Death Certificates

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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.

In Person at County Center

You can purchase an official or informational certified copy of a death certificate in person at:

San Mateo County Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder’s Division
555 County Center, 1st Floor
Redwood City, CA 94063
Phone 650.363.4500

Monday through Friday (excluding holidays), 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

You must bring a valid government issued identification if ordering an authorized certified copy. When you arrive to our office, you will be asked to fill out an online application form using our computers in the office. Once you have completed the online application you must obtain a ticket number from the front counter. Your order will be processed on the same day except for pre-1966 birth requests.

Payment types accepted by the San Mateo County Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder’s Division are cash, checks and credit or debit cards (Visa and Mastercard only).

Request by Mail

If you are unable to download the form, please call 650.363.4500 and we will mail you the application form.

Mail the application with acknowledgement and the required payment of money order or a personal check (preprinted with the account holder’s name from a U.S.A. issued bank) payable to San Mateo County Clerk-Recorder. We do not accept foreign checks. Do not send cash by mail. Include a self-addressed stamped/prepaid envelope to our address below:

San Mateo County Assessor-Count Clerk-Recorder Division
Attn: Vital Records
555 County Center, 1st Floor
Redwood City, CA 94063

Processing time may take several days. Please expect to receive your copies via regular mail approximately two weeks. Certificates from the year 1865 to 1965 may require an additional two days for processing.

If no record is found, the fee will be retained for searching the record (as required by Health & Safety Code Section 103650) and a “certificate of no public record” will be issued to the applicant.

If you require return tracking or guaranteed delivery of your fulfilled order, you must provide a prepaid return air bill guaranteeing tracking and deliver, i.e. Federal Express, USPS Priority, UPS or other. If you wish to expedite your request, you must include a prepaid overnight return envelope.

Acknowledgements executed by Notaries Public outside of the U.S.A. are not accepted. Sworn Statement must be taken before an Ambassador, Minister, Consul, Vice Consul or Consular Agent of the United States, or before any Judge of a Court of record having a seal in such foreign country (CA CCP 2014).

Online with VitalChek Network, Inc.

San Mateo County Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder’s Division does not accept online orders; however, for your convenience, you can process online requests through an independent company that we have partnered with to provide you this service: VitalChek Network, Inc.

An additional fee of $7 is charged by VitalChek for using this service. All major credit cards are accepted, including American Express®, Discover®, MasterCard® and Visa®.

Neither our office nor VitalChek have control over the services and fees other Internet vendors offer and charge, nor can we guarantee the confidentiality of any vital record data provided to vendors other than VitalChek. Processing time for orders is approximately 5 – 10 business days from receipt of completed application and payment. Records not on file with our office will require additional processing time. We are not responsible for non-delivery or non-receipt of fulfilled orders by your chosen return delivery method.

If no record is found, the fee will be reatined (as required by law) for searching for the record and a “Certificate of No Public Record” will be issued to the applicant. Records not on file with our office will require additional processing time. We are not responsible for non-delivery of non-receipt of fulfilled orders by your chosen return delivery method.

Amendments

Common examples of situations requiring a birth certificate amendment include: change of paternity, adoption, court-ordered name change, or gender reassignment, among others. The final approval and registration of all amendments must be completed by the State Office of Vital Records. However, our office can perform the preliminary review of an application to amend a recently issued certificate (less than 3 months) that has not yet been registered by the state office. You can call us to check that status. After state review and approval of the application, all new, amended certificates originate from the state office, after about two months of processing time. The state will provide our office with a copy of the amended certificate for our local files.

Please see the state’s website for instructions and official forms.