Authorized Copy vs. Informational Copy
California law defines individuals who can obtain an authorized 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.
- [Death certificates ONLY]: any surviving relative of the registrant as described in Section 7100 of the Health and Safety Code.
- A party entitled to receive the record as a result of a court order, or an attorney or a licensed 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 a 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.
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." Certain items may be redacted and an informational copy may not be used to obtain identification. However, authorized and informational copies are both considered "certified copies.”