Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I purchase a birth or death certificate?

Certificates can be purchased at the County of Orange Health Care Agency, Birth and Death Registration office. Birth or death certificates are also available for purchase at the County of Orange Clerk-Recorder’s Office (www.ocrecorder.com) after 30 days of a the birth or death.

How long do I have to wait for the birth or death certificate to be ready for purchase?

We do not verify whether records are registered or ready for purchase over the telephone.  Allow 10 business days after the birth or death event for record registration and availability for purchase. If you come to our office and no record is found, Health and Safety Code (H&SC) 103650 requires our office to retain the fee and issue a Certificate of No Public Record.

What are your hours of operation?

7:30 a.m. – 4:15 p.m.

Monday – Friday, except holidays

We are closed the following legal holidays:

New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Lincoln’s Birthday, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving and the Friday after Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day

What is the price for a certified copy of a birth or death certificate? 

Birth Certificates: $28.00

Death Certificates: $21.00

Who is authorized to purchase a birth or death certificate?

Per California Health and Safety Code 103526, only authorized individuals can purchase a Certified Authorized of a birth or death certificate. Those who are not authorized by law to receive a Certified Authorized copy are entitled to receive a Certified Informational copy which will be marked “Informational, Not a Valid Document to Establish Identity.”

Authorized individuals include:

  • A parent or legal guardian of the registrant.
  • A party entitled to receive a record as a result of a court order, or an attorney or a licensed adoption agency seeking the birth record in order to comply with the requirements of Section 3140 or 7603 of the Family Code.
  • A member of a law enforcement agency or a representative of another governmental agency, as provided by law, who is conducting official business.
  • A child, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse or domestic partner of the registrant.
  • An attorney representing the registrant or the registrant’s estate or any person or agency empowered by statute or appointed by a court to act on behalf of the registrant or the registrant’s estate.

How do I register an Out of Hospital birth?

If you gave birth in a setting other than a hospital, please read the Out of Hospital Birth Pamphlet  and complete the Out of Hospital Birth Checklist.


How do I correct or change a birth or death certificate?

All changes to birth or death certificates are made through the California Department of Public Health Vital Records Section and not at the County level. To learn more about how to correct/amend a birth certificate or death certificate, please read and follow the instructions in the Affidavit to Amend a Birth Certificate Pamphlet  or the Affidavit to Amend a Death Certificate Pamphlet.


How do I change my child’s name on a birth certificate?

All changes to birth certificates are made through the California Department of Public Health Vital Records Section and not at the County level.  To learn more about how to change your child’s name on a birth certificate, please read and follow the instructions in the Amending a Birth Certificate with a Court Ordered Name Change Pamphlet.


How do I add a parent or change a parent on a birth certificate?

All changes to birth certificates are made through the California Department of Public Health Vital Records Section and not at the County level. To learn more about how to add a parent that was not listed on birth certificate, please read and follow the instructions in the Acknowledgement of Paternity/Parentage Pamphlet.

To learn more about how to change or remove a parent listed on a birth certificate, please read and follow the instructions in the Adjudication of Facts of Parentage Pamphlet.

 

How do I correct a gender error on my child’s birth certificate?

All changes to birth certificates are made through the California Department of Public Health Vital Records Section and not at the County level. To learn more about how to correct a gender error on a birth certificate, please read and follow the instructions in the Correcting the Sex Field Pamphlet.


If I am homeless, how can I obtain a fee waiver for a birth certificate?

To learn more about how to obtain a fee waiver for a birth certificate, please read and follow the instructions on the Affidavit of Homeless Status for a Fee Exempt Copy of a Birth Certificate form.


How do I obtain a burial permit?

Burial Permits are required by California law prior to the disposition of human remains such as burial, cremation, or scattering of cremated remains.  Permits may be obtained through any California licensed funeral establishment or by applying in person at our office.

Pursuant to Health and Safety Codes (H&SC) 7501 and 103060, the person having the right to control the disposition may apply for the Permit.  This person is specified in Health and Safety Code (H&SC) 7100 in the order named:

  • Agent under a power of attorney for health care who has the right of disposition
  • Spouse
  • Adult child of the decedent
  • Parent of the decedent
  • Adult sibling of the decedent
  • Adult person in the next degrees of kinship
  • A conservator of the person appointed
  • A conservator of the estate
  • The public administrator

Obtaining a Burial Permit in person:

      1.  Walk-in service is available Monday – Friday, excluding holidays, between 7:30 – 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 – 3:30 p.m.  Plan for a 30 minute wait time for processing.

      2.   The applicant must bring a valid government-issued photo identification.

      3.   Provide a copy of the official death certificate or previously authorized permit.

      4.   The fee for each Permit is $12.00 and is accepted by cash, check, cashier’s check, money order, and credit/debit card.

      5.   The Permit is issued the same day.

 Obtaining a Burial Permit by mail:

      1.   Allow 3 weeks for processing and mail time to receive the Permit.

      2.   Mail the following items

  • Copy of the official death certificate or the previously authorized permit.
  • Legible copy of the applicant’s valid government-issued photo identification
  • Payment in the form of check, cashier’s check, or money order payable to OCHCA in the amount of $12.00 for each Permit needed
  • Stamped, self-addressed envelope
  • Cover letter addressed to PERMIT ISSUANCE.  Indicate the final place of disposition such as the cemetery name and address or the sea scattering location.  Provide your contact phone number or email address.

      3.   Mail all Items to:

            County of Orange Health Care Agency
            Birth and Death Registration
            Attention:  PERMIT ISSUANCE
            1200 North Main Street, Suite 100A
            Santa Ana, CA 92701

Contact us at (714) 480-6700 or by email at DeathRegistration@ochca.com with any Disposition Permit questions.

How do I obtain an Authentication by Apostille or Certification?

The California Secretary of State provides authentication of public official signatures on documents to be used outside of the United States of America. The country of destination determines whether the authentication is an Apostille or Certification. For more information regarding Apostille or Certification, contact the Office of Secretary of State at (213) 897-3062. If you are seeking a Birth Certificate for use in a foreign country, please obtain a certified copy from the Orange County Clerk-Recorder’s Office (www.ocrecorder.com) to avoid the extra fee for authentication. If you obtained a birth certificate at the County of Orange Health Care Agency Birth and Death Registration office, you can still have the document authenticated at the Clerk-Recorder, but an additional fee will apply for this service.