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Skip Navigation LinksPennsylvania Department of Health > My Records > Certificates > Death Certificates

Death Certificates

The Division of Vital Records maintains records of deaths that occurred from 1906 to the present. Certified copies of death certificates (with a raised seal) are issued and acceptable for various uses, such as:
  • Settle Estate
  • Insurance
  • Pension/Retirement
  • Social Security
  • Property Transfer
  • Stocks/Bonds

There are three ways to obtain a certified copy of a death certificate.  Be sure to complete all required information on the application form provided within each link:

1. Order Online thru Vitalchek, the authorized service provider for the Pennsylvania Department of Health
3. Order in person at one of these six public office locations:
Please note:   Processing times vary by site. You may select the links above for additional information on specific processing times in our public offices.   


There is a $9 fee for each certified copy. Check or money order should be made payable to Vital Records. Fee may be waived if the decedent was an Armed Forces member; the applicant is the decedent’s legal spouse, or dependent child. The Armed Forces fee waiver does not apply to genealogical requests. The Division of Vital Records does not accept cash for any transactions.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING RIGHT-TO-KNOW LAW: Death certificates maintained by the Division of Vital Records are not public certificates and, therefore, cannot be released under the provisions of Pennsylvania's Right-to-Know-Law. To determine if you are eligible to apply for a certified copy, please review the following:


Who May Request a Death Certificate?

 Only certain people can request a death certificate. You must be:
  • Legal representative of decedent's estate
  • Immediate family member
  • Extended family member who indicates a direct relationship to the decedent
  • Power of Attorney (Please note that a Power of Attorney document is no longer valid upon the death of the individual)


What if the Year of Death is Unknown?

An applicant may request a multi-year death search.
This bill amends the Act of June 29, 1953 (P.L. 304, No. 66), known as the Vital Statistics Law of 1953, to provide for public access to certain birth and death certificates after a fixed amount of time has passed. This legislation provides that such documents become public records 105 years after the date of birth or 50 years after the date of death.
You may access Pennsylvania birth and death indices to search for birth records from 1906 through 1908 and death records from 1906 through 1963. The original birth and death records for these years are located at the Pennsylvania State Archives.  Information on searching the indices is available on the Public Records page.