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Instant Access to State, County and Municipal Public Records

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Are Rhode Island Vital Records Open to the Public?

Certified copies of Rhode Island's vital records are primarily accessible to the registrant, immediate family members, legal representatives, and persons armed with a court order. Nevertheless, vital records become open to the public after a statutory period of confidentiality elapses — 50 years for death records and 100 years for birth records based on the Vital Statistics Act. Interested persons must find out and contact the appropriate vital record custodian to obtain a copy.

 

What Information Do I Need to Search for Rhode Island Vital Records Online?

To order a Rhode Island vital record online, the requesting party will be required to provide necessary information describing the record of interest. The required information typically includes the registrant's personal information, the place, and the date of the life event. In addition to these, the requester must provide the necessary documentation to facilitate a vital record search.

How Do I Obtain Rhode Island Vital Records?

Requirements depend on the record custodian and the vital record of interest. Generally, persons who wish to obtain vital records must complete an application form, attach a check or money order for the payment, as well as a valid, government-issued photo ID. For vital records maintained at the State Archives, the requestor must use the vital records application form. The form contains specific instructions and requirements that the requester must follow.

Meanwhile, persons requesting vital records from the Rhode Island Department of Health must also complete an application form for the vital record of interest. This record custodian, however, requires that requesters present a government-issued photo ID. Also, intending requesters must submit a check or money order for the applicable fees before administrative staff processes the application.

Publicly available vital records are also managed and disseminated by some third-party aggregate sites. These sites are generally not limited by geographical record availability and may serve as a reliable jump-off point when researching specific or multiple records. However, third-party sites are not government-sponsored. As such, record availability may differ from official channels.

To find a record using the search engines on third party sites, the requesting party will be required to provide:

  • The location of the record in question, including the city, county, or state where the case was filed.
  • The name of someone involved providing it is not a juvenile.

 

What's the Difference Between a Certified Record and an Informational Copy?

Certified records are official documents that the record custodian attests as authentic. Generally, persons who obtain certified copies of vital records can use the document for official and legal purposes, such as processing public benefits and applying for a passport. As certified vital records contain sensitive information, access is restricted to persons who can prove a direct, tangible interest in the record. On the other hand, informational copies of vital records are documents available to the public for genealogical or research purposes. These documents are unacceptable for official and legal purposes.

Are Rhode Island Marriage Records Public Information?

Certified marriage records are restricted to the couple, immediate family members, and legal representatives. The clerk's office in the county of marriage is the record custodian for these records. On the other hand, Rhode Island marriage records are those available through the Rhode Island State Archives.

How Do I Obtain Marriage Records in Rhode Island?

Rhode Island marriage records are available at the clerk's office in the county where the marriage license was issued. Likewise, the Vital Records Office of the Rhode Island Department of Health is the central custodian of vital records. Interested and eligible persons may obtain these records by visiting the nearest office in person or via mail.

Requests to the Vital Records Office require that the requester completes a vital records request form. The completed application must be accompanied by the applicable fees and photo ID and submitted to:

Rhode Island Department of Health
Vital Records Office, Room 101
3 Capitol Hill
Providence, RI 02908
Phone: (401) 222-5960

Are Rhode Island Divorce Records Public Information?

Certified copies of Rhode Island divorce records are restricted from public access, but interested persons may obtain archived divorce records. Certified copies of divorce records typically contain sensitive information and are thus only available to the divorcees and pre-authorized persons.

How Do I Obtain Divorce Records in Rhode Island?

Eligible persons can obtain Rhode Island divorce records by querying the office of the Clerk of Family Court in the judicial district where the divorce decree was issued. To request a divorce record from a court clerk, the requesting party must submit a written request containing details of the divorce required to facilitate the record search. This information includes:

  • The full name of the parties involved
  • The case file or docket number of the record
  • The year, month, and date the divorce happened
  • The place in which the divorce occurred
  • The name of either or both litigants.

In addition to providing the information above, requestors must also cover the costs of copying and certification (if required).

Are Rhode Island Birth Records Public Information?

Rhode Island birth records are confidential for the first 100 years. Thereafter, interested persons may obtain the birth record from the state archives. Until then, persons who wish to order a birth certificate or birth certificate replacement must sufficiently prove a direct and tangible interest in the birth record.

How Do I Obtain Rhode Island Birth Records?

Interested and eligible persons can access a Rhode Island birth record by querying the state's Vital Records Office. They can make requests by downloading the birth record order form, which they should legibly fill with information such as:

  • The name of the registrant
  • The maiden name of the registrant's mother and the full name of their father
  • The place and approximate date the event occurred
  • The registrant's relationship to the requestor
  • Why the record is being requested

Applicants must enclose completed requests along with a cheque or money order payment of $22 (for in-person requests) or $25(for mail-in requests). Requestors are also required to include a copy of a government-issued photo ID such as a driver's license, passport, or alternative documents featuring their full name -- i.e., utility bills or bank statements. All requests can be made in person or submitted via mail to:

Rhode Island Department of Health
Vital Records Office, Room 101
3 Capitol Hill
Providence, RI 02908

Meanwhile, public birth records are available on the state archives as far as the birth record is over 100 years old. Interested persons may visit the state archives in person or use a request form to submit a mail application.

Are Rhode Island Death Records Open to the Public?

Rhode Island death records become available for public perusal after 50 years per the Vital Statistics Act. Until then, only authorized persons, such as the deceased's immediate family members and legal representatives, may obtain death records.

How Do I Obtain Death Records in Rhode Island?

Persons looking to perform a public death record search by name in Rhode Island can query the state archives. However, individuals who wish to obtain certified death records must complete the vital records request form. Then, the requester must attach application fees and photo ID and mail the application packet to: 

Rhode Island Department of Health
Vital Records Office, Room 101
3 Capitol Hill
Providence, RI 02908

How Do I Find Sealed Vital Records in Rhode Island?

Suppose a requester can sufficiently prove the relevance of a sealed record in exercising, determining, or protecting property or personal rights. In that case, Rhode Island Public Records Law and the Vital Statistics Act require that the restrictions of the document be waived for the individual alone. Applicants can obtain sealed records by petitioning a state-licensed judge for a subpoena or getting a written request from the subject(s) of the record.

Having received either or both documents, the requesting party may proceed to query the appropriate record custodian for their record of interest. However, the request application must be accompanied by the court order or permission indicating their legal authority to access the document.

Rhode Island State Archives

State Archives

Search Includes

  • Arrests & Warrants
  • Criminal Records
  • Driving Violations
  • Inmate Records
  • Felonies & Misdemeanors
  • Bankruptcies
  • Tax & Property Liens
  • Civil Judgements
  • Marriages & Divorces
  • Death Records
  • Birth Records
  • Property Records
  • Asset Records
  • Business Ownership
  • Professional Licenses
  • Unclaimed State Funds
  • Relatives & Associates
  • Address Registrations
  • Affiliated Phone Numbers
  • Affiliated Email Addresses

Results are based upon available information from state, county and municipal databases, and may not include some or all of the above details.

Rhode Island

The historic Rhode Island White Horse Tavern, constructed in 1673, was the first courthouse in New Port. Today it is a restaurant.

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