What is the difference between a “short form” and a “long form” copy of a birth or death certificate? How do I request one or the other?

In Missouri, birth and death certificates each come in two different versions—short form and long form.

Short Form
A short form copy of a birth or death certificate, also referred to as an “abstract”, is an abbreviated version of the long form or original certificate. Most short forms are available at each local public health agency (LPHA)/county health department across the state, the state vital record office in Jefferson City, or by phone or online through VitalChek.

The short form is the traditional looking copy with colored borders and will satisfy most purposes or needs for a birth or death certificate such as obtaining a driver's license, school registration, personal identification, death benefits, claim insurance proceeds, notify social security, and other legal purposes.

Request a copy: To request a short form, simply complete a regular application either in-person, by mail, or phone/online via VitalChek. The default option for a vital record is the short form copy.

Long Form
A long form copy of a birth or death certificate, also referred to as an “original”, is a copy of the original birth or death certificate and is only available through the state vital record office in Jefferson City or by phone or online through VitalChek.

The long form contains additional general information about the birth or death. This larger sized document is typically not required for most purposes or needs for a vital record. A long form may be preferred if previous changes to a vital record have been made or for genealogical purposes.

Request a copy: To request a long form, complete a regular application either in-person or by mail and mark across the top of the application “long-form certificate requested.” If requested by phone through VitalChek, you will need to inform the representative you are working with that you need a long form certificate.  If you order online through VitalChek, please ensure you select “long form” from the list of available options or mark your request for genealogy purposes.   

 

Note: in some instances, both a short form and a long form version of a vital record will not exist or be available for request. For more information, call the Bureau of Vital Records at 573-751-6387.

Feedback and Knowledge Base