Purchase a Death Certificate

Why Do I Need a Death Certificate?

You may need a death certificate to claim survivor's pension benefits, collect life insurance, notify social security, or settle an estate.

Certificates Available Four Weeks after Death

Recent death records are usually available from this office four weeks after the event.

Information You'll Need

For the person listed on the certificate, you'll need to know:

  • first and last names
  • date of death
  • city of death
  • gender

Make sure you have accurate information for the person listed on the death certificate and be certain that the person died in the County of Santa Clara.

The certificate fee pays for the record search and you'll be charged the fee even if no record is found.

You'll need to provide your:

  • name
  • address
  • phone number
  • relationship to the person listed on the certificate
  • government-issued id (driver's license, passport, permanent resident card)

You may designate another person to purchase a certified copy of an Authorized death certificate. If that person is not an authorized party, please complete the mail-in application form, have it notarized, and add the name of the person picking up the certificate to the form under “Name of Person Receiving Copies”.

Two Types of Certificates: Authorized and Informational

Certified Authorized Copy

A Certified Authorized Copy provides proof of death.

To purchase an Authorized death certificate, you need to be related to the deceased in one of the following ways:

  • parent
  • child
  • grandparent
  • grandchild
  • sibling
  • spouse or domestic partner
  • legal guardian

For official business, governmental agencies and legal representatives can request a copy of a death certificate.

When you request a Certified Authorized Copy by mail or online, state your relationship to the person listed on the death certificate and sign that statement with a notary public present.

Certified Informational Copy

A Certified Informational Copy may be used as proof of death. However, please verify with the requesting agency to determine if this kind of copy meets their requirements.

If you don’t have a direct relationship to the person listed on the certificate, you can purchase an informational death certificate.

On a Certified Informational copy, signatures are concealed and the words, “Informational, not a valid document to establish identity” are printed across the face of the certificate.

The request form for this type of certificate does not need to be notarized.

Get a Death Certificate in Person, by Mail, or Online




Cash or check


Credit or debit card

+ $2.50 1


Order usually processed while you wait

To Do

The Clerk-Recorder's Office will not be able to provide services for walk-in customers from March 16, 2020, until further notice.


By Mail


Check or Money Order



3–4 weeks to process.

To Do

  1. Download and fill out an order form. 3
  2. Get the form notarized.4
  3. Prepare a return envelope (not required):
    • Regular mail: self-addressed, stamped standard-letter envelope
    • Expedited mail: pre-addressed, pre-paid Airbill for Express Mail, FedEx, or UPS
  4. Mail the form, payment, and return envelope to the Clerk Recorder’s Office.

Computer with Cursor



Credit or debit card

+ $7.00 5


Usually 1 week to process
(may vary due to volume of requests)

To Do

  1. Fill out VitalChek’s online form.

    VitalChek is the only authorized online service for Santa Clara County death certificates.

  2. Submit your payment online.
  3. Print VitalChek’s form and get it notarized.4
  4. Fax or email the notarized form to the Clerk-Recorder's Office.

    Your credit card will not be charged until the Clerk-Recorder’s Office receives the notarized form.

Purchase Details

  1. $2.50 debit/credit-card convenience fee
  2. You can send someone who is not an authorized party to purchase your Authorized death certificate—first complete the mail-in application form, have it notarized, and add the name of the person picking up the certificate to the form under “Name of Person Receiving Copies.”

  3. If you are unable to download the form, please call (408) 299-5688 and we will mail or fax you a form.
  4. Only Certified Authorized death certificates purchased by mail or online require a notarized form.
  5. VitalChek's non-refundable $7.00 online-purchase convenience fee

A death certificate records:

  • the deceased’s full name and gender
  • the cause, time, date, and location of death

The Clerk-Recorder maintains death certificates for all the people who die in the County of Santa Clara.

The Clerk-Recorder's death certificates extend back to 1873.

Vital Records' Location and Hours

Clerk-Recorder’s Office​
70 W. Hedding, 1st Floor, East Wing
San Jose, CA 95110

Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
(Office is closed on County holidays)

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