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Death Certificates

  • The Division of Vital Records (DVR) maintains death records that occurred in Pennsylvania from 1906 to the present.
  • For information on public records (deaths occurring from 1906 to 1967) click on Pennsylvania State Archives or click on Genealogy for more information.
  • Certified copies of death records (with a raised embossed state seal printed on security paper) are acceptable for various uses such as:
    • estate settlement;
    • insurance;
    • pension/retirement;
    • social security;
    • property transfer; and
    • stocks/bonds.
  • You can order your death certificate online, by telephone, by mail or in person. Click ordering information for all options.
  • If the year of death is unknown, you may request a Multi-year Search.
  • Do you need to correct a death certificate? Click on Death Certificates Corrections below for more information.

Who Can Order a Death Certificate?

  • attorney or legal representative of decedent's estate (documentation may be required);
  • immediate family members;
  • extended family members who indicate a direct relationship to the decedent (documentation may be required);
  • power of attorney.

If applicant is retained by a city/county/state office who has assumed administration of an estate, a letter signed by an official of the city/county/state office is required indicating the purpose for which he/she has been retained by the applicant and identifying the estate that is involved.

Power of Attorney (POA) Information

A Power of Attorney (POA) document should only be submitted when an individual or eligible family member is unable to apply for a birth certificate, a death certificate or a fetal death certificate. If, as POA, you cannot comply with the following instructions, the individual or eligible requestor must apply for the certificate.

  • An explanation must be included with the application as to why the individual or eligible family member is unable to apply.
  • Applicants submitting a POA document should review the applicable code for the state or country where the POA document was executed to ensure validity prior to submission with the application for a birth certificate, a death certificate or a fetal death certificate.
  • If you have been granted POA for the person named on a birth certificate, you must submit a notarized POA document that contains the original signatures of the parties involved, including the original notary's signature and seal. Your original document will be returned to you.
  • If you have been granted POA for an individual who is eligible to request a death certificate or a fetal death certificate, you must submit a notarized POA document that contains the original signatures of the parties involved, including the original notary's signature and seal. Your original document will be returned to you.
  • If you do not wish to send the original POA document, you may file the original notarized POA with the Clerk of Orphan's Court division of the Court of Common Pleas (usually in the county where the person granting the power of attorney resides) to obtain a certified copy of the POA document issued by the court. The certified copy of the POA document that includes the seal of the court may be submitted to our office in lieu of the original document. The document will be returned to you.
  • Note that a Power of Attorney (POA) document is no longer valid upon the death of an individual.

Death Certificate Fees

Death certified copies are $20 each.
Fee may be waived if the decedent was an armed forces member and if the applicant (the person applying) is:

  • the decedent's legal spouse;
  • a dependent child; or
  • the funeral director listed on the death certificate, if the decedent is listed as a veteran.
Fee waiver does not apply to genealogical requests.


IMPORTANT PAYMENT INFORMATION: All in-person public office transactions and all mailed applications require payment via check or money order made payable to "VITAL RECORDS" for the exact amount of your order. We do not accept cash or credit cards.

Death Certificate Application

Refer to a death certificate application for information needed to request a certified copy.

Death Certificate Corrections

Occasionally, errors (such as spelling or typographical errors) are made when reporting death certificate information to the Division of Vital Records. It is usually easy to correct these minor errors. The individual requesting the correction must request a new Certificate of Death by submitting a properly completed death certificate application with the required fee. Fee may be waived for armed forces status. Information on requesting and processing different types of death certificate corrections are listed below.

How to Correct Personal Information of Decedent if Death Occurred Within the Past Two Years

To correct spelling or typographical errors in the decedent's name, date of birth, age, mailing address, social security number, etc., the funeral director who signed the original death certificate or the informant listed on the death certificate must complete and submit to the Division of Vital Records a Death Correction Form.

  • FORM - The individual requesting the correction must include a completed death correction statement. List the correct information in the Corrections Desired column. The correction statement must include the signature of the funeral director who signed the original certificate or the informant.
  • DEATH CERTIFICATE APPLICATION – A completed and signed death certificate application with ID and payment should be mailed to the Division of Vital Records, P.O. Box 1528, New Castle, PA 16103. Be sure to include a valid email address to receive an email acknowledgement that your application was received.
    • ID - Include a legible photocopy of the individual's (person requesting the correction) valid government-issued photo ID verifying the name and current mailing address. Examples include a state-issued driver's license or non-driver photo ID. Expired IDs cannot be accepted. If the address has been changed, include copy of the update card. If possible, enlarge photo ID on copier by at least 150 percent. If you do not have acceptable photo identification, you may submit a completed Statement from Requestors Not Possessing Acceptable Government-Issued Photo ID with two acceptable documents verifying current address.
    • PAYMENT – Include a check or money order made out to VITAL RECORDS for the exact amount of your order. Fee may be waived if the subject is an armed forces member. Note that cash is not accepted. If cash is submitted with your application, it will be returned causing additional delays.
  • PROCESSING – Click Current Processing Times for the most up-to-date processing information.

