How to Find a Birth Record in Illinois?

What Are Birth Records in Illinois?

A birth record is an official document containing information about the birth of an individual. It serves as proof of an individual's age, citizenship status, and identity. Birth records are created and maintained by government entities for many purposes including vital statistics, tax, military, and census purposes. Birth records are submitted to the municipality, county, and state by parents, doctors, midwives, and hospitals, usually through paper or electronic means. The state and federal governments use these records to understand population dynamics, childbirth trends, maternal and fetal health and mortality, new parent demographics, and other trends that may inform policymakers.

A birth record is necessary for any individual to apply for a passport, obtain a social security number, enroll in schools, obtain a driver's license, gain employment, or apply for other benefits. Generally, a birth record establishes who a person is and gives access to the rights and privileges, and the obligations of citizenship. An Illinois birth record contains:

  • Date of birth
  • Time of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Child's full name
  • Mother's name
  • Father's name
  • Child's gender
  • Type of birth
  • Mother's marital status
  • Birth registration number

How To Find and Request Birth Records Online In Illinois

Illinois birth records do not fall under the provisions of the Illinois Freedom of Information Act and are therefore not considered public records. In line with this, the state does not provide a way for members of the public to find birth records online. However, eligible persons can make requests to obtain birth records. The State of Illinois processes online requests through its partnership with an independent company. The company accepts all major credit cards and may charge an additional fee for services provided.

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 Illinois?

Eligible persons seeking to obtain birth records may do so in one of these ways:

  • Mail
  • Fax
  • In-person

Anyone interested in obtaining a birth record in Illinois is required to complete the Application for Search of Birth Record Files form and submit it with valid government-issued photo identification. Note that the ID must be readable and not out of date. Requests will be returned unprocessed if a provided photo ID has expired or is considered unreadable by the certificate-issuing entity. Valid government-issued photo IDs include driver’s license, state-issued photo ID, and passport. Persons who have an extension sticker on their licenses must submit a copy of both sides of the licenses. If a driver's license is not available, a photo ID card issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles can be provided.

Requesters with expired or unavailable driver's licenses or ID cards must submit two pieces of documents with their names on them. Additionally, one of the documents is also required to show their current addresses to confirm their identity. One of the documents may be a bill (such as electricity, cellular phone, or water bill) or other USPS mail, while the second must be one of the under-listed items:

  • Medical or car insurance card
  • Voter's registration card
  • Car registration paperwork
  • Bank statement
  • Credit card statement
  • Paycheck stub with imprinted information
  • Public assistance card
  • Active-duty military ID with issued and expiration dates
  • Illinois Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) link card

Note that social security cards are not acceptable. A Matricular Consular card issued after October 2006 that has yet to expire is acceptable on its own. A Matricular Consular card is an identity card issued by the Mexican government through its consulate offices to a Mexican citizen residing outside of Mexico. However, a requester who presents a Matricular Consular card issued before October 2006 must provide one additional documentation showing the current address. If the requester cannot provide any of the appropriate documents listed above, a current copy of a current utility bill showing the requester's name and current address will be required.

Persons currently under incarceration are permitted to submit a dated copy of their prison intake/offender summary sheet containing their photos. For persons released from prison within the last six months, a copy of the release papers along with the prison photo ID is acceptable.

In-Person Requests

To request a State of Illinois birth certificate request in person, visit the Vital Records office at:

Illinois Department of Public Health
Division of Vital Records
925 E. Ridgely Avenue
Springfield, IL 62702-2737

The Division opens for work Monday to Friday, between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Due to gathering restrictions implemented as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Division is currently closed to walk-in requests until further notice.

Fax Requests

To obtain a State of Illinois birth certificate by fax, contact the Department of Public Health on (217) 523-2648. Note that a major credit card is required to pay the appropriate fees associated with obtaining a birth record.

Mail Requests

To make an Illinois birth certificate request by mail, the requester must enclose the completed application form and a check or money order for the appropriate fee in a self-addressed envelope to the:

Illinois Department of Public Health
Division of Vital Records
925 E. Ridgely Ave-2737
Springfield, IL 62702

The check or money order must be made payable to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Persons in need of an Apostille are advised to contact the Illinois Secretary of State, Index Department, or call (800) 252-8980. An Apostille is a means of certifying the authenticity of the signature of the issuing authority, the capacity in which the signer was acting, and the identity of any stamp or seal attached to the document.

Where Can I Find Birth Records In Illinois?

Copies of birth records of children born in the State of Illinois are available from the Division of Vital Records of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). The Division keeps a record of all births in the state since January 1916. Earlier records and copies of state birth records since January 1916 are also maintained by the local county registrars or clerks in the locations where the births occur. The IDPH website provides information for users to locate county clerk addresses in Illinois.

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

Illinois birth records are not public records. Under Illinois State Law (410 ILCS 535 - Vital Records Act), legal copies of these records can only be received by entitled persons. Under Illinois law, copies of birth records may only be issued upon:

  • The order of a court of competent jurisdiction

  • The specific written request for a certification or certified copy by the person, if of legal age (18 years or older), or by a parent or other legal representative of the person to whom the birth record relates

  • The specific written request for a certification or certified copy by a department of the state, a municipal corporation, or the federal government.

    The State of Illinois defines a legal representative in this context as:

  • An attorney acting on behalf of a person(s) named on a birth record

  • An agent authorized by a power of attorney

  • A court-appointed personal representative

  • An agent with written, notarized authorization from a person(s) named on a birth record for the purpose of obtaining a certified copy or certification for that person

  • Any other agent approved by the State Registrar as a legal representative of the person to whom the birth certificate relates.

