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Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I purchase a birth or death certificate?
Certificates can be purchased at the County of Orange Health Care Agency, Office of Vital Records. 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 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.
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?
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
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 Office of Vital Records Attention: PERMIT ISSUANCE 200 W. Santa Ana Blvd., Suite 100-B
Santa Ana, CA 92701
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.
Making Orange County a safe, healthy, and fulfilling place to live, work, and play, today and for generations to come, by providing outstanding, cost-effective regional public services.
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