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Death Certificates


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​Death certificates and permits for disposition of human remains are usually prepared by a funeral director and signed by a physician. 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. Only those listed in the application are authorized to obtain certified copies of birth death certificates:

​A parent or legal guardian of the registrant.

A party entitled to receive the record as a result of a court order, or an attorney or a licensed adoption agency seeking the birth record in order to comply with requirements of the Family Code. A Certified copy of documentation is required.

Any law enforcement or state or local government representative, who is conducting official business.

A child, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or domestic partner of the registrant.

An attorney representing the registrant or the registrant's estate, or any person or agency empowered by statute or appointment by a court to act on behalf of the registrant or the registrant's estate. A certified copy of documentation is required.

Any agent or employee of a funeral establishment ordering certified copies of a death certificate on behalf of their client. 


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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. 

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.

​  Fees 
​Death Search/ Death Certificate ​$21
​ Veteran's Copy of Death Certificate (1) Free
 Fetal death certificate ​$18
​ Still Birth $9
​ Burial Permit/ Re-file ​​$12
​ Transit Letter (English/ Spanish) ​$20






Application process  


If you are an authorized individual (see application below), you may come into our office to purchase a certified birth 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]. In order to receive an authorized, certified copy, you must complete the application form, which includes a sworn statement, under penalty of perjury. Valid identification is required, i.e. state identification, state driver's license, passport, birth certificate, etc. Reminder: Do Not Sign the sworn statement until you are in the presence of VRR staff.  
By Mail:
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. 

Mail to:
Office of Vital Records and Registration
976 Lenzen Avenue, Suite 1300
San Jose, CA 95126

Apostille Requests 

The California Secretary of State provides authentication of public official signatures on documents to be used outside the U.S. How to process the Apostille requests? (What is an Apostille Request?)
Apostille Requests are processed at:
  • If the document is issued by the SCCPHD Vital Records & Registration Office, the document needs to be authenticated by the SCC Office of the Clerk Recorder at 70 West Hedding St., San Jose, CA 95110, before sending the document to the Office of the Secretary of State (Mailing address).
  • If the document is issued directly from the County Clerk Recorder Office there's no need to authenticate the signature and the request can be sent directly to the Office of the Secretary of State (Mailing address).

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 defunción 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 page.

Pamphlet Type

Vital Records and Registration
976 Lenzen Avenue, Ste. 1300
San Jose, 95126   
Phone: 1.408.885.2010 
Fax:    1.408.885.4899 
Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-4pm
Closed: Saturday, Sunday, Holidays  

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