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Death Records

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Death Records

Who is entitled to a death certificate? Top of Page

Death records are not public records. They are only available to those who have a personal or property right interest with the decedent. If you are not a relative of the deceased person, a letter or document from the office or agency that needs the death certificate must accompany the request. An uncertified copy of a death record is available to genealogical researchers if the death occurred at least 20 years prior to the date of the request.

How can I obtain a copy of a death certificate? Top of Page

If you have a personal or property right interest with the decedent, you can obtain a certified copy of the death certificate from the Illinois Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Records or from the county clerk in the county where the death occurred. (List of county vital records websites or county clerk addresses) Death certificates filed prior to 1916 must be obtained from the county clerk's office. An uncertified, genealogical copy of a 20-year-old or older record may be obtained from the Department's Division of Vital Records or from the county clerk where the death record was filed. The fee for a certified copy of the death certificate is $19, while the uncertified, genealogical copy costs $10. When ordering the death record, you will need to provide the following information:

  • the decedent's full name;
  • the date of death;
  • the city and county where the death occurred, if known;
  • the parent(s) name(s);
  • any additional identifying information you may have;
  • your relationship to the decedent*; and
  • the reason for requesting the record**.

*If you are requesting a death certificate as the duly authorized agent or legal representative, you must submit a written document naming you as one of the following: a licensed attorney acting on behalf of a decedent or his/her estate; an agent authorized by power of attorney; a court-appointed personal representative, executor/administrator; or an agent with expressed, notarized authorization.

**If you are requesting a death certificate as someone claiming a legal, personal or property interest, you must submit a written document demonstrating that you have a personal or property interest at stake, such as a will naming you, a letter on a firm's letterhead or a file-stamped copy of a complaint at law.

Death records can be ordered online, by mail, by fax or in person.

What can I use if I don't have a current/valid photo ID? Top of Page

If you do not have a valid photo id, such as a drivers license or state issued photo identification (ID), we need TWO pieces of documentation with your name, one of which must show your current address, to prove your identity. ONE piece of documentation can be a bill or other mail. The OTHER piece of documentation must be one of the following items listed below:

  • Medical/car insurance card
  • Car registration paperwork
  • Credit card statement
  • Bank statement
  • Paycheck stub with imprinted information
  • Public assistance card
  • Voter’s registration card
  • Active duty military ID with issued and expiration dates

Matrícula Consular card issued after October 2006 is acceptable on its own. However, if issued prior to October 2006, we need ONE additional documentation showing current address as noted above. If you do not have any of the items listed above, please submit a copy of a current utility bill (electricity, cellular phone, water, etc) showing your name and your current address.

If your driver’s license is expired and you have an extension sticker on the back, you must submit a copy of both sides.

If you have an expired driver’s license that is no more than six months expired, we need ONE additional documentation showing your name and your current address.

If you are currently incarcerated, you can submit a dated copy of your prison intake/offender summary sheet containing your photo. If you have been released from prison within the last six months, we will accept a copy of the release papers along with the prison photo ID.

If you are writing from a state or federal agency, you can submit a copy of your photo work badge.

If you are writing from a hospital, you can submit a copy of your photo work badge.

SOCIAL SECURITY CARDS ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE.

How much does it cost? Top of Page

The fee for a certified copy of a death certificate is $19. Extra copies of the same record for a certified copy are $4 each if requested at the same time. If no record is found as part of a certified search, a no record statement will be issued. The search fee of $10 is non-refundable. Payment can be made by check or money order payable to the "Illinois Department of Public Health" (Do not send cash) or with a credit card. Please note that there is a $10 handling charge for credit card transactions and an additional $19.50 fee if UPS delivery is selected.

Can I pay with a credit card and is there an additional fee? Top of Page

Yes, you can use a credit card. There is an additional $10 handling charge and a $3 fee for each additional person in a group order. If UPS delivery is selected, an additional $19.50 will be charged.

I need the death certificate in a hurry. How do I get it quickly? Top of Page

If you need fast service, you can order online or by fax. There is an additional $10 handling charge and $19.50 UPS return delivery fee for credit card transactions.

What should I do if I can't download a form? Top of Page

The forms in this website are in PDF format. To view PDF documents, you need a copy of the Adobe Acrobat Reader Software. If after downloading the Adobe Acrobat Reader Software you continue to have problems downloading the form and you do not want to order online, you can request the record by writing to:

Illinois Department of Public Health
Division of Vital Records
925 East Ridgely Ave.
Springfield, IL 62702-2737

The letter must include the following information:

  • the decedent's full name;
  • the date of death;
  • the city and county where the death occurred, if known;
  • the parent(s) name(s);
  • an indication of whether you are requesting a certified copy or an uncertified, genealogical copy;
  • a money order or check made payable to the "Illinois Department of Public Health" for the appropriate fee for the records requested (If you want to pay by credit card, please include your credit card number and expiration date; and a daytime phone number, including area code, should it be necessary to contact you about the request.);
  • your return address;
  • your written signature;
  • your relationship to the decedent*;
  • the reason for requesting the record**;
  • a copy of your valid photo identification card must be submitted. If not provided, unreadable or expired, the request will be returned unprocessed.

*If you are requesting a death certificate as the duly authorized agent or legal representative, you must submit a written document naming you as one of the following: a licensed attorney acting on behalf of a decedent or his/her estate; an agent authorized by power of attorney; a court-appointed personal representative, executor/administrator; or an agent with expressed, notarized authorization.

**If you are requesting a death certificate as someone claiming a legal, personal or property interest, you must submit a written document demonstrating that you have a personal or property interest at stake, such as a will naming you, a letter on a firm's letterhead or a file-stamped copy of a complaint at law.

Can you tell me if or when someone has died without ordering a record? Top of Page

No, a search fee is required in advance of any processing of a request. Persons entitled to a certified copy of the death record will receive a copy as part of the fee. A genealogical researcher wanting information about a person who died 20 or more years prior to the date of the request also is entitled to an uncertified copy as part of the fee paid.

Can you help me find where a relative or friend is buried? Top of Page

Vital Records staff cannot directly research the place of burial; however, this information should be contained in the person's death record which can be ordered. Click here for information related to how to obtain a death certificate.

I didn't get what I wanted. How do I get a refund? Top of Page

Search fees are not refundable. Most refunds result when customers are unable to supply the documentation necessary to complete the request. If you believe you qualify for a refund, you can write to:

Illinois Department of Public Health
Division of Vital Records
925 East Ridgely Ave.
Springfield, IL 62702-2737

I'm doing research. How do I get copies of multiple death certificates? Top of Page

All requests by bonafide researchers seeking confidential vital records data or certificates must be submitted in writing to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Records and approved by the state registrar (the director of Public Health). The request must include a study protocol that contains objectives of the research; rationale for the research, including scientific literature justifying the current proposal; overall study methods, including copies of forms, questionnaires and consent forms used to contact facilities, physicians or study subjects; methods for the processing of data; storage and security measures taken to insure confidentiality of the registrant and parental identifying information; time frame of the study; description of the funding source of the study (e.g., federal contract); and the curriculum vitae of the principal investigator and a list of collaborators. In addition, the research request must specify what identifying information is needed and how the information will be used. Birth certificates or identifying information cannot be released without informed consent of the mother to whom the record relates.

 
925 East Ridgely Ave., Springfield, IL 62702