10.03.01.08

.08 Inspection of Records and Disclosure of Information.

A. On request, for birth, death, and marriage records only, the Secretary may disclose data or issue certified copies of vital records, original certificates, or information when satisfied that the applicant has a direct and tangible interest in the content of the record. For divorce records, the Secretary may only verify data or issue information when satisfied that the applicant has a direct and tangible interest in the content of the record.

B. Evidence of Direct or Tangible Interest.

(1) In the case of birth records, a direct and tangible interest shall be evidenced by a request from:

(a) The subject of the vital record;

(b) A parent named on the birth certificate;

(c) The subject of the vital record's legal guardian;

(d) The surviving spouse of the subject of the vital record;

(e) An authorized representative of the subject of the vital record;

(f) A confidential intermediary authorized by the Director of the Social Services Administration of the Department of Human Resources in accordance with Family Law Article, Title 5, Subtitle 3A or 4B, Annotated Code of Maryland;

(g) The Director of the Social Services Administration of the Department of Human Resources in accordance with Family Law Article, Title 5, Subtitle 3A or 4B, Annotated Code of Maryland;

(h) An adoptee 21 years old or older who requests a copy of the adoptee's original certificate of birth, if the adoption was ordered by the court on or after January 1, 2000; or

(i) A biological parent of an adoptee 21 years old or older who requests a copy of the adoptee's original certificate of birth, if the adoption was ordered by the court on or after January 1, 2000.

(2) In the case of death or fetal death records, a direct and tangible interest shall be evidenced by a request from:

(a) Surviving relatives;

(b) An authorized representative;

(c) A person who is a beneficiary of the deceased;

(d) An individual who wishes to establish an estate in the name of the deceased;

(e) A person who paid to the deceased while the deceased was alive or who has paid to or is trying to pay to the deceased's beneficiaries insurance benefits, pension benefits, welfare benefits, or other benefits;

(f) A person who demonstrates to the Secretary that the individual is trying to carry out a legal duty that was the responsibility of the deceased;

(g) A person who presents a subpoena that commands that a copy of the record be produced, if the subpoena is issued by:

(i) A court;

(ii) An administrative body empowered by statute to issue a subpoena; or

(iii) A person empowered by statute to issue a subpoena;

(h) A person who is a party or who represents a party in litigation in which there is an issue as to whether the subject of the record is deceased;

(i) A person who needs to prove that a beneficiary who is the subject of the record is deceased;

(j) A person who needs to prove that the subject of the record is deceased so that a piece of property may be transferred with a clear title;

(k) A person who is a creditor of the deceased;

(l) A government official who provides documentation satisfactory to the Secretary that a requested death certificate is required in order to carry out the duties or functions of the official’s office; or

(m) A hospital official who requests information pertaining to a patient whose cancer diagnosis was reported by the official's hospital to the Maryland Cancer Registry.

(3) In the case of marriage records, the direct and tangible interest shall be evidenced by a request from:

(a) The married parties; or

(b) An authorized representative.

(4) In the case of information regarding divorce, a direct and tangible interest shall be evidenced by a request from:

(a) The divorced parties; or

(b) An authorized representative.

C. Birth Records in Cases of Adoption Involving a Confidential Intermediary.

(1) A confidential intermediary may apply to the Secretary for:

(a) The original certificate of birth and any records that relate to the new certificate of birth of an adopted individual;

(b) The new certificate of birth that was substituted for the original certificate of birth of an adopted individual under Health-General Article, §4-211, Annotated Code of Maryland; and

(c) The report of the decree or judgment of adoption filed by the clerk of the court under Health-General Article, §4-211, Annotated Code of Maryland.

(2) To apply for a copy of a record listed in §C(1) of this regulation, a confidential intermediary shall submit to the Secretary:

(a) A written application, as required by the Secretary; and

(b) A written statement signed by the Director of Social Services or the Adoption Program Manager of the Department of Human Resources and witnessed by a notary public that authorizes the confidential intermediary to obtain a copy of the requested record.

(3) If a confidential intermediary complies with the requirements set forth at §C(2) of this regulation, the Secretary shall give a copy of a requested record that is on file with the Secretary to the confidential intermediary.

D. Birth Records for Adoptions Finalized on or after January 1, 2000.

(1) This section of this regulation:

(a) Applies only to adoptions finalized on or after January 1, 2000; and

(b) Does not bar:

(i) An adoptee or biological parent from applying for search, contact, and reunion services under Family Law Article, Title 5, Subtitle 4B, Annotated Code of Maryland; or

(ii) The Director of Social Services of the Maryland Department of Human Resources or a confidential intermediary from obtaining a copy of a record under Family Law Article, §5-4B-04(c) or 5-4B-06(b) or (c), Annotated Code of Maryland.

(2) An adoptee 21 years old or older may apply to the Secretary for:

(a) An uncertified copy of the adoptee's original certificate of birth;

(b) A copy of records that relate to the adoptee's new certificate of birth, if any; and

(c) A copy of the report of the adoptee's order of adoption filed by the clerk of the court under Health-General Article, §4-211, Annotated Code of Maryland.

(3) If an adoptee is 21 years old or older, a biological parent of the adoptee may apply to the Secretary for:

(a) An uncertified copy of the adoptee's original certificate of birth;

(b) A certified copy of the new certificate of birth, if any, that was substituted, under Health-General Article, §4-211, Annotated Code of Maryland, for the adoptee's original certificate of birth;

(c) A copy of all records that relate to the adoptee's new certificate of birth; and

(d) A copy of the report of the adoptee's order of adoption filed by the clerk of the court under Health-General Article, §4-211, Annotated Code of Maryland.

