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vital records

Obtaining Certified Copies of ​​Birth & Death Records

GettyImages-531296469Note:  Processing fees are deposited upon receiving your request.  Please allow 3-4 weeks from the date of deposit to receive your vital record in the mail.  Before submitting your application to CDPH Vital Records, please view our processing times to make sure they are acceptable for your needs.  If not, you should submit your request to the County Recorder's Office in the county where the birth or death took place.

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 their certified copy fees, as they may be different from the State fees.  Refer to the "Directory of County Vital Record Offices" link below for county contact information.

CDPH Vital Records only accepts orders submitted by mail.  Please follow the 6 Steps listed below to place your order.

Step 1 – Determine whether you can obtain an authorized copy or an informational copy

In the State of California, authorized copies of vital records can only be obtained by the individual named on the record, parents of the individual named on the record, and certain other individuals or entities specified in law.  All other requestors can only obtain informational copies.  All copies issued are “certified copies.”

Step 2- Download pamphlet for obtaining certified copies of birth and/or death records

Step 3 – Download and complete the application form (and sworn statement if appropriate – see “Note” in Step 4)

Step 4 – Have your sworn statement notarized

You must have your sworn statement notarized if ordering an authorized copy. 

Note:  A notarized sworn statement is not needed if ordering an informational copy.  However, unless an informational copy is indicated on the application form, applications received without a notarized sworn statement will be returned to the sender. 

Step 5 – Determine certified copy fee 

 A certified copy fee must accompany all requests for copies of vital records.  Requests received without the appropriate fee will be returned to the sender.  Make your check or money order payable to CDPH Vital Records.  Checks must be drawn on a United States bank.  Money orders must be drawn on a United States bank or issued by the United States Postal Service.

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

If no record is found, we will issue a Certificate of No Public Record and retain the fee for the search according to State law. 

Step 6 – Mail your request to CDPH Vital Records

The Office of Vital Records sends all certificates via Standard Mail through the United States Postal Service.  If you would like to track the item once it leaves the Vital Records office, please include a pre-paid, self-addressed certified envelope with the application (this is optional).  Include completed application form, notarized sworn statement if requesting an authorized copy, and check or money order for the certified copy fee. 

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

Mail to:

California Department of Public Health
Vital Records - MS 5103
P.O. Box 997410
Sacramento, CA 95899-7410

If using a courier service that requires a physical address for delivery, please use the following address:

California Department of Public Health
Vital Records - MS 5103
1501 Capitol Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95814

NOTE Concerning Confidential Information on Birth Record

The bottom portion of the birth certificate (entitled "Confidential Information for Public Health Use") contains confidential personal information (race, occupation, and medical data - including pregnancy history).  Health and Safety Code Section 102430 allows this confidential information to be included on an authorized copy only when specifically requested by the person named on the certificate, the mother listed on the certificate, or the parent who signed the certificate (a father may only receive a confidential copy if he signed the child's birth certificate).  Because a confidential birth certificate contains very personal information, it is not commonly used (or needed) for identification, travel, school, or sports-related purposes.  If requesting a birth certificate that contains the confidential information, please write "Confidential Copy" on the application form.

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