Pennsylvania Public Records: How to Find Public Records in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Public Records: How to Find Public Records in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, citizens, organizations, and even temporary residents have the right to access and obtain government information under the Pennsylvania Right-To-Know Law (RTKL), enacted on the 1st of January, 2009. 


This implies that a resident of Pennsylvania may be granted access to view and copy public records in the state, regardless of how they have been stored, by simply contacting the proper record custodian.

In this article, we will touch on the general information needed to place a public records request, as well as the types of public records available, with resources to assist you in accessing these records.

The Pennsylvania Right-To-Know-Laws

The Right to Know Laws of Pennsylvania protect the fundamental right of any legal resident of the United States to obtain public records. 


Under this law, individuals can read and copy any non-confidential records kept by various government agencies, including judicial, legislative, and commonwealth entities.

The Pennsylvania Office of Open Records (OOR) ensures that the RTKL is being enforced. 


The Office of Open Records (OOR) provides citizens access to government information. It streamlines the process of requesting public records and handles appeals when requests are denied.


File Stack, file folder close up for background

How to Access Public Records in Pennsylvania

You can access public records through online portals or by submitting a formal request where necessary. 


If a formal request is required to access records, you can send your request via email, mail, or phone to the department responsible for housing the records. 

Each agency is responsible for maintaining these records is unique, so you can expect different rules to apply when accessing records from different agencies. In general, a public records request should include the following:

● Your name
● Contact information
● The name of the document
● Details about the document
● A time frame that you would like to receive the materials by
● Document delivery method: mail or email
Available Public Records in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, there are various public records an individual can access, including but not limited to the following:
● Property tax and ownership records
● Land records
● Criminal records
● Records regarding family and civil courts
● Geographical information records
● Liens
● Estate records
● Professional licensing
● Sex offender records
● Vital Records

Below are some of the frequently requested Pennsylvania public records

Pennsylvania Vital Records

The Bureau of Health Statistics and Registries of the Pennsylvania Department of Health is in charge of keeping and issuing vital records. 


Go to the Department of Health's Online Vital Record Ordering to obtain a birth or death record. You must provide information such as the person's name, the time and location of birth or death, your relationship with the person in question, and more. 

Alternatively, you can use the VitaChek portal. If you order by mail for a physical copy, you will have to send the completed application forms to the address of the division of vital records below. 

Division of Vital Records,
Birth Certificate Processing Unit,
P.O. Box 1528,
New Castle, PA. 16103-1528
Phone number: 724-656-3100


a woman looking for a record

Pennsylvania Criminal Records

Criminal records are information pertaining to an individual's criminal history. These documents include whether someone has been convicted for any crime before or arrested or is currently on parole or probation.

The Pennsylvania State Police provides public access to criminal histories in Pennsylvania. Users can request criminal background checks through the online system known as Pennsylvania Access To Criminal History (PATCH)


To use this service, you have to open an account with the online system and pay the $22 service charge.

You can also place a request for these records via mail by completing a request form with a certified check or money order to:

Pennsylvania State Police Central Repository - RCPU,
1800 Elmerton Avenue,
Harrisburg, PA 17110-9758

Pennsylvania Inmate and Jail Records

The online system that enables users to look up convicts and parolees in Pennsylvania is the Inmate/Parolee Locator provided by the Department of Corrections. 


Through the Pennsylvania Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification (PA SAVIN), which is also frequently updated and managed by the DOC, registered crime victims can also obtain the whereabouts or location of inmates.

Pennsylvania Sex Offenders Records

Under Pennsylvanian law, every sex offender must register with the state police for 15 years. You can look up registered sex offenders in Pennsylvania on the Megan's Law website by the Pennsylvania State Police. 


To search for a sex offender, the offender's name, county, city, or zip code must be entered. You can choose to receive email notifications when a criminal enters your region.

Pennsylvania Court Records

The website for accessing court records in Pennsylvania is the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania website. 


In this state, information on traffic cases, criminal cases, civil cases, landlord-tenant cases, civil records, and non-traffic matters can all be found through a public records search for court documents.


Handcuffs and wooden gavel

Pennsylvania Driving Records

Driving records include information regarding a person's driving history, such as accidents, traffic violations, DUI convictions, etc. 


The agency is responsible for keeping driving records in Pennsylvania is the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. On this online site, you can request your driving record through PennDOT Driver & Vehicle Services. 

You must supply your social security number, driver's license number, and date of birth. You may download and submit the Request for Driver Information form if you are still waiting to receive your driving record history. You can also seek someone else's driving record but must provide a notarized document.

Mail the completed forms, requirements, and the corresponding fees to:

Driver Record Services,
P.O. BOX 68695 1101,
HARRISBURG, PA 17106-8695

Pennsylvania Property Records

In Pennsylvania, the Recorder of Deeds dutifully preserves records of properties, encompassing a diverse range of valuable information such as liens, land records, titles, property deeds, real estate insights, mortgages, property tax assessments, zoning data, and probate. To obtain property records, you must contact the Recorder of Deeds office, where the record is housed.

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