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vital records

Important Information 

Does CDPH Vital Records have your record yet?

Birth, death, and marriage records are only available from CDPH Vital Records after they have been ​​recorded by the County Recorder's Office. Because of the delays resulting from this process, CDPH Vital Records suggests that certified copies of records:

  • Birth and Death: Be requested from the County Health Department or the County Recorder's Office for the first 3 months after the event.
  • Marriage: Be requested from the County Recorder's Office for the first 6 months after the event.
  • Caution: If a record is requested from CDPH Vital Records during the 3 or 6 months waiting period, and the record is not yet available in the database, a Certificate of No Public Record will be issued and the fee with be retained as authorized by State law.

Is your record being amended?

Amendments to birth and death records are frequently submitted to the State Registrar to correct errors or add information to original documents.  Typically, certified copies of amended certificates are requested at the same time the amendment is submitted, and the applicant receives a certified copy once the amendment is completed. 

  • If you did not order a certified copy when you submitted the amendment, and you submit a separate request for a certified copy before the amendment has been completed, you will receive a copy of the original (un-amended) record.
  • If you know that the record is being amended, and it is the amended record that you want, please wait until the amendment has been completed before requesting a certified copy.

Fees for Vital Records

Vital record fees are specified in statute. If a record cannot be located, you will be issued a Certificate of No Public Record and the fee will be retained as a search fee as authorized by State law.

Please do not send cash by mail. CDPH cannot be held responsible for fees paid that are lost, misdirected, or undelivered.

Timeframes for Processing Requests

Need your certificate quickly?  To ensure that CDPH Vital Records timeframes meet your needs, please view CDPH Vital Records processing times for the type of record you are requesting.  Because of the large volume of requests processed at the State level, you can often obtain your certificate more quickly from the county office (sometimes within one week).  Also, many of the county offices will accept your request by phone, fax, or online, with the use of a credit card.

If you are using our state application form - but are submitting your request to a county office for processing - please first check with the county office to confirm county's certified copy fees, as they may be different from the State fees.  Refer to the "Directory of County Vital Record Offices" for county contact information.      

Obtaining Vital Records From County Offices

  • Certified copies of birth and death certificates for individuals who were born or who died in California are available from the County Recorder’s Office in the county where the event took place.
  • Certified copies of public marriage records are available from the County Recorder in the county where the license was issued. 
  • Certified copies of confidential marriage records are only available from the County Clerk in the county where the license was issued.
  • Certified copies of divorce decrees are only available from the Superior Court in the county where the decree was granted.


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