Are Birth Records Public in Arkansas?
Per Arkansas Statute 20-18-305, only certain persons can obtain copies of birth records less than 100 years old. Birth records older than 100 years in the state are public records and may be accessed by anyone. The State of Arkansas did not begin statewide registration of births until February 1914. It took almost 30 years to realize full compliance. However, Fort Smith and Little Rock started filing birth records in 1881. A typical birth record or any person in Arkansas will contain at the least the following information:
- The person's full name
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Full name of parents
- Mother's marital status (at birth)
- Mother's maiden name
- The person's gender
- Date and place of registration, and birth registration number
- Type of birth
What are Birth Records in Arkansas?
A birth record is any record that documents information about a person's birth, including the situation surrounding such an event. It is a vital record. Arkansas birth records are birth events that occur within the state. An Arkansas birth record allows a person named on it to apply for a driver's license, obtain a passport, enroll in school, get a social security card, and get married. It is also proof of citizenship and identity.
How to Find and Request Birth Records Online in Arkansas
The Vital Records Office of the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) offers an online service through which interested persons can obtain birth records in Arkansas. This service, however, makes no provision for anyone to look up birth records. Requesters are required to provide their names, dates of birth, addresses, and driver's license numbers. They must also provide suitable proof of relationship with the persons of interests. Requesters are encouraged to use the Document Selector to verify supporting documents and save time when using the online service to request Arkansas birth records. All payments must be made promptly via debit or credit cards to avoid processing delays. After submitting an Arkansas birth record request online, a unique confirmation number is generated, which a requester can use to confirm order status.
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 Arkansas
Eligible persons who are interested in obtaining certified copies of birth records in Arkansas can do so in person or by mail. A completed Birth Certificate Application Form is required for both methods of requests. The Vital Records Office of the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is the legal custodian of birth records for all events from 1914 to date. The ADH provides vital records services in every county of the state through the Local Public Health Unit. Requesters must provide proof of relationship with the persons named on their records of interest to obtain birth records by either means.
How to Get Arkansas Birth Record in Person
Qualified individuals can obtain certified copies of birth records in Arkansas by visiting the Vital Records Office in person, provided they have all the required information and proof of identity. Birth records are also available at the Local Health Unit.
How to Get Arkansas Birth Record by Mail
For mail requests, applicants must attach proof of identity to their completed applications and send the same to the State Vital Records Office. Mail applications must be enclosed with requesters' self-addressed stamped envelopes and proof of payment of the applicable fees. Interested persons may also order birth records via mail from the Local Health Unit.
Individuals who have questions regarding obtaining birth records in Arkansas can contact the ADH via email. Only government-issued identification documents containing requesters' photos are tenable for birth record applications in Arkansas. They include:
- The United States issued Driver License or Identification card
- United States Territories Driver License or Identification Card
- Tribal Identification Card bearing the requester's signature
- The United States Military Identification Card bearing the requester's signature
- The United States or Foreign issued Passport
- Visa stamped in a passport that has the requester's signature
- Resident Alien Card (Form I-551)
- Employment Authorization Card (Form I-766)
- Employment Authorization Card (Form I-688A)
- Temporary Resident Card (Form I-688)
In events that requesters do not possess any of the identification documents listed above, at least two of the secondary documents below can help establish their identities:
- Employment Identification Card with photo, accompanied with paystub or W-2
- School, university, college identification card with photo, accompanied with a report card or other proof of current school enrollment
- Department of Corrections identification card, accompanied by probation documents or discharge papers
- Social Security/Medicare Card which must be signed
- Pilot’s License
- Car registration or title with current address
- U.S. Selective Service Card
- Voter’s Registration Card
- Filed Federal tax form with current address and signatures
- Bank statement or utility bill with current address
- Court documents with current address
Where Can I Find Birth Records in Arkansas?
Birth records in Arkansas are available at the Vital Records Office of the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). Interested persons may also get Arkansas birth records from the nearest Local Health Unit. The local health units are located in the counties and provide vital records services, as would the state office.
To obtain a birth record from the Vital Records Office in Arkansas, a requester may submit or send a completed Birth Certificate Application Form with required documents at/to:
Arkansas Department of Health
Vital Records, Slot 44
4815 West Markham Street
Little Rock, AR 72205
The Vital Records Office opens Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. It is situated across the street from War Memorial Stadium. Interested persons may also visit the Local Health Units in their counties of residence to obtain birth records. The ADH provides a contact list of the Local Health Units in Arkansas on its website.
How to Get Birth Records From a Hospital in Arkansas
Hospitals in Arkansas are not authorized to issue birth records to anyone. The Vital Records Office of the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is the legal repository of records of all birth events that occur in Arkansas.
How Long Do Hospitals Keep Birth Records in Arkansas?
Arkansas hospitals are required to maintain birth records for a limited period, typically around 5-10 years. However, the retention period may vary depending on individual hospital policies. After this period, it becomes the exclusive responsibility of the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and local county health departments to maintain and issue these records.
Can Anyone Get a Copy of a Birth Certificate in Arkansas?
Per Arkansas Statute 20-18-305, access to birth records that are less than 100 years old in Arkansas is restricted to specific persons. Such persons include:
- The person named on the certificate (must be age 16 and older)
- Specific relatives, such as:
- Father, if named on the certificate
- Maternal Grandparents
- Persons who have legal interests in the certificates (such as the registrant guardian)
These persons must valid identification documents and the following information accurately:
- The full name of the person named on the birth certificate (Registrant)
- The registrant's date of birth
- The parents' names (in full)
- The mother's maiden name
- The applicant's reason for requesting the certificate
- The requester's relationship with the registrant
- Proof of payment
However, anyone can request an Arkansas birth record once it has been recorded for over 100 years. It is an offense to knowingly make a false statement when applying for a certified copy of a birth certificate in Arkansas. Per Arkansas Statutes 20-18-105, an offender is subject to a fine of not more than $10,000 or a jail term of not more than five years or both.
