In Virginia, the state began collecting birth registrations in June of 1912 but many counties have older Virginia birth records that date to 1853. The state office for Vital Records will have the collection of data from 1912, but anything older than that will have to be found either in the State Archives or at county registrar's office.
State privacy laws keep all birth records confidential until 100 years after the date of birth. So to have access to records within that time frame, you must be an immediate family member of the person of record or requesting your own birth certificate. Permitted relationships include children, parents, spouses, siblings and grandparents only. You will have to supply ID when you submit your application.
To make a request for a Virginia birth record from the Vital Records office just involves a form and a search fee. Once you've completed the paperwork, you can either mail it to the office for a wait time of 1 to 4 weeks or take it all to the office yourself and get your records back while you wait.
The mailing address is the Virginia Department of Health, Division of Vital Records, PO Box 1000, Richmond VA, 23218 USA. If you are coming to get your records personally, you need to come to the First Market Bank Building, 2001 Maywill Street in Richmond. They moved offices in May 2011, so make sure you have the correct address if you've been there in the past. They are open Monday to Friday, and even have limited hours on Saturdays.
The forms for requesting a Virginia birth record can be printed from their website (http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/Vital_Records/documents/appform.pdf). It's a common form used for all vital records, so take care to only fill in the sections required for a birth record.
You need to identify yourself with contact details, your relationship to the person on the record and your reason for making a records request. A clear photocopy of your own ID is also necessary. Then fill in the fields identifying the record you are seeking, with full name, date and place of birth, parent's full names.
The cost for a certified copy of a Virginia birth record is currently $12 USD. If you are at the office yourself, you can pay in cash, but all mailed applications should be paid by check or money order made out to the State Health Department. They don't accept credit cards. If they cannot find the record you specify, you are not issued a refund for your fee.
You can also find many good Virginia birth record resources through the Virginia Historical Society, if you are looking for older material that the state doesn't have. They have a page on their website (http://www.vahistorical.org/research/genealogy.htm) specifically for genealogical resources, many of which can help you do further research into older records. The Library of Virginia (http://www.lva.virginia.gov/) also has some birth record indexes for the years between 1853 and 1896 that you can search through online by name.
If you would like to request Virginia birth certificates by mail, you can follow these steps:
Download and complete a Virginia Birth Certificate application and sign it.
Make a copy of your identification to send with the request.
Mail in your request and your identification, along with a check or money order for $12, to the address listed below.
For questions regarding the access of Virginia birth records, you can contact the Department of Health at:
Virginia Department of Health
Division of Vital Records
P.O. Box 1000
Richmond, VA 23218-1000
Ordering Virginia Birth Records
Virginia birth records can be obtained through the Virginia Department of Health. The Department of Health houses over 7 million vital records, including Virginia birth records.
Methods For Ordering Records
When ordering Virginia birth records, there are several ordering methods from which to choose. The suggested method is to order your records by mail. You can also request Virginia birth records in person or make a request online using a third party company.
Defining Your Relationship
Virginia birth records less than 100 years old are considered private information, which means that access to them is limited. When requesting a record, you will be asked to define your relationship to the person listed on the record. You must be the person listed, a parent or guardian, a grandparent, spouse, sibling, or child to be granted access to the record.