Death Certificates

Office of Vital Statistics

225-37th Avenue, Room 11
San Mateo, CA  94403
(650) 573-2395

Hours

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Fridays 8 - 5
Thursdays 8 - 4

Holidays

New Year's Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, President's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving Day and the Friday after Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.

Death certificates are needed for Social Security, life and health insurance and other time sensitive purposes. You can purchase a certified or informational only copy of a death certificate in person or by mail.

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. That's why only those listed below are authorized to obtain certified copies of death certificates.

  • The registrant or a parent/legal guardian of the registrant
  • A child, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse or domestic partner of the registrant
  • Person(s) entitled to receive the record as a result of a court order
  • An attorney representing the registrant or the registrant's estate, or any person or agency empowered by statute or appointed by a court to act on behalf of the registrant or the registrant's estate
  • A member of a law enforcement agency or a representative of another governmental agency, as provided by law, who is conducting official business
  • Any funeral director that orders certified copies of a death certificate on behalf of any individual specified in paragraphs (1) to (5), inclusive, of subdivision (a) of Section 7100 of the Health and Safety Code

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 copy.

The Office of Vital Statistics can provide authorized certified or informational only death certificates for deaths from 1966-present. For certificates prior to 1966, you must contact or go to the County Clerk-Recorder's Office.

Fees

Effective January 1, 2014

                                                                               2014
Public and non-public agencies                                $23     
Government agencies                                              $23
Permit for disposition of human remains                  $12

Application Process

By Mail:

A completed application and a notarized Certificate of Identity form signed under penalty of perjury by the authorized requestor are required for all orders sent by mail.  Mail the notarized application, a self-addressed envelope, and the required payment by a check or money order only (payable against a USA bank) payable to Office of Vital Statistics. Mail to: Office of Vital Statistics at 225 37th Ave, San Mateo, CA 94403

Mail processing time is 3-5 days. If you wish to have us expedite your request, please enclose a pre-paid priority envelope with the required completed mailing forms from the US Postal Service along with your notarized application and check or money order. We are unable to expedite mail using UPS or FedEx.

In Person:

In person processing time is 5-15 minutes. If you are an authorized individual, you may come into our office to purchase a certified death certificate. 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.

Forms

Due to the increase in fees effective January 1, 2014, if you are mailing your application toward the end of December, please use the 2014 application to ensure you are paying the correct amount.  If your application is received after January 1, 2014, with the old fee, it will be returned to you for resubmittal.

For the public and non-public agencies:

2014 application (English.pdf / Spanish.pdf)

For government agencies:

2014 application (English.pdf / Spanish.pdf)

Apostile Requests

The California Secretary of State provides authentication of public official signatures on documents to be used outside the U.S.  Apositle Requests are processed at and issued by the County Recorder's Office located at 555 County Center, 1st Floor, Redwood City, CA 94063

Solicitudes de Apostile

El apostillado consiste de un sello especial que estampa la Oficina de la Secretaria del Estado de California (California Secretary of State's Office) para certificar que un acta de nacimiento o defuncion es una copia verdadera de un original y pueda ser aceptado fuera del territorio de los Estados Unidos de America.  Solicite el acta de nacimiento o defuncion en el County Recorder's Office en 555 County Center, 1er piso, Redwood City, CA 94063

Pamphlets

Resources Intended for Funeral Homes/Directors Only

Death Registration Hours
Weekdays 8:30 - 4:00

Emergency Filing and Burial Permit Issuance

San Mateo County offers emergency filing to accommodate religious and cultural beliefs that require interment within 48 hours of death.  The emergency filing and burial permit issuance process is completed by staff at the San Mateo Medical Center located at 222-39th Avenue in San Mateo, 2nd floor in the PBX Office.  This service is for after hours, weekends, and observed holidays.  Call (650) 573-3710 or (650) 573-2222 for assistance.

Your package must include a Drop to Paper Death Certificate with a physician's black ink signature, a Disposition of Remains (Burial Permit), and the filing fee.  For additional information call (650) 573-2373 during regular business hours.

Procedure for Requesting a Transit Letter

To transport human remains across state lines, an authorized individual will need to request a letter of non-contagious disease. Please submit your request via fax (650) 573-2576. For more information call (650) 573-2373.

Death Certificates Can Also be Obtained Through:

County Clerk-Recorder's Office
555 County Center, First Floor
Redwood City, CA 94063-1665
(650) 363-4500

California Department of Health Services
Office of Vital Records

Mailing address:
MS 1503
PO Box 997410
Sacramento, CA 95899

Street address:
1501 Capitol Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 445-2684