please note that you may need an apostille attached to a certified copy of your own vital record(s) to adopt a child in a foreign country. If this is required, request a certified copy from the State Office of Vital Records and have it signed personally by either the State Registrar or the Deputy State Registrar. Then contact the Secretary of State, Notary Division, at 401-222-1487 to ask if you need an apostille or certification.

If You are a Birth Parent of an Adopted Child

  • Effective July 1, 2012, any adoptee who is at least 25 years old and who was born in Rhode Island can get a non-certified copy of their original, pre-adoption birth record.
  • You may choose to file a contact preference form with the State Office of Vital Records and a medical history form with the Rhode Island Family Court. A copy of the form(s) you submit will be shared with the adult adoptee when the child requests a copy of his or her pre-adoption birth record. Please note that while the contact preference form conveys your wishes regarding contact with an adopted child, the Department has no legal control over a child's decision to contact you.
  • If you want more information about locating an adopted child, consider registering with the Rhode Island Family Court Voluntary Adoption Reunion Registry. If you know which adoption agency handled the adoption, you may also wish to contact that agency.

What We Do

  • Register, file, and maintain birth certificates for all individuals born in Rhode Island
  • Issue certified copies of birth certificates and non-certified copies of pre-adoption birth records upon request. more
  • Create new certificates of birth following court orders of adoption and paternity.
  • Meet with parents to complete voluntary affidavits of paternity or legitimations (by appointment only).
  • Issue certificates of foreign birth for children born in a foreign country and adopted by Rhode Island residents (by appointment only).
  • File contact preference forms for birth parents of adopted children.