how to get a death certificate in florida

How to Get a Death Certificate in Florida: Everything You Need to Know

Everything you need to know about accessing death records in Florida. All the information you need to submit your request, plus who can access a Florida death certificate, the cost, and how to get started.

What are Death Certificates (and Why is it Important to Get a Florida Death Certificate)?

Florida death certificates are legal documents, issued by the Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of Vital Statistics, that record the date, location, and cause of a person’s death that occurred within Florida.

In Florida, death certificates are completed by either the medical examiner or the medical practitioner who was caring for the deceased at the time of death, as well as the funeral director.

Florida law requires all deaths that occur within the state be registered via a death certificate within 5 days of the death.

Even though families and estate representatives typically require multiple copies of a loved one’s death certificate to manage their estate, you won’t automatically receive copies, and need to ask.

Most often, you can request death certificates from the funeral director. It’s prudent to request up to 10 copies when someone passes in order to close accounts and wrap up their estate.

If you need additional death certificates, or didn’t receive copies from the funeral director, you can request them via the vital records office.

Vital Records Offices in Florida

Florida’s Bureau of Vital Statistics is in charge of vital records in Florida.

Florida has been filing death certificates for those who passed away in the state since 1899, with more widespread compliance starting in 1917. However, some counties have been keeping death records in Florida since 1877.

The Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics issues certified copies of Florida death certificates, as well as birth, marriage, and divorce certificates.

You can only get a vital record in Florida for an event that occurred in Florida.

In other words, you can only get a Florida death certificate for a person who died in Florida. If they were a Florida resident, but passed away out-of-state, you won’t be able to get a death certificate from Florida.

How to Get a Death Certificate in Florida?

Florida death certificates can be ordered by mail, by phone, in person, or online using an approved third-party provider.

How to Get a Florida Death Certificate by Mail

To order a death certificate by mail in Florida, print and fill out the application form and mail it (along with the fee or payment information) to:

Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics
P.O. Box 210
Jacksonville, FL 32231-0042

The application form is available in English and in Spanish from Florida Department of Health.

The pro of ordering a Florida death certificate by mail is that it’s convenient, doesn’t require an in-person visit to the Bureau of Vital Statistics located in Jacksonville, and is cheaper than ordering online.

The cost is $5 for one copy, plus $4 for each additional certified copy. Payment for mail-in applications can be made by check or money order, made payable to “Bureau of Vital Statistics”

To complete international payments, it is required to use a Cashier’s Check or Money Order in U.S. Dollars issued by a U.S. bank. For checks that don’t clear, Florida Law mandates a $15.00 service fee.

The con of ordering by mail is that it may take longer to receive the death certificates you’ve ordered, due to mailing time.

How to Get a Florida Death Certificate by Phone

To order a death certificate by phone in Florida, you can use the state’s approved 3rd party provider, VitalChek.

For calls within the U.S., the phone number is 877-550-7330. If calling from outside the U.S., call 1-615-372-6800.

How to Get a Florida Death Certificate In Person

To order a death certificate in person in Florida, you can go to the Bureau of Vital Statistics, which offers walk-in service.

The office is open from 8:00am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday, except for holidays, and is located at:

1217 N Pearl Street
Jacksonville, FL 32202

The phone number is (904) 359-6900, ext. 9000.

For in person visits, the Jacksonville office can issue a certified copy of the death certificate within 3 to 5 business days. Records prior to 2009 require additional processing time.

If you need your order to be processed with priority service, you can opt for a rush order by paying an extra fee of $10 and marking the envelope with “RUSH”.

All orders, including rush orders, are via standard U.S. Postal delivery, unless you provide a prepaid return envelope with a faster class of service.

Before going in person, it’s helpful to fill out the application form, and ensure you have all the required documentation and ID.

Payment for in-person orders can be made in the form of cash, check, money order, Visa or Mastercard. Checks and money orders should be made out to the “Bureau of Vital Statistics”.

The cost for ordering in-person is $5 for one copy, plus $4 for each additional certified copy.

How to Order a Florida Death Certificate Online

To order a Florida death certificate online, you need to order them through an independent company called VitalCheck Network Inc.

VitalCheck Network accepts major credit cards for payment, and offers the option to choose UPS for faster shipping, and for an additional fee.

While death certificates ordered directly through the Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics cost $5 for one copy, plus $4 for each additional certified copy, death certificates ordered online through VitalCheck cost up to $37 per copy.

Processing time for online orders through 3rd party provider is up to 14 business days, plus shipping costs.

Information Required to Obtain a Death Certificate in Florida

To get a copy of an existing death certificate, you need to:

  • Provide enough relevant information about the deceased to ensure the state is able to locate relevant death records.
  • Demonstrate you have a right to access access the death certificate.
  • Meet Florida ID requirements for applicants.

Information Required to Request a Death Certificate in Florida

To order death records in Florida, you need to provide information about the deceased to help the Bureau of Vital Statistics or VitalCheck find the death record you need.

In Florida, the following information is required:

  • Full name, as written on the death record
  • Sex
  • Date of death
  • Date of birth
  • City and county of death
  • Name of surviving spouse
  • Social security number
  • Name of funeral home

The application form will also ask you personal and contact information, plus your proof of relationship to the deceased.

Qualifications: Who Can Order a Death Certificate in Florida

In addition to providing information about the deceased, you’ll need to demonstrate you have a right to access the death certificate.

According to Florida law, death certificates that have the cause of death listed on the certificate have “restricted access” for 50 years after someone has died. Only certain people can access restricted Florida death records, and documentation is required. These people include:

  • Spouse or parent
  • Child, grandchild or sibling (must be of legal age)
  • Anyone with interest in the estate, and can demonstrate their interest via a will, insurance policy, or other similar document
  • People who are acting on behalf of eligible individuals, and have documentation to prove it
  • People listed on a court order

When requesting a restricted Florida death certificate that lists the cause of death, you’ll need to provide your name and relationship to the deceased individual, and may require documentation that proves your relationship to the deceased, such as a birth certificate (if you are their child) or marriage certificate (if you are their spouse).

You’ll also need to provide an address to which the death certificate should be mailed, and your contact information.

If you only require a death certificate without the cause of death, you can request one without establishing eligibility.

Note that the confidential portion of fetal death certificates for still births are restricted for 100 years, and only the parent(s), sibling(s), or people named in a court order may access these.

What ID is Needed to Get Death Certificates in Florida?

Individuals applying for a Florida death record need to submit their request along with the appropriate personal identification.

Along with the application, you need to include a valid photo identification.

Acceptable form of identifications include:

  • Drivers License
  • State Identification Card
  • Passport
  • Military Identification Card

A foreign-issued drivers license, identification card, consular card, or Matricula card require two additional forms of identification. Examples of additional ID include vehicle title or registration, health insurance card, employment ID, school ID, tax document, or a piece of mail with your current address.

Frequently Asked Questions About Getting a Florida Death Certificate

How much does a Florida death record search cost?

Florida charges $5 for one copy, plus $4 for each additional certified copy of a death certificate. After paying the fee, you’ll get either one certified copy of the death certificate. If they can’t find the death certificate you’re after, you may get a “failure to find” certificate.

If you choose to order Florida death records online through VitalChek, it’s more expensive. At the time of writing, VitalChek charges $37.

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