Ordering a Death Record

Order a Death Record

Ordering or correcting a death certificate for the FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program

What death products can I get?

Our office has death records from July 1, 1907 to present for events that occurred in the state of Washington. You can obtain Washington state death records as certified copies (or “certificates”) for legal purposes or noncertified informational copies for genealogical or other personal use. The four different death record products include:

  • Long form death certificate
  • Short form death certificate
  • Fetal death certificate
  • Noncertified informational copy of a death record.

Who qualifies?

For security of personal information, only individuals with specific qualifying relationships, also known as qualified applicants, to the subject of the requested record can receive a death certificate or fetal death certificate. Identity and proof of qualifying relationship documentation is required.

What does it cost?

Nonrefundable fees start at $25 per certified or noncertified informational copy. Other fees may apply depending on ordering or shipping method.

What do I need to provide?

The required pieces of information to order a long form death certificate, short form death certificate, noncertified informational copy of a death record, and fetal death certificate include:

  • First and last name of the deceased person.
  • Date of death or approximate date of death (Month, Year).
  • City or county of death.

How long does it take?

It depends on the way you order and the shipping method you select. The time listed is from when we receive full payment and all required documentation. Missing information will delay orders.

  • Check with your local Washington health department for the certificates they offer and if they have in-person services at this time. Customers will receive most orders within the same day. There might be an additional fee for this service.
  • VitalChek online or by phone orders process and ship within 3-7 business days, depending on the shipping option you select.
  • By mail, the customer will receive the order within 1-3 weeks after receiving and processing of payment.

Long Form Death Certificate

What is a long form death certificate?

Long form death certificates serve as official documents printed on certified security paper and used for legal purposes. It contains cause and manner of death information and social security number of the deceased person. You may need this product to close out bank accounts or claim benefits such as life insurance policies.

Who qualifies?

Qualified applicants for long form death certificate include:
  • Spouse/domestic partner
  • Child
  • Parent
  • Stepparent
  • Stepchild
  • Sibling
  • Grandparent
  • Grandchild
  • Great grandparent
  • Legal guardian
  • Legal representative
  • Authorized representative
  • Government agency
  • Courts
  • Next of kin
  • Funeral director or funeral establishment (within 12 months of date of death)
  • Person controlling disposition of human remains under RCW 68.50.160 (within 12 months of date of death).

How do I get a long form death certificate?

You must complete the following steps to request and receive a long form death certificate:

  • Submit an application with required pieces of information.
Short Form Death Certificate

What is a short form death certificate?

The short form death certificate is a new product offered only for deaths electronically registered from January 1, 2018 to present. Short form death certificates serve as official documents printed on certified security paper and used for legal purposes. It does not contain cause and manner of death information or social security number of the deceased person. You may need this product for transferring titles (e.g. vehicles), real estate transactions, and probate cases.

Check with the agency or business where you will use the certificate to know what information it must include prior to purchasing this product.

Who qualifies?

Qualified applicants for short form death certificate include:
  • Spouse/domestic partner
  • Child
  • Parent
  • Stepparent
  • Stepchild
  • Sibling
  • Grandparent
  • Grandchild
  • Great grandparent
  • Legal guardian
  • Legal representative
  • Authorized representative
  • Government agency
  • Courts
  • Next of kin
  • Funeral director or funeral establishment (within 12 months of date of death)
  • Person controlling disposition of human remains under RCW 68.50.160 (within 12 months of date of death).
  • Title insurer or title insurance agent
  • Person that demonstrates necessity of that certificate for a determination related to the death or protection of a personal or property right related to the death

How do I get a short form death certificate?

You must complete the following steps to request and receive a short form death certificate:

  • Submit an application with required pieces of information.
Noncertified Informational Copy of a Death Record

What is a noncertified informational copy of a death record?

Noncertified informational copies of death records do not get issued on the certified paper with security features and cannot be used for legal purposes. It will contain a watermark stating “Cannot be used for legal purposes. Informational only.” Noncertified informational copies of death records contain the same information as the short form death certificate.

Check with the agency or organization requesting the record before you order an informational copy.

You cannot obtain a noncertified informational copy for the following records: long form death and fetal death.

Who qualifies?

Anyone can request a noncertified informational death copy. You do not need to provide proof of identity and qualified relationship to the subject of the record.

How do I get an informational death copy?

You must complete the following steps to request and receive a noncertified informational copy of a death record:

  • Submit an application with required pieces of information.
  • Pay the applicable fee(s). Fees start at $25 per copy. Other fees may apply depending on ordering or shipping method.
Fetal Death Certificate

What is a fetal death certificate?

Fetal death certificates serve as official documents printed on certified security paper and used for legal purposes. A fetal death, sometimes referred to as stillbirths or miscarriages, is a death of a fetus with gestation of twenty or more weeks, but not live born.

Qualified applicants for fetal death certificates include:
  • Parent
  • Sibling
  • Grandparent
  • Legal representative
  • Authorized representative
  • Government agency
  • Courts
  • Funeral director or funeral establishment (within 12 months of date of death)

How do I get a Fetal Death Certificate?

You must complete the following steps to request and receive a fetal death certificate:

How do I use the death record outside the United States?

To use a certified document issued in Washington state, like a long form death certificate, short form death certificate, or fetal death certificate, in another country for official purposes you may need an apostille from the Secretary of State. Noncertified informational copies do not meet standards for legal purposes, only certified copies comply with laws to request an apostille. Visit the apostille web page for more information.

For more information, visit…