Updated September 11, 2013
Death certificates and permits for disposition of human remains are usually prepared by a funeral director and signed by a physician.
Violent, Sudden or Medically Unattended Death
The Medical Examiner-Coroner (MEC) is responsible to investigate all violent, sudden or medically unattended deaths within the county. If autopsy/ toxicology reports are not immediately available, a death certificate may be prepared with the causes listed as "Pending." Once the cause-of-death is known, the MEC submits an amendment for registration. Contact the MEC office for more information or timelines at 1 (408) 793-1900.
Individuals Who Can Request and Receive an Authorized Certified Copy of a Death Certificate
The law is very strict about who may request and receive authorized, certified copies of death certificates. Its intent is to protect an individual's privacy and keep their personal information safe from identity theft. Please see application.
Informational Only Copies of Death Certificates
Those who do not meet the criteria for an authorized certified copy may receive an informational only copy. The words "Informational, Not a Valid Document to Establish Identity" will be imprinted across the face of the certified copy.
The Office of Vital Records can provide authorized certified or informational only death certificates for deaths from 2012-present. For death certificates prior to 2012, you must contact or go to the Santa Clara County Clerk-Recorder's Office.
|Death Search/ Death Certificate
|Veteran's Copy of Death Certificate (1)
|Burial Permit/ Re-file
|Transit Letter (English/ Spanish)
If you are an authorized individual (please see application below), you may come into our office to purchase a certified death certificate. The fee for vital records must be paid in advance by the applicant. If no record is found, the fee will be retained for searching as required by California statute [H&S 103625, GC 27369].
You must complete the application form which includes a sworn statement, under penalty of perjury, in the office where the record is on file, in order to receive an authorized certified copy. Valid identification is required, i.e. state ID, state driver license, passport, birth certificate, etc. Just remember not to sign the sworn statement until you are in the presence of VRR staff.
A completed application and a notarized Sworn Statement form signed under penalty of perjury by the authorized requestor are required for all orders sent by mail. Mail the notarized application and the required payment by check or money order only, payable to Office of Vital Records.
Office of Vital Records and Registration
976 Lenzen Avenue, Suite 1300
San Jose, CA 95126
Mail in forms:
Solicitudes de Apostille
El apostillado consiste de un sello especial que estampa la Oficina de la Secretaria del Estado de California (The California Secretary of State) para certificar que la acta de nacimiento o defuncion es una copia verdadera de una original y pueda ser aceptada fuera del territorio de los Estado Unidos de America.
Correcting or Amending Certificates
The California State Office of Vital Records (OVR) has published a variety of informative pamphlets that describe different amendment options in detail. Not sure which form you need? Try looking on our Frequently Asked Questions
page, or call us at 1-408-885-2010 for more information.
Original forms must be used and submitted to the state. Forms can be obtained from our office, a local registrar office in another county, any County Recorder’s office, or ordered online from the California State OVR Forms
Affidavit to Amend a Death Record
Court Order Delayed Registration of Death