Pursuant to California Health & Safety Code 103550, a death certificate is a permanent record of the fact of death for an individual. It provides important personal information about the decedent and about the circumstances and cause of death. Information from death records serves several important legal and statistical uses. Upon registration by the local and state registrar, the death certificate becomes the State's legal record of that event and is prima facie evidence in all courts.
Death certificates may be obtained in person or by mail. The Office of Vital Records and Statistics can help you obtain death certificates that pertain ONLY to deaths that occurred in San Diego County over the previous 24 months. All other certified copies of death certificates should be obtained through the County of San Diego Recorder's office.
Call the office if you have questions at 619-692-5733 - Se habla Español.
There are two types of death certificates available:
1. Certified Copy
2. Informational Copy
The cost for researching a record is NOT refundable if the record is not found.
To Obtain a Death Certificate IN PERSON
To obtain either a regular certified or informational copy of a death certificate, you will need to have the following information available when you arrive:
1. The decedent's full name.
2. Date of death.
3. Place of death.
4. A valid government issued picture I.D.
For a regular certified copy, you will need to sign a sworn statement, under penalty of perjury, that you are an authorized person. For definition of an authorized person, click "Authorized Individual" Law Effective July 1, 2003.
The cost for a certified copy of a death certificate is $21.00. Payment may be cash, check or money order payable to County of San Diego Public Health Services. Credit and debit cards are accepted through VitalChek with a $2.50 convenience fee.
Our office is open: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday
To Obtain a Death Certificate BY MAIL
For an INFORMATIONAL COPY of a Death Certificate, you need only to completely fill out the Application for Certified Copy of Death Record. Forward the signed request and payment to the address below.
To request a regular CERTIFIED COPY of a Death Certificate, you need to completely fill out the Application for Certified Copy of Death Record. Be sure to indicate in which category you qualify as an authorized person. You will also need to complete the Sworn Statement and Certificate of Acknowledgement. Be sure to sign the Sworn Statement in front of a Notary Public. We CANNOT process your request without this form.
NOTE: If you are requesting CERTIFIED COPIES, of more than one (1) individual, you may list their names in the box provided on the Sworn Statement and have just one (1) acknowledgement for all individuals. However, you MUST have a separate Application for Certified Copy of Death Record for each individual.
The cost for either copy is $21.00. Payment may be check, money order, or cashier's check made payable to: County of San Diego Public Health Services. DO NOT SEND CASH.
Office Mailing Address:
HHSA Office of Vital Records
For death certificates that are older than 24 months, you can visit the office of the County of San Diego Recorder's Office.
If you would like information on how to correct a vital record or amend a death certificate, please refer to the California Department of Public Health site.
For the most frequently asked questions and answers on death certificates read the Death Certificates Q & A.
For burial permits, please see Burial Permits.
For more information send us an email or phone 619-692-5733.