If you are an adult adoptee age 18 or older and would like to apply for your original birth certificate, you need complete the Vital Records Non-Certified Pre-Adoptive application. A valid photo ID and non-refundable fee of $27 must be included with the application. All applications will be processed by mail but can be delivered in person. Average processing time is four weeks. All applications without the appropriate fees and identification will be returned to the applicant.
Written consent from at least one of the birth parents must be obtained prior to the release of the certificate. The biological parents may have already completed this step by following the steps on this page. If not, notarized written consent must obtained by one or more of the biological parents on this form. If one of the biological parents has not given consent for the release of the original birth certificate, their information will be redacted. If one or both of the biological parents are deceased, a certified death certificate may be submitted in the place of the consent.
Frequently Asked Questions:
If the biological parents are not known, the only way to view the original birth certificate is by obtaining a court order from a South Carolina family court to unseal the record. This will not provide a copy of the birth certificate because SC Code of Law restricts the unsealing of a sealed file to inspection only.
Adoptees can apply for a non-certified copy of their original birth certificate if they were born in South Carolina and are age 18 or older.
No, only the adoptee can request a copy of the original birth certificate.
If a biological parent has completed the necessary forms and consented to release the information, the adoptee will receive the following upon request:
- A copy of the original birth certificate as it was filed at the time of birth. The birth certificate will be issued on plain white paper and clearly marked that it is not a certified copy, and it may not be used for legal purposes.
- Copies of all other documents contained in the sealed adoption file.
The completed application must be mailed to or submitted in person at the Division of Vital Records, 2600 Bull Street, Columbia, SC 29201. The Division’s hours of operation are 8:30 am - 5:00 pm, Monday - Friday, excluding state holidays. The request cannot be submitted via online or phone ordering options.
A legible copy of a valid and current government, school or employer issued photo identification of the applicant is required before a search of the records is conducted. Requests that do not contain proper identification will be returned unprocessed. Additional information about identification requirements can be accessed here:https://www.scdhec.gov/vital-records/id-requirements-vital-records
Because Vital Records must identify and retrieve the original birth record along with other documents contained in the sealed adoption file before a copy can be issued, same day service is not available. The processing time for these requests is 4 weeks.
If you did not receive medical information, your biological parent(s) did not complete the Biological Parent’s Medical History Form.
If a biological parent is deceased, a death certificate is required to release the information. It is the adoptee's responsibility to provide a certified copy of the death certificate. If the parent is deceased and there is no death certificate submitted, their name will be redacted from the original birth certificate.
Each biological parent must provide consent to release their information on the birth certificate. If a parent has not provided consent, their information will be redacted from the original birth certificate before issuance.
The original birth certificate is on white paper because the new law only allows adoptees to receive a non-certified copy of their original birth certificate.
If the original birth certificate cannot be located, the adoptee is issued a written statement that no record was found.
No, the original birth certificate cannot be amended.
If an adoptee receives family medical information from a biological parent that raises concerns, the adoptee should discuss those concerns with their physician.
No, family members of the adoptee cannot request a copy of the original birth certificate for genealogy purposes. Only the adoptee can request a copy of the original birth certificate.
No, adoptees cannot receive copies of their biological parents' birth certificate.