Birth & Death Certificates

Overview

Birth & Death Certificates

Birth certificates are used for many official governmental purposes such as Social Security, passport applications and school enrollments. They are sometimes used for non-official registrations such as little league.

Death certificates are needed for Social Security, life and health insurance and other time sensitive purposes. 

There are two types of certified copies available to a requestor: Official and Informational.

Official Copy

California law defines individuals who can obtain an official copy of a birth or death certificate as:

  • The registrant (person listed on the certificate) or a parent or legal guardian of the registrant. A child, grandparent, grandchild, brother or sister, spouse or domestic partner of the registrant.
  • A party entitled to received the record as a result of a court order, or an attorney or license adoption agency seeking the birth record in order to comply with the requirements of Section 3140 or 7603 of the California Family Code.
  • A member of law enforcement agency or a representative of another governmental agency, as provided by law, who is conducting official business. (Companies representing a government agency must provide authorization from the government agency.)
  • 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. (If you are requesting a Certified Copy under a power of attorney, please include a copy of the power of attorney with the application form.)
  • Any 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 specified in paragraphs (1) to (5), inclusive, of subdivision (a) of Section 7100 of the Health and Safety Code.

Informational Copy

If you cannot obtain an authorized copy under California law, you can obtain an informational copy. An informational copy contains the same information as an authorized copy, but will have a legend across the face with the statement “informational, not a valid document to establish identity.”

Authorized and informational copies are both “certified copies.”

Signatures and social security numbers will be redacted.

Post

Birth Certificates

 

You may obtain a birth certificate in three ways: 

  1. In Person at County Center in Redwood City
  2. By Mail Request
  3. Online using VitalChek, Inc.

Requests for pre-1966 Birth Records require a 24-hour notice to retrieve from our off-site facility. Persons wanting to order copies of these records are requested to fill out an Application for Certified Copy of Birth. Copies of these forms are available online or in our office. Records will be available the following business day upon receipt of the application.

Recent Birth Records​:  Recent birth records are available approximately 2-3 weeks after the birth date from the San Mateo County Vital Statistics/Health Department Office in San Mateo at 650.573.2395. Otherwise, the record will be available from our office usually 4 weeks after the birth date.

We do not accept telephone requests/orders.
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Death Certificates

 

You may obtain a death certificate in three ways:

  1. In Person at County Center in Redwood City
  2. By Mail Request
  3. Online using VitalChek, Inc.

Requests for pre-1966 Death Records require a 24-hour notice to retrieve from our off-site facility. Persons wanting to order copies of these records are requested to fill out an Application for Certified Copy of Birth. Copies of these forms are available online or in our office. Records will be available the following business day upon receipt of the application.

Recent Death Records: Recent death records are available approximately 2-3 weeks after the date of death from the San Mateo County Vital Statistics/Health Department Office in San Mateo at 650.573.2395. Otherwise, the record will be available from our office usually 4 weeks after the date of death.

We do not accept telephone requests/orders.
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Requests for pre-1966 Birth and Death Records

Birth and death record requests for documents prior to 1966 require a 24-hour notice to retrieve from our off-site facility. Persons wanting to order copies of these records are requested to fill out an Application for Certified Copy of Birth or Death Record. Copies of these forms are available above and in our office.

Birth and death records will be available the following business day upon receipt of the application.