Effective July 1, 2019, Section 44-63-140 of the South Carolina Code was amended to allow adult adoptees, age 18 or older, who were born in South Carolina, to obtain a copy of the adoptee’s original birth certificate, and any evidence of the adoption held with the original birth record, if the biological parent has completed the necessary forms consenting to the release of the certificate. A biological parent may also indicate their contact preference and consent to release medical history information.
This law applies to adoptions finalized after July 1, 2019.
When can adoptees request their original birth certificate?
Adoptees can apply for a non-certified copy of their original birth certificate if:
- The adoptee was born in South Carolina,
- The adoption was finalized after July 1, 2019, and
- The adoptee is age 18 or older.
Can anyone other than the adoptee request a copy of the original birth certificate?
No, only the adoptee can request a copy of the original birth certificate.
What will the adoptee receive if the biological parent gives consent to release 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 clearly marked that it is not a certified copy and it may not be used for legal purposes;
- Biological Parent’s Consent and Contact Preference Form, and Biological Parent’s Medical History Form. These forms will only be provided if the biological parent has completed the forms consenting to release the information and filed the forms with the Division of Vital Records; and
- Copies of all other documents contained in the sealed adoption file.
How can adoptees request their original birth certificate?
An adoptee must complete the Vital Records Non-Certified Pre-Adoptive Birth Application, pay a non-refundable $12 search fee, and attach a current photo ID to the application.
The $12 search fee includes one non-certified copy of the original birth certificate if the original birth certificate is located.
The forms can also be mailed to the adoptee if the adoptee calls the Division of Vital Records at (803) 898-3630.
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.
What identification is required from an adoptee before they can obtain their original birth certificate?
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 will be 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
What is the processing time for the request?
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. Requests will be processed within 2-4 weeks. Every effort is made to provide eligible applicants the requested documents as soon as possible.
I've requested and received my original birth certificate but didn’t get any medical information. Can you tell me how to obtain medical information?
If you did not receive medical information, your biological parent(s) did not complete the Biological Parent’s Medical History Form.
How will I know if the medical information on the form affects me?
If an adoptee receives family medical information from a biological parent that raises concerns, the adoptee should discuss those concerns with their physician.
Why is my original birth certificate on white paper and not a certified copy?
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.
What happens if the original birth certificate cannot be located?
If the original birth certificate cannot be located, the adoptee is issued a written statement that no record was found.
Can the original birth certificate be amended?
No, the original birth certificate cannot be amended.
Where can I locate a copy of the law?
Can a family member of the adoptee request a copy of the original birth certificate for genealogy purposes?
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.
Can adoptees receive copies of their biological parents’ birth certificates?
No, adoptees cannot receive copies of their biological parents’ birth certificate.