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How to Find a Birth Record in Kentucky?

What Are Birth Records in Kentucky?

Birth records in Kentucky are official records of births that occur within the state boundary. The data obtained from collecting birth records helps the state in formulating policies to favor its citizens. Statewide recording of births began in 1911, even though there were attempts at recording births in the 1850s. Kentucky statutes recommend registering all birth events in the state with the State Registrar within five days after birth. After the completion of the registration process, birth records are made available to persons named on them or other authorized persons upon request. The information found in a typical Kentucky birth record include:

  • Child’s full names
  • Child’s gender
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth (city, county, and state)
  • Mother’s full names (including maiden name)
  • Father’s full names

The inclusion of the father’s name on Kentucky birth records depends on certain factors. If a child’s parents were not married at birth or any time within ten months before birth, the father’s name will not be entered on the child's birth record. To have the father’s name on the record, an acknowledgment of paternity must be provided in addition to the mother’s consent. A Kentucky birth record is required to process vital documents such as passports and driver’s licenses. It is also proof of citizenship. Certified copies of birth records are also required for school registration, social security registration, and personal identification in Kentucky.

Kentucky criminalizes altering, forging, and amending birth certificates unlawfully. The state also disapproves of the act of intentionally providing wrong information in the process of obtaining birth records. It is regarded as Class A misdemeanors punishable by up to a 12-month jail term and fines not exceeding $500.

How to Find and Request Birth Records Online in Kentucky

In Kentucky, interested individuals can look up and obtain birth records registered before 1911 at the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA) at a cost. The acceptable means of payment is a credit card. Records of Kentucky births from 1911 till date are not public records and, as such, are not available online. However, eligible applicants can order Kentucky birth records online via licensed third-party vital records vendors.

Considered open to citizens of the United States, public records are available through both traditional, government sources, and through third-party websites and organizations. In many cases, third-party websites make the search easier as they are not limited geographically or by technological limitations. They are considered a good place to start when looking for a specific record or multiple records. In order to gain access to these records, interested parties must typically provide:

  • The name of the person listed in the record. Juveniles are typically exempt from this search method.
  • The last known or assumed location of the person listed in the record. This includes cities, counties, and states.

While third-party sites offer such services, they are not government-sponsored entities, and record availability may vary on these sites when compared to government sources.

How to Get Birth Records in Kentucky

To obtain birth records for live birth events in Kentucky, requesters are required to complete the Application for a Certified Copy of Birth Certificate Form. They must also provide the following information:

  • Full name at birth of the person named on the record
  • The correct date of birth (day, month, and year)
  • Place of birth
  • Mother's full name (including maiden name)
  • The father's name

Kentucky also issues certified copies of birth records for stillbirths. The state classifies deaths of fetuses that completed a gestation period of 20 weeks or more as stillbirths. To obtain birth certificates for stillbirths, applicants must complete the Application for a Certified Copy of Stillbirth Certificate.

Applicants must ensure to provide accurate information when completing application forms. For ease of delivery, in the case of a mail-in request, a requester should provide the following information:

  • Requester’s name and address
  • Day time telephone number
  • Number of copies of birth records requested

Requesters must also include clear photocopies of photo identification documents in their applications. Some of the approved identification documents are:

  • Driver’s license issued by the State of Kentucky
  • Kentucky personal identification card
  • Any other government-issued photo identification

Completed applications and supporting documents can be submitted in person or by mail. Most Kentucky birth record requests submitted in person are processed and fulfilled on the same day.

Where Can I Find Birth Records in Kentucky?

Kentucky birth records are issued by the Office of Vital Statistics (OVS), a division of the Department for Public Health (DPH). The OVS maintains and issues birth records registered since 1911 to date. Members of the public can submit their requests for certified copies of Kentucky birth records in person or by mail at/to the OVS. Local County Health Departments in Kentucky do not issue certified copies of birth records. Requesters can only pick up application forms at the different County Health Departments and submit them to the OVS.

Walk-In Requests – OVS

Completed applications and supporting documents may be submitted in person to the OVS at:

Office of Vital Statistics
275 East Main Street 1E-A
Frankfort, KY 40621

The OVS attends to birth record requests between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The office does not open on public holidays.

OVS Drop Box

Requesters can submit applications for birth records requests using dropbox. They should drop their applications, with payments enclosed, in the box and have the requested birth records dispatched to them by mail. Applicants who have not downloaded the application form before visiting the OVS can use blank application forms available at the dropbox spot. The dropbox is located at the visitors’ entrance of the OVS’ office.

Mail-In Requests

Interested and eligible applicants can submit birth records requests by mail to the OVS. Supporting documents, self-addressed stamped envelope, and payment proof should be enclosed with a completed application and sent to:

Office of Vital Statistics
275 East Main Street 1E-A
Frankfort, KY 40621

Applicants should remember to clearly state their return addresses on the envelopes and the application forms.

