The New Vital Records Law (Act 46) and What It Means for You
The Vermont Legislature passed Act 46 in May 2017, which significantly changes the state laws that govern vital records –namely, birth and death certificates. The new law and rules will enhance the safety and security of birth and death certificates, provide better protection against misuse of these legal documents, and reduce the potential for identity theft. Additionally, the changes streamline the entire statewide system for creation, storage and tracking of birth and death certificates. Act 46 will impact anyone who seeks a copy of a Vermont birth or death certificate. The changes go into effect on July 1, 2018.
The most notable changes are:
- Only family members (as defined in Act 46), legal guardians, certain court-appointed parties or legal representatives of any of these parties can apply to obtain a certified copy of a birth or death certificate. In the case of a death certificate only, the funeral home or crematorium handling disposition may apply for a certified copy.
- An individual must complete an application and show valid identification when applying for a certified copy of a birth or death certificate.
- An individual who refuses to complete the application or cannot provide valid identification will be ineligible and referred to the Vital Records Office.
- Certified copies of birth and death certificates can be ordered from any town, not just where the birth or death occurred or where the person was a resident.
- Certified copies will be issued on anti-fraud paper.
- Access to noncertified copies (previously called “informational” copies) is not significantly changed by the new law or rules.
- Marriage, civil union, divorce or dissolution certificate copies and processes are not affected by the new law or rules.
For text of Act 46, go to https://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/Docs/ACTS/ACT046/ACT046%20As%20Enacted.pdf