Filing a Report of Death
In Pennsylvania, the funeral director or person in charge of interment is responsible for filing a Report of Death with our office. Medical certifiers (which include professionals such as physicians, certified registered nurse practitioners, physician assistants, medical examiners, and coroners) report the manner and cause of death. Once a complete report of death has been registered, we are able to issue death certificates.
If your funeral director is reporting the death to us electronically, then we are able to process applications for death certificates immediately. However, if your funeral director is reporting the death to us on a paper report, then work directly with your funeral director if you need death certificates within the first 90 days following the death.
Once a report of death has been registered in Pennsylvania, a Disposition/Transit Permit will be issued. This permit is necessary to bury your loved one's remains in a Pennsylvania cemetery or to transport the body out of Pennsylvania.
Please work directly with your funeral director to make necessary arrangements regarding your loved one's final disposition. If you plan to bury your loved one outside of Pennsylvania, you may need additional paperwork to meet legal requirements in other jurisdictions.
If you are burying your loved one's remains in a foreign country, you may need the following:
- A death certificate that bears the signature of the state registrar. To obtain a death certificate that bears the signature of the state registrar, please see ordering a death certificate. Some death certificates issued immediately following registration of the death may only include a local registrar's signature. Therefore, it is important that you order directly from us if you are required to obtain a death certificate that bears the signature of the state registrar.
- An apostille that certifies the authenticity of the state registrar's signature. The Department of State issues all apostilles for Pennsylvania. Please see How Do I Obtain an Apostille or Certificate.
- A notarized letter from the PA Department of Health certifying that your loved one did not have a communicable disease.
If You Are Transporting Your Loved One's Remains into or through Pennsylvania for Burial
If you are transporting your loved one's remains into or through Pennsylvania for burial, you will need the following:
- A death certificate and disposition/transit permit as issued by the jurisdiction that registered the death. The death certificate must include cause of death.
- If your loved one had a communicable disease at time of death, please contact us prior to transporting the remains into Pennsylvania.