Can Anyone Get a Copy of a Birth Certificate in Kentucky?

Not everyone can obtain birth certificates in Kentucky because birth records are not public records. They only become publicly available after 100 years of registration. While they are sealed, certified copies of birth records can only be obtained by:

  • Persons named on the certificates and are above 18 years (Registrants)
  • Parents of the registrants
  • Legal guardians of registrants
  • Members of registrants’ immediate families such as current spouses, siblings, children, grandparents, and grandchildren.
  • Law enforcement officers or representatives of government agencies
  • Persons authorized by the court to obtain birth records

How Much Does a Birth Certificate Cost in Kentucky?

Persons applying for birth records in person at the Office of Vital Statistics (OVS) will pay a non-refundable fee of $10 for each copy of the certificate ordered. The OVS charges $10 for each copy of a live birth certificate requested by mail. Additional copies of a birth certificate in the same application attracts $10 each. Mail-in requesters must make payments by checks or money orders made payable to the Kentucky State Treasurer.

The cost of obtaining birth certificates for stillbirths is $6 for each copy requested. For certified copies of birth records registered before 1911, the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA) charges varying prices. In-state requesters pay a nonrefundable fee of $10 per document requested, while those applying outside Kentucky pay $15 per copy. Additional copies of birth records at the KDLA attract a fee of 25¢ per copy or 50¢ per microfilm. The KDLA also charges additional postal fees for requesters ordering more than 20 copies of Kentucky birth records and ten microfilms.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Birth Certificate in Kentucky?

The Office of Vital Statistics (OVS) fulfill birth records applications submitted in person at their office location before 3:30 p.m. on the same day. Requests submitted after 3:30 p.m. are processed on the next business day. While the OVS strives to process birth record requests on the same day, it does not guarantee the same for requesters seeking to obtain more than ten certified copies of birth records. Such requests are typically processed within five business days.

Applications submitted by mail and via dropbox are usually processed between five to seven business days from the date of receipt by the OVS. Requests for Kentucky birth records registered before 1911 at the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA) are processed and delivered within four to six weeks.

How to Expunge Your Birth Records in Kentucky

Expungement of a record is the removal of all or part of that record. Once expunged, it is assumed the event that birthed such a document never occurred. Kentucky currently does not expunge birth records. The expungement types in Kentucky statutes all point to the destruction of criminal records.

How to Seal Your Birth Records in Kentucky

Birth records are automatically sealed in Kentucky. The public does not have access to birth records until after 100 years of the registrant’s birth registration. Kentucky birth records only become public records after 100 years and are accessible at the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA). Adoption records are also sealed in Kentucky. The completion of an adoption process gives way to sealing an adoptee’s original birth certificate and other documents generated during the adoption proceedings. As a part of this process, adoptive parents are usually issued amended birth certificates. Such birth certificates bear the names of adoptive parents as the legal parents of adoptees.

How to Unseal Your Birth Records in Kentucky

Adoptees in Kentucky age 18 years and above are only granted access to their original birth records if permitted by the birth parents. At the end of any adoption process, birth parents must do two things and notify the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) about them. These are:

  • To permit an adoptee to contact them or not in the future
  • To give an adoptee the right to inspect adoption records or deny them the liberty to do so

The decision made by birth parents on these two issues is included in the adoptees’ files and sealed with other adoption documents. Any adoptee seeking to obtain their original birth certificate must first get an order from the Circuit Court where the adoption was finalized. Adoptees whose parents have given their written consents can inspect their adoption records and can obtain copies of their original birth certificates. If birth parents did not leave a written permission in an adoptee’s file, the adoptee can obtain a court order to unseal the birth record. In this instance, the court order will instruct the secretary of the CHFS to search for the birth parents within seven days of receiving the adoptees’ application. The CHFS has up to six months to find the birth parents and either secure their consent or confirm their insistence on dissent. Kentucky statutes prohibit contacting birth parents by mail in such situations. The CHFS must make attempts to see the birth parents in person and have them file affidavits with the court that they were contacted. The information that should be entered in such affidavits include:

  • The information requested by the adult adoptee
  • The date on the request submitted by the adult adoptee
  • The right of birth parents to file, within sixty days of receipt of the notice, an affidavit with the Circuit Court stating that the adoptee is authorized to inspect all papers and the adoption proceedings
  • The right of the biological parents to file at any other time an affidavit permitting the adoptee to inspect all papers and records of the adoption proceedings
  • The right of the birth parents to file an affidavit with the Circuit Court stating that all papers and records of the adoption proceedings shall not be open for inspection

If the CHFS is unable to locate the birth parents or finds out that they are deceased, the court will rule in favor of the adoptee. It will grant the adoptee permission to inspect the adoption records. The CHFS is empowered to charge the adoptee an amount not exceeding $250 for the record search.