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NC Vital Records: General Issuance Processing Dates

Important Note Regarding Processing Times

Before scheduling an appointment or placing your certificate order, we recommend you determine if the estimated timeframes below would meet your needs. If not, you may want to consider ordering a certificate from the Register of Deeds in the county where the event occurred.

The dates below apply only to regular birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificate requests. They do NOT apply to special registrations / amendments, such as birth or death certificate amendments, adoptions, paternities (including affidavits of parentage / AOPs), legitimations, court-ordered name changes, or delayed registration of birth. Special registration requests (amendments) require additional steps compared to regular requests that don't involve any changes. Estimated shipping and processing times for amendments are not included in the tables below and vary for numerous reasons.

  • Use the General Issuance Status Request Form for questions about a specific certificate order that is older than the processing times listed below.
  • Phone numbers for amendment and adoption inquiries are available on the Contacts page.

Estimated Time from the Date Request Keyed into the System to the Date Requested Service is Shipped

Service Average Processing Time for Orders Placed after 09/30/2022
Birth Certificates - 1971 to present 4 Months
Birth Certificates - 1913 to 1970 5 Months
Death Certificates - 1930 to present 5 Months
Marriage Certificates - 1962 to present 5 Months
Divorce Certificates - 1958 to present 5 Months

* Expedited mail service has been temporarily suspended as of 1/10/2022. If your expedited order was postmarked prior to the suspension, it will be processed as an expedited order. Expedited walk-in service is available by appointment only for regular certificate orders (not changes/amendments). Alternatively, you may order a birth, death or marriage certificate from your Register of Deeds.

If your certificate order date is after the current processing date for the service and certificate type, then it most likely means we're still processing orders before we reach yours. We have a backlog of orders to process and there is a lag time between payment processing and order completion / shipping.

Current General Issuance Processing Dates (Updated 12/02/22)

Service VitalChek Regular (Non-Expedited)
Birth Certificates - 1971 to present 09/15/2022 06/30/2022
Birth Certificates - 1913 to 1970 04/15/2022 02/19/2021
Death Certificates - 1930 to present 05/20/2022 01/27/2021
Marriage Certificates - 1962 to present 04/07/2022 01/27/2021
Divorce Certificates - 1958 to present 04/07/2022 01/27/2021

* VitalChek is a third-party processing service and is the only authorized vendor through which constituents may submit a remote order for a state-issued, certified birth certificate. Since 1987, VitalChek has provided services to order official copies or replacements of government-issued birth, death, marriage and divorce records. VitalChek is an official service provider for hundreds of government agencies throughout the United States.

Payment Processing and Order Delivery

Please note for orders placed through our office there is a $24 search (and one copy) fee that is non-refundable, even if a record is not found, which means we must process payments before completing the order. Due to order volume and system migrations from paper to electronic, there will usually be a time gap between your payment being processed and orders being completed and delivered to you, especially if there are issues to be researched and addressed with orders (e.g., amendments to certificates). If a record is not found during the search, then we will be in touch. Payments above the $24 search fee can be refunded when a record is not found and an order is cancelled.

 Background Concerning General Issuance Processing Times

Due to COVID-19 related closures, staffing shortages, and the exciting launch of our Birth and Death Registration System, North Carolina Database Application for Vital Events (NCDAVE), North Carolina Office of Vital Records (NCOVR) has experienced and continues to experience significant delays. NCDAVE is a major step towards the modernization of the NCOVR.

In the meantime, NCOVR is working as diligently as possible to fulfill NCOVR requests. We expect that the implementation of the new system and increase in staffing will lead to shorter processing times. We apologize for any delays during this transition. We understand the frustrations that delays may cause and are working to get back to normal as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

Last Modified: December 2, 2022