How to Get a New Birth Certificate in Arkansas
To obtain a new birth certificate in Arkansas, inquirers must first determine and confirm their eligibility to access the certificate. To be eligible, they must either be named on the certificate, be the parent or legal guardian of the record holder, or be the authorized legal representative of the aforementioned parties.
Eligible persons may proceed to download and fill out the "Application for the Search and/or Certified Copy of a Birth Record" form on the ADH website. Completed applications must be submitted along with a valid government-issued photo ID and the specified fees.
Can You Find Birth Certificates Online?
Arkansas birth certificates are not available online due to their confidential nature. Birth certificate requests are typically processed in person or via mail.
Who Signs Birth and Death Certificates in Arkansas?
In Arkansas, birth certificates are signed by the medical professionals who aided the birth and the parents of the newborn. On the other hand, death certificates are signed by the attending physician or medical examiner who determines the cause of death or declares the time of death.
How Much Does a Birth Certificate Cost in Arkansas?
The cost of obtaining the first copy of a birth certificate in Arkansas is $12. Each additional copy in the same order costs $10. For requests made online, requesters will pay a non-refundable identity verification fee of $1.85. They will also pay a standard processing fee of $5. By Arkansas law, the search fee ($12) and processing fee for online orders are non-refundable even if the Vital Records Office does not have a requested record on file.
The Vital Records Office refunds any other fees paid by requesters whose records of interests cannot be found. Acceptable forms of payments for mail-in requests are checks and money orders. For in-person applications, requesters may pay by cash, checks, money orders, and credit or debit cards. Credit or debit cards are the only means of payment for online Arkansas birth records requests. The Arkansas Vital Records Office does not accept temporary checks, and all fees are payable to the Arkansas Department of Health.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Birth Certificate in Arkansas?
Most in-person requests of birth records in Arkansas at the Vital Records Office are processed and fulfilled the same day, provided the applicants arrive by 4:30 p.m. Requesters visiting after 4:30 p.m. will not obtain their records of interest the same day. They can pick up such birth records the following business day or request the Vital Records Office to dispatch the documents to them via mail.
Online birth record requests in Arkansas are fulfilled between seven to fourteen business days from the date of approval. Similarly, a mail-in application is processed and delivered within seven to fourteen business days from the date of receipt by the Vital Records Office.
How to Expunge Your Birth Records in Arkansas
Expungement offers a legal means to erase, destroy, or block access to some records. It allows individuals to put their pasts behind them and is usually related to criminal matters. Although Arkansas seals quite a lot of records, it does not expunge birth records.
How to Seal Your Birth Records in Arkansas
Adoption records in Arkansas are sealed records. An original birth certificate is typically issued in the name of a child at birth. Such a certificate also bears the birth parents' names. When birth parents place their child for adoption, some changes in the child's birth record occur. The common one is the creation of an amended birth certificate. This certificate usually carries the adoptee's full name as it is on the original birth certificate. Sometimes, the adoptee's birth place is changed or removed. The adoptive parents' names are also entered into an amended birth certificate.
The adoption decree is the final document in adoption, proving that a legal adoption process has been concluded. It lists the adoptee's birth and adoptive names and may sometimes include the birth mother's name. In Arkansas, the court will immediately seal an adoptee's original birth certificate, adoption decree, and other adoption documents once the adoption process is finalized. The essence of sealing birth records is to protect adoptees and adoptive parents from intrusion by the birth parents. It also helps to ensure that the identity of parents who place their child on adoption remains concealed, at least for a long time.
How to Unseal Your Birth Records in Arkansas
In Arkansas, a birth record is sealed immediately after a legal adoption process. A sealed adoption record contains, among other things, identifying and non-identifying information. As provided by state rule, access to both information is limited to specific individuals. Arkansas requires adoptees to undergo counseling for them to know the inherent implications of initiating contact with their biological parents before releasing any identifying information. Generally, access to identifying information in a sealed Arkansas birth record is available to the adult adoptee, birth parents, and persons related within the second degree through the adoption registry. Non-identifying information is accessible by the adoptee, the adoptee's birth parents, and the adoptive parents. It is also available to adoptee's children, guardian of any child of the adoptee, and widower or widow if the adoptee is already deceased.
In Arkansas, adoptees who are at least 21 years of age can request their adoption document from the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). A completed Request For An Adopted Person's Original Birth Record Form, which must be notarized and include proof of the requester's identity, should be mailed to:
Arkansas Department of Health
Office of Vital Records, mail slot 44
4815 West Markham Street
Little Rock, AR 72205
A qualified requester will pay a non-refundable $100 fee and receive the following if the Vital Records Office locates their records of interest:
- A copy of the birth records, which will include the original certified copy of the birth certificate (such a birth certificate will be marked as not to be used for official use)
- Family medical, cultural, and social history, if provided by birth parents
- The contact information of birth parents and their contact preference if provided by them.
What is an Arkansas Birth Index?
The Arkansas Birth Index is a statewide resource containing basic information about individuals born within state limits. It lists their names, birth dates, and county of birth and is especially valuable for verifying ancestry, genealogical functions, and the statistical analysis of population trends in Arkansas counties.