(4) The Secretary shall inform an applicant applying for a record as set forth in §D of this regulation of the availability of adoption search, contact, and reunion services, as set forth in Family Law Article, Title 5, Subtitle 4B, Annotated Code of Maryland.

(5) A person applying for a record under §C(1) and (2) of this regulation shall apply in writing on a form as required by the Secretary and shall submit the form with the individual's signature witnessed by a notary public.

(6) The Secretary shall give a copy of the requested record that is on file with the Secretary to the applicant, subject to the restrictions set forth at §E of this regulation.

E. Disclosure Vetoes.

In the case of adoptions finalized on or after January 1, 2000, a biological parent of an adoptee or an adoptee 21 years old or older may:

(1) File with the Director of the Social Services Administration of the Maryland Department of Human Resources a disclosure veto to bar disclosure of any information concerning the individual filing the disclosure veto in a record accessible under §D of this regulation;

(2) Cancel a disclosure veto at any time; and

(3) Refile a disclosure veto at any time.

F. Birth certificate information may not be disclosed if the information is to be used for commercial solicitation or private gain.

G. Duties of the Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene.

(1) Subject to §G(3) and (4) of this regulation, the Secretary shall give to an applicant who meets the requirements of §D of this regulation a copy of each record that the applicant requests and that the Secretary has on file.

(2) When a biological parent applies for a record, the Secretary shall remove from the copy all information as to:

(a) The other biological parent, if that parent has filed a disclosure veto in accordance with §E of this regulation; and

(b) The adoptee and each adoptive parent, if the adoptee has filed a disclosure veto in accordance with §E of this regulation.

(3) When an adoptee applies for a copy of a record, the Secretary shall remove from the copy of the record to be given to the adoptee all information as to the biological parent, if the biological parent has filed a disclosure veto in accordance with §E of this regulation.

(4) The Secretary shall give the applicant for a birth record under §§C and D of this regulation:

(a) An uncertified copy of the birth certificate, if a birth certificate is requested; and

(b) A copy of a notice of the adoption search, contact, and reunion services available under Family Law Article, Title 5, Subtitle 4B, Annotated Code of Maryland.

H. Identification of Applicant Data. An applicant who applies for a vital record shall submit:

(1) A completed and signed application form, as provided by the Department; and

(2) If applying in person, the original of, and if applying by mail, a copy of, proof of identify in the form of:

(a) One of the following valid, unexpired, government-issued documents that includes an expiration date:

(i) Driver's license;

(ii) Nondriver photo identification card; or

(iii) Passport;

(b) A signed statement that the applicant does not have one of the identification documents set forth in §H(2)(a) of this regulation and, in addition to the signed statement, two of the following documents or copies of the following documents that contain the applicant's name and current address:

(i) Utility bill;

(ii) Car registration form;

(iii) Pay stub;

(iv) Bank statement;

(v) Income tax return;

(vi) Income tax W-2 form;

(vii) Lease or rental agreement; or

(viii) Letter from a government agency requesting a copy of a vital record; or

(c) A signed statement that the applicant does not have the identification documents set forth in §H(2)(a) and (b) of this regulation and, in addition to the signed statement, a document other than the ones set forth in §H(2)(a) and (b) of this regulation that allows the Secretary to corroborate the identity of the applicant.

I. Fees Collected by the Department.

(1) The Department shall collect a $12 fee when the Department:

(a) Issues a certified or abridged copy of a:

(i) Death certificate provided concurrently with an initial requested death certificate;

(ii) Fetal death certificate;

(iii) Marriage certificate;

(iv) Verification of divorce certificate;

(v) Certificate of foreign birth; or

(vi) Certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth; or

(b) Issues a report that a search of the fetal death, marriage, or divorce files was made and a requested record is not on file;

(c) Makes an amendment to a fetal death or marriage certificate pursuant to a request made more than 1 year after the certificate was registered with the Department; or

(d) Processes an adoption, foreign adoption, or legitimation.

(2) The Department shall collect a $10 fee when the Department:

(a) Issues a certified or abridged copy of:

(i) A birth certificate; or

(ii) The first copy of a death certificate issued in a single transaction;

(b) Issues a report that a search of the birth or death certificate files was made and a requested record is not on file; or

(c) Makes an amendment to a birth or death certificate pursuant to a request made more than 1 year after the certificate was registered with the Department.

J. Fees Collected by Local Health Departments.

(1) A local health department that issues birth certificates shall set and collect a fee for processing and issuing:

(a) A birth certificate; or

(b) A report that a search of the files was made and the requested record is not on file.

(2) From the fee collected for providing a certificate or report under §J(1) of this regulation, the local health department shall transfer $10 to the General Fund of the State.

K. Verification Requests. A federal, State, county, municipal government agency, or an accredited private social or welfare agency entitled to access to vital records may be charged a fee for verification of the data in this regulation.

L. Certified Copies. Copies of records shall be only from original records on file with the Secretary. When a certified copy is issued, each certification shall contain:

(1) A statement that it is a true copy of a record on file with the Secretary;

(2) The date issued;

(3) The registrar's signature; and

(4) The seal of the Secretary.

M. Reproduction of Certificates Permitted. A person or agency may photocopy a certified copy of a birth, death, fetal death, or marriage certificate for any nonfraudulent and nondeceptive purpose.

N. Statistical or Research Use of Vital Records Data. The Secretary may permit use of data on vital records for statistical or research purposes, subject to conditions the Secretary may impose to ensure that the use of the data is limited to the purposes in this section.