County of San Diego

ASSESSOR | RECORDER | COUNTY CLERK

Ernest J. Dronenburg, Jr.

Death Certificate Request


You can obtain a death certificate for anyone whose death occurred within the County of San Diego.  

If the registrant's death occurred in another county, contact that County Recorder’s office. 

Please allow 3 weeks after the date of event to request a death certificate. If no record is found based on the information provided on the application, a "Letter of No Record" will be issued. The Recorder's Office will retain the non-refundable fee for processing the application.


Who can obtain a death certificate?

Those who are authorized by law to receive a Certified Copy of a death certificate are:

  • A parent or legal guardian of the registrant

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

  • A party entitled to the record as a result of a court order (a certified copy of the court order must be provided)

  • A member of a law enforcement agency or a representative of another governmental agency, as provided by law, who is conducting official business

  • An attorney representing the registrant or a registrant's estate, or any person or agency empowered by statute, or appointed by a court to act on behalf of a registrant or a registrant's estate

  • An agent or employee of a funeral establishment who acts within the course and scope of his or her employment and who orders certified copies of a death certificate on behalf of an individual described in Health and Safety Code Section 7100(a)(1) to (8)

  • An individual described in Health and Safety Code Section 7100(a)(1) to (8). Agent under power of attorney for health care, competent surviving spouse, surviving competent adult child, surviving competent parent, surviving competent adult sibling, surviving competent adult person respectively in the next degrees of kinship, or conservator.

What is the difference between a Certified Copy and an Informational Copy? 

A Certified Copy of a death certificate is required to obtain death benefits, claim insurance proceeds, notify social security, or obtain other services related to an individual’s identity. 

Those who are not authorized by law to request a Certified Copy will receive a certified Informational Copy. A certified Informational Copy is marked "INFORMATIONAL, NOT A VALID DOCUMENT TO ESTABLISH IDENTITY".

How to order:

Visit one of our available office locations and complete the death certificate application, which must be signed in the presence of a County Clerk. You will be asked to present valid government-issued photo ID when you arrive. 

Fees:

  • $24 for each death certificate

The fee is not refundable even if the record is not found.

The fee is payable by cash, check or money order, or credit/debit card.
An additional $2.50 surcharge is applicable for card payments.

Check or money order payable to: San Diego Recorder/County Clerk.

Locations:

You can request death certificates at any of our available office locations linked below. Appointments are not necessary.

How to order:

Visit VitalChek.com and complete the ordering process.

For a Certified Copy, select “Authorized Copy” on VitalChek’s website.

Select “San Diego County Recorder” as the government agency. 

Fees:

  • $24 for each death certificate
  • $12.95 VitalChek handling fee
  • 19 VitalChek expedited delivery fee (optional)

The fee is not refundable even if the record is not found.

How to order:

Complete the death certificate application.

If requesting a Certified Copy:
You must be an authorized individual. Complete the Sworn Statement on the application and have it notarized. The Certificate of Acknowledgement must be completed by a Notary Public. If outside of California, the Notary may cross out California and enter the correct state.

If requesting a certified Informational Copy:
You do not have to be an authorized individual. The Sworn Statement, Certificate of Acknowledgment, and notarization are not required. 

Mail to: 

Send completed application with check or money order to:

San Diego Recorder/County Clerk
ATTN: Vital Records
P.O. Box 121750
San Diego, CA 92112-1750 

Fees: 

  • $24 for each death certificate

The fee is not refundable even if the record is not found.

The fee is payable by check or money order only, when requesting by mail.
Payable to: San Diego Recorder/County Clerk.

Do not send cash by mail.

Appointments are not necessary. See our available office locations for hours of operation.

Our office only holds death records for persons who died within the County of San Diego. 

If they died in another county, contact that County Recorder's office.

Our office has no authority to correct, edit, or amend information on a Death Certificate. All corrections must be done with the California Department of Public Health. See the CDPH site for correcting or amending vital records. Contact them for any questions regarding amending a death record.