Was your certified copy rejected or does it lack a watermark?

Information on what to do if your certified copy was rejected or lacks a watermark.

Due to a manufacturing error, a limited number of certified copies of vital records issued by the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics were printed on security paper that lacked a watermark authentication feature. These certificates were issued by the state Registry between December 1, 2017 and December 7, 2017. Replacement copies are being sent to customers who were affected by this printing error.

Additionally, a small number of City and Town Clerk offices also inadvertently issued certified copies of vital records on faulty paper during the period of September 1, 2017 through December 7, 2017. Customers that received these copies are also eligible for replacement copies from the state Registry of Vital Records and Statistics.

How do I know if my certified copy should be replaced?

The faulty copies do include many security features that deter alteration, but do not contain a specialized watermark used to verify authenticity. The lack of this feature may cause your copy to be rejected by some agencies.

You can identify a certified copy affected by the printing error in two ways:

  1. The faulty paper does not reveal a watermark that is only visible when the paper is held up to light.
  2. The record number, printed in red, will fall between CT1391001 through CT1496000. (While this is a large range, only about 3,000 records statewide were issued on this paper.)

If you ordered an affected certified copy through the state Registry of Vital Records and Statistics or online through VitalChek you will automatically receive a replacement copy. You should receive this copy no later than December 22, 2017.

If you ordered an affected certified copy through a Massachusetts City or Town Clerk, or if you did not receive an expected replacement for a copy ordered through the state Registry or VitalChek, please contact the Registry at RVRSOperationsTransition@MassMail.State.MA.US.

What should I do with a faulty certified copy?

If the faulty copy is still in your possession, please shred or otherwise destroy that copy to prevent accidental use in the future.