Virginia death records are available to immediate surviving family members after the passing of a loved one. Family members who may order a copy of death certificate documents include the parents, spouses, grandparents, siblings, children or the adult grandchildren of the decedent. However, anyone can find a death certificate for deaths occurring 25 years prior to the date of the request. Residents who wish to order death certificate documents may complete the request in person at the Office of Vital Records in Richmond or by sending an application by mail to the office P.O. box. They may also order a death certificate onlineright here. It should be noted that a death record can be used for various purposes, including for financial, legal and personal reasons. To learn more about how to get a death certificate in Virginia, review the sections below.
What are Virginia death records used for?
Virginia records of death are available to immediate family members after a loved one dies. Death certificates often include the decedent’s full name, sex, date of death, age, time and place of death and date of burial. Additionally, certificates of death include the deceased’s marital status and surviving spouse’s name (if applicable), address and certification from a physician, medical examiner or coroner. Legal representatives or surviving family members must obtain a copy of a death certificate to perform various legal transactions, including the following:
- Arrange a funeral
- Access pension benefits
- Claim life insurance
- Sell estates
- Get remarried after the death of a spouse
Furthermore, public health officials review death records in VA to determine whether foul play was involved in the death or to gather data about mortality rates and leading causes of death in the state. After the death of a Virginia resident, the medical examiner, funeral director or other certifying official must file the decedent’s death record with the local health department for the county or city in which the event took place. Eligible family members may request death certificate copies from the appropriate health department, the Office of Vital Records under the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) or from the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). They may also get a copy of death records here.
Who can order a death certificate in Virginia?
Full-certified death records are only available to eligible family members, such as the surviving spouse of the deceased or the decedent’s parents, siblings, children, grandparents or adult grandchildren. Additionally, non-certified records of death are available to non-immediate family members in the form of a Verification of Death. Applicants may obtain a Verification of Death through the Division of Vital Records. As such, a death verification includes the decedent’s name, date and place of death, date of birth and the last four digits of his or her Social Security Number. Eligible applicants may get a copy of a Virginia death certificate here.
How to Get Virginia Death Certificates
Customers who need to order a decedent’s death record in Virginia may complete the process in person, by mail or online. However, only immediate family members may get a certified death certificate after the passing of a loved one. To learn more about how to obtain a death certificate in Virginia, review the methods below or easily apply for a death certificate online here.
Applicants wondering, “How do I get a death certificate in person?” are advised that the three ways to request death certificate documentation in person are as follows:
- At the Office of Vital Records in Richmond
- Through any full-service DMV customer service center
- Through the local health department for which the VA death certificate was originally filed
To get a death certificate through the Office of Vital Records, applicants must complete an Application for Certification of a Vital Record and submit it in person along with payment for the copy of the death certificate and valid proof of their identity. In some cases, customers receive the certified death record before they leave the office.
Alternately, customers may order a death record through a full-service DMV customer service center by completing a Virginia Vital Record Application, presenting acceptable identification and paying the applicable fee. Sometimes customers receive death records before they leave the facility, but this is not always the case. If the DMV cannot locate the Virginia death certificate, then it will forward the application to the Division of Vital Records.
Lastly, applicants may find death certificate documentation at a local health department office for which the death occurred. However, most health departments only retain death certificates for recent deaths or deaths that occurred within the previous five years.
For customers wondering how to get death certificate documents by mail, it is important to note that they must complete an application for death certificate paperwork and mail it to the Division of Vital Records P.O. box. Additionally, customers who wish to order Virginia death certificates by mail must submit a photocopy of one primary form of identification or two secondary documents. Applicants wondering, “How long does it take to get a death certificate by mail?” are advised that it can take two to four weeks from the day the Office of Vital Records receives the request.
Eligible family members may complete an application for death certificate online if they wish to receive a Virginia death record without visiting an office in person. To get a death certificate online, applicants simply need to complete a form, pay with a credit card and wait for the VA certificate of death to arrive in the mail. Applicants can request a copy of a death record here.
Virginia Death Index and Record Searches
Residents can perform a Virginia death certificate search through the Office of Vital Records for deaths that took place between 1853 and 1896 and from June 1912 to present day. Anyone can search for public death records, but only eligible family members may find death certificate documents that are certified. However, full-certified VA death certificates become public after 25 years.