How to Correct Personal Information of Decedent if Death Occurred More Than Two Years Ago

To correct spelling or typographical errors in the decedent's name, date of birth, age, mailing address, social security number, etc., the funeral director who signed the original death certificate or the informant listed on the death certificate must complete and submit to the Division of Vital Records a Death Correction form. The individual requesting the correction must request a new Certificate of Death by submitting a properly completed Death Certificate Application with the required fee. Click forms to complete online form or print a copy. Fee may be waived for armed forces status.

  • FORM - The individual requesting the correction must include a completed death correction statement. List the correct information in the Corrections Desired column. The correction statement must include the signature of the funeral director who signed the original certificate or the Informant. A photocopy of any one document that conclusively establishes the information to be corrected must also be submitted. Acceptable documents include a birth certificate, social security card, marriage record, or life insurance policy. Documents will NOT be returned.
  • DEATH CERTIFICATE APPLICATION – A completed and signed death certificate application with ID and payment should be mailed to the Division of Vital Records, P.O. Box 1528, New Castle, PA 16103. Be sure to include a valid email address to receive an email acknowledgement that your application was received.
    • ID - Include a legible photocopy of the individual's (person requesting the correction) valid government-issued photo ID verifying the name and current mailing address. Examples include a state-issued driver's license or non-driver photo ID. Expired IDs cannot be accepted. If the address has been changed, include copy of the update card. If possible, enlarge photo ID on copier by at least 150 percent. If you do not have acceptable photo identification, you may submit a completed Statement from Requestors Not Possessing Acceptable Government-Issued Photo ID with two acceptable documents verifying current address.
    • PAYMENT – Include a check or money order made out to VITAL RECORDS for the exact amount of your order. Fee may be waived if the subject is an armed forces member. Click the DEATH CERTIFICATE FEES bar above for more information. Note that cash is not accepted. If cash is submitted with your application, it will be returned causing additional delays.
  • PROCESSING – Click Current Processing Times for the most up-to-date processing information.

Major Changes to Decedent's Name, Date or Death or Cause of Death

Only the physician, certified registered nurse practitioner or coroner/medical examiner who signed the original death certificate can request a change to these items. You will need to contact them for assistance.

Correction to a Certificate of Death is not Addressed Above

If a correction you require is not listed above, or if you require additional information, contact the Division of Vital Records at 844-228-3516 or 724-656-3100.

Death Certificate Frequently Asked Questions(FAQS)

Is the fee for a death certificate waived for military personnel?

Yes, the fee may be waived for death certificates if the decedent was an armed forces member or if the applicant (the person applying) is:

  • The decedent's legal spouse;
  • A dependent child; or
  • The funeral director listed on the death certificate (if the decedent is listed as a veteran).

Fee waiver does not apply to genealogical requests.

How do I check the status of a request I submitted by mail for a death certificate?

If you have not received your certified copy within the average processing time from the date the application was received, call 724-656-3100 for assistance. If possible, please have your cancelled check information available.

How do I find a cemetery plot, burial place or place of cremation?

  • A death certificate should indicate the name and location of the cemetery where an individual is buried or the place of cremation; however, you must contact the cemetery official to obtain the exact location.
  • Refer to Ordering Information for specific details.

Do foreign governments accept a death certificate issued by the Pennsylvania Division of Vital Records? Must it be further authenticated with an apostille or certification?

  • Yes. Many foreign governments require a Certificate of Death that is further authenticated by an Apostille or Certification for legal matters such as international business transactions, dual citizenship or overseas dispositions.
  • You must complete and submit to the Division of Vital Records a properly completed Death Certificate Application with the required fee or armed forces information. Click Forms to complete the online form or print a copy.
  • Click on Ordering Information for instructions.
  • Once you receive a Certification of Death from the Division of Vital Records, you must take it to the Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation at the Pennsylvania Department of State to obtain an Apostille or Certification. Visit the Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation website for additional information on fees and processing.

Where can I obtain a copy of a death certificate if the death occurred in another state?

Click http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w/ for information on where to write for death certificates that occurred in other states or territories.

Where can I obtain a copy of a death certificate if the death occurred before 1906?

Information on death records that occurred prior to 1906 can be obtained by contacting the appropriate Pennsylvania County Courthouse. Visit www.pacourts.us/courts/courts-of-common-pleas/orphans-court-clerks for a list of county courthouses.