Welcome to the State of California 

Certificates for research purposes

Researchers and government agencies who request birth or death certificates will receive "certified informational copies."  These copies are regular certified copies, but have "INFORMATIONAL, NOT A VALID DOCUMENT TO ESTABLISH IDENTITY" printed across them.  Requests for certified informational copies do not require a sworn statement or notarization.  Processing time varies based on the number and age of the certificates requested.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE:  If you want to order a birth or death certificate for yourself or a family member, please click here for instructions.  The instructions below are only for researchers and government agencies.  

 

Death Certificates

To request death certificates, please provide the following:

  • Appropriate payment.  The cost is $21 per death certificate.*
  • List (preferably in an electronic format such as Excel) of either:
    1. the State File Number (SFN) or Local Registration Number (LRN) for each requested certificate and at least two confirmatory fields from the list below, OR
    2. if the SFN and LRN are unknown, provide as much information as possible about each decedent from among the fields listed below:
        1. Names (first, middle, last, maiden, mother's maiden)
        2. Date of Death
        3. Date of Birth
        4. Social Security Number
        5. County Where Death Occurred

              Birth Certificates

              The top portion of the birth certificate is considered non-confidential.  This section contains basic information on the child (such as name, sex, birth place, birth date), the parents (names and birth places), and the attendant/certifier.  The bottom portion, which is confidential, contains parent's demographic data, medical information related to the pregnancy and delivery, and mother's residential address.

              To request the non-confidential (top) portion of birth certificates, please provide the following:

              • Appropriate payment.  The cost is $19 per birth certificate for government agencies.  For all other requestors, the cost is $25 per birth certificate.*
              • List (preferably in an electronic format such as Excel) of the full names and birth dates [partial dates are acceptable] for the requested certificates and any of the following (if known):
                1. 1. State File Number (SFN)
                  2. Local Registration Number (LRN)
                  3. County of Birth
                  4. Mother's Maiden Name

              To request the confidential (bottom) portion along with the non-confidential (top) portion of birth certificates, you must provide the following:

              • Appropriate payment.  The cost is $19 per birth certificate for government agencies. For all other requesters, the cost is $25 per birth certificate.*
              • Copy of the Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects (CPHS) approval letter.  For guidelines on the approval process, please go to www.oshpd.ca.gov/Boards/CPHS.  Signed consent forms are not sufficient approval for releasing the confidential portion of the birth certificate.
              • Brief statement with (1) your name and title, (2) your organization affiliation, and (3) and the specific purpose for which the birth certificate information is to be used
              • List of the full names and birth dates (preferably in an electronic format such as Excel) for the requested certificates and any of the following (if known):
                  1. 1. State File Number (SFN)
                    2. Local Registration Number (LRN)
                    3. County of Birth
                    4. Mother's Maiden Name

                *The costs for performing a certificate search are set by California State law.  There are no refunds for certificates that we are not able to locate.  There are no discounts for certificates.  Payments must be received before certificates are released unless the request is from a government agency.  Checks or money orders should be made payable to the California Department of Public Health (Federal Taxpayer ID Number 74-3204993).  Cash, credit cards, and purchase orders are NOT accepted.  If an invoice is needed in order to process a check, please contact the Vital Statistics Section at the Office of Vital Records Customer Service.

                 

                Requests should be sent to:

                California Department of Public Health
                Office of Vital Records, M.S. 5103
                P.O. Box 997410
                Sacramento, California 95899-7410
                 
                 

                For More Information

                OHIR Program Page - provides additional information about the Office of Health Information and Research.

                Other Certificates
                Other Links
                 
                 
                Last modified on: 9/24/2014 4:10 PM