Louisiana enacted a new law in 2022 that restores an adult adopted person’s right to request and obtain copies of their own original birth certificate. Here’s how it works and who can apply.
Does this mean I can now get my own original birth certificate in Louisiana?
Yes, yes it does, as of August 1, 2022.
Does the new law apply equally to all adopted people born in Louisiana?
Yes. All Louisiana-born adopted people today have an unrestricted right as adults to request and obtain copies of their own original birth certificates. The new law eliminates prior requirements to use a complex registry system or to obtain a court order to obtain your own birth record.
How old do I have to be to request my own OBC?
Why do I have to be twenty-four years of age to request a copy of my own pre-adoption birth record?
Louisiana’s unique and complicated “forced heirship” laws generally impact estate planning or intestate issues involving any heir under 24 years of age, even heirs who have been adopted. Legislators and advocates agreed on age 24 so that the bill would pass.
Who else can apply for the OBC other than the adopted person?
The new law applies only to Louisiana-born adult adopted people who are at least 24 years of age. It does not apply to any of the adopted person’s family members, whether by birth or through adoption.
How and where do I apply?
The application forms and more information about the process is on the Louisiana Department of Health website here. You must complete the form entitled Adoptee Application for Pre-Adoption Birth Certificate and mail it to:
Louisiana Vital Records
ATTN: Pre-Adoption Certificates
P.O. Box 60630
New Orleans, LA 70160
I can’t print out the form or use it. What should I do?
You may send a letter, with the fee, containing the following information:
- Your full name as it appears on your current legal birth certificate (your amended birth certificate);
- Date of birth;
- Parish of birth;
- Full maiden name of mother as it appears on your current legal birth certificate (this is almost always your adoptive mother);
- Full name of father as it appears on your current legal birth certificate (this is almost always your adoptive father);
- Your mailing address and telephone number where you can can be reached during the day
- Your original signature and date of signature
Remember, the state uses your current information on your post-adoption birth record to find your original birth certificate. You do not need to know the names of your birthparents in order to apply for the OBC.
How much does it cost to apply?
It costs $15.00 per copy for each original birth certificate. NOTE: a 50 cent transaction fee also applies no matter how many copies you order. Don’t forget to add the 50 cent transaction fee to the total.
What will I receive when I apply for the original birth certificate?
You will receive up to two documents:
- a non-certified copy of your original pre-adoption birth certificate;
- a birthparent contact preference form that a birthparent may have completed and filed.
What is a contact preference form and how does that affect the release of the original birth certificate?
A genuine contact preference form allows a birthparent listed on the birth certificate to express a preference for any contact with the adopted person or the adopted person’s descendants. The Louisiana form has the following three choices, none of which impacts the release of the original birth certificate:
(a) I would like to be contacted.
(b) I would prefer to be contacted only through an intermediary.
(c) I prefer not to be contacted at this time. If I decide later that I would like to be contacted, I will submit an updated contact preference form to the state registrar.
When will contact preference forms be available to file?
They are available now and can be downloaded from the Louisiana Department of Health website here.
Can I apply for my original birth certificate online?
No. It is available by mail only.
How long will it take to get the copy of the original birth certificate?
This is not yet known, and the Louisiana Department of Health has not provided specific information on the time it may take to process and issue a copy of the OBC.
Will any information on the original birth certificate be changed or removed?
No. The law does not allow for anyone to change or remove information from the original birth record.
Will I get a certified copy of the original birth certificate?
No. It is a non-certified copy. The document will indicate on its face that it may not be used for legal purposes.
Will the information on the original birth certificate be accurate?
That’s a good question. It will reflect what was reported at the time by any legal birthparents and/or health professionals who registered the birth.
Is there a state or other group involved with this new law?
Yes. The Louisiana Coalition for Adoption Reform (Facebook page) led on-the-ground efforts to enact this new law.
Where can I read the text of the new law?
You can find the relevant portions of the law here on Adoptee Rights Law Center, which has been updated to reflect the new law. Links to the state law are also on that page but the state of Louisiana may not have updated its online statutes yet to reflect the new changes. You can read a PDF of the officially enacted law here.
Will you be updating this FAQ when necessary?
Yes, I will update this FAQ as more information becomes available or if information changes or needs correction based on what I currently understand about the new law and how it is being implemented.
Have you updated your map yet?
Yes. Louisiana is now green on the United States of OBC map. 🙂
US OBC Rights