The State of Illinois considers any person who willfully and knowingly uses or attempts to use for any purpose of deception, a birth record as guilty of a Class 4 felony.

Any person who is verified to hold a genealogical interest in a birth record can obtain a genealogical copy of a birth record. Note that each genealogical copy is clearly marked with a "Genealogical Purposes Only" stamp in the body of the record. Such records are non-certified, and the record of birth must have been on file for a minimum of 75 years. Where the record has been on file for less than 100 years and the subject is deceased, the requester must provide proof of the subject's death.

How Much Does a Birth Certificate Cost in Illinois?

Illinois issues two types of certified birth certificates. Both are suitable for legal purposes with the difference being only in the amount of information contained in each type. Pursuant to Illinois Law (ILCS410/535/25(1)), a requester must make an advance payment for the search of birth record files. This fee of $10 is included in the price of the copy(ies) being requested and is non-refundable.

Costs for In-person and Mail Requests

The State of Illinois charges $10 for the first copy of a certified birth certificate that contains the under-listed items:

  • Child’s name
  • Date of birth
  • Sex
  • Place of birth (city, county, state)
  • Mother/co-parent’s maiden name
  • Mother/co-parent’s place of birth (state/country)
  • Mother/co-parent’s age
  • Father/co-parent’s name
  • Father/co-parent’s place of birth (state/country) Father/co-parent’s age
  • File date
  • Date issued
  • State file number

Each additional copy of this type of certified birth certificate requested at the same time as the first copy costs $2. This type of birth certificate is referred to as the short form birth certificate with basic birth record information. The short form birth certificate may not be accepted by all government agencies.

The long form birth certificate which contains the most available information costs $15 per certified copy and $2 for each additional copy. The long-form birth certificate is accepted for all legal use, passport, and other governmental agencies.

Genealogical birth records are charged at $10 for the first copy and $2 for each additional copy. Foreign birth or administrative foreign birth records cost $5 per copy. Foreign birth records are birth records of adopted persons born outside of the United States who were re-adopted in Illinois.

Acceptable modes of payment for mail orders are check and money orders. These must be made payable to the Illinois Department of Public Health. For in-person orders, fees may be paid by cash, personal check, money order, or debit/credit card. Visa credit card is not accepted for payments for in-person orders.

Costs for Fax and Online Requests

A long form certified copy costs $15 and $2 for each additional copy. There is also a handling fee of $12.95 and $3 for each additional person in a group order. If a requester chooses to use UPS services for delivery to locations within the United States, an extra $19.50 will be charged. For UPS delivery to locations outside the United States, additional fees may apply. Payments for fax and online orders can be made using all major credit cards, including American, Express, Discover, MasterCard, or Visa Card.

Under Illinois law, homeless individuals born in Illinois are entitled to a free certified copy of their birth records from the county in which they were born. However, the homeless status of any such individual will be verified by a human services agency, legal services, or any other similar agency.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Birth Certificate In Illinois?

Birth certificate requests to the Illinois Department of Public Health currently take over 12 weeks to complete. Due to the limited staff attending to requests in compliance with COVID-19 restrictions, requests now take longer to complete. Online requests and requests made to the local county registrars take lesser time to complete. Processing time for birth record requests from the local county clerks or registrars in many Illinois counties takes 10 - 14 business days to complete.

How To Expunge Your Birth Records In Illinois?

An expungement is a term used to describe the permanent removal of records. Expunging a birth record means removing certain details from it. Illinois makes no provision for expunging birth records.

How To Seal Your Birth Records In Illinois?

Pre-adoption birth records for adoptees are automatically sealed upon the completion of an adoption process in Illinois. No separate steps are required to seal a birth record other than the legal completion of an adoption filing.

How To Unseal Your Birth Records In Illinois?

To reinstate an original birth record as a legal record of birth after adoption, a certified copy of the court order to vacate the adoption must be submitted to the Adoption Unit of the Division of Vital Records in the Illinois Department of Public Health. Illinois specifies that the court order must be issued by the Circuit Court that originally granted the adoption. The court order must direct the Illinois Department of Public Health to vacate the adoption and to reinstate the original birth record. It must also include the following information:

  • Complete name after adoption
  • Complete name before adoption
  • Date of birth of the adoptee
  • Place of birth of the adoptee
Illinois Public Act 96-0895 which came into effect on May 21, 2010, now makes it possible for adult adoptees or surrendered persons born in Illinois, who are 21 years or older to request a non-certified copy of their original birth certificate (OBC). The Act permits birth parents of adopted or surrendered persons born on or after January 1, 1946, to specify their wishes with regard to contact and the release of their identifying information.

To obtain a non-certified copy of an OBC, complete a Request for a Non-Certified Copy of an Original Birth Certificate form and enclose it with a copy of a valid government-issued photo ID and the appropriate fee in a mail. The fee is $15 and can be paid via a check or money order made payable to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

According to the Illinois Public Act 98-0704 which came into effect on January 1, 2015, birth parents of adoptees born in Illinois can request a non-certified copy of the OBC as it was filed at the time of birth. To obtain a copy of an OBC, complete the application form and enclose it along with a copy of a valid government-issued photo ID and a check or money order for $15 made payable to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Completed applications for OBC from adoptees or parents of adoptees under the Public Act 96-0895 and the Public Act 98-0704 are to be submitted to:

Illinois Department of Public Health
Division of Vital Records - IARMIE
925 E. Ridgely Avenue
Springfield, IL 62702-2737