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Legality of Documents

Determining if your record is valid and acceptable for legal purposes

All certified birth, death, marriage, divorce and Oregon registered domestic partnership certificates currently being issued by the Oregon Vital Records Office are printed on intaglio banknote paper with the seal of the State of Oregon in the lower left corner and the seal of the Oregon Health Authority/Public Health Division in the lower right corner.

The border and Oregon seal should have a perceptible "rough" feel to it. Any erasures or additions to the record invalidate it. Because any document that has been photocopied could be altered and then recopied to disguise changes, a copy you make on plain paper will not be accepted by state and federal agencies as a legal document.

In the past, certified copies have been made on a wide variety of paper types. All of the older types of certified copies can be identified by the raised, notary-type seal. If you have a photocopy and cannot feel the raised seal, most agencies will not accept it as a certified copy since they cannot tell whether the document has been altered.

Birth cards

Oregon no longer issues birth cards. Birth cards only list the registrant’s name, date of birth, place of birth and certificate number. Many agencies will not accept them as proof of identity, because they do not include parent names and the cards do not include all the security features found on certificates.

Other documents that most federal and state agencies will not accept:

  • Bureau of the Census – Notice of Birth Registration
  • County issued document titled “Birth Abstract” (no longer issued)
  • County issued document titled “Death Abstract”