City, town and village > Register > How To Register a Death and Get a Copy of a Death Certificate


How to order a copy of a British death certificate

When a loved one passes away, you have to deal with a lot of administrative procedures; registering their death and getting their death certificate are two of the most important ones. Are you unsure about what you should do next? Let us help you get through these tough times. We'll tell you what you need to know to declare a death and obtain a certified copy of a death record fast and easily in the UK.

How to get a British death certificate


To register a death, you must have the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death given to you by the doctor who declared it. With this document, you can make an appointment with the local registry office. They will then issue the death certificate.

Once you register the death, you will receive a 'certificate for a burial' or 'an application for cremation,' which you'll need to submit either to the funeral director or the crematorium right away.

Documentation You Need to Submit

Only the 'Medical Certificate of Cause of Death' is essential to register a death. However, if you have any of the following documents concerning the deceased, it may be useful to bring them with you to the appointment:

Who can register a death?

The registration of a death is usually carried out by a close relative of the deceased. However, if no relative is available, only specific people can register a death. This may be a person:

  • • Who was present at the time of the person's death.
  • • Who lives in the house where the person died.
  • • Who is organising the funeral, but is not a funeral director.


Death registration is free of charge. However, there is a charge for certified copies of a death record. We'll explain more about these rates in the next section.

Register a death


A Death Certificate is a legal document issued by a medical practitioner, either at home or at the hospital. It includes information about:

  • • The deceased person: name and surname, sex, age, birth details, and occupation at the moment of death.
  • • The death: death cause and time and place of death.
  • • The informant: personal details and domicile.
  • • Other information: date when the death was registered and signature of the registrar.

You will have five days to register a death, or eight days if you live in Scotland.

Who can request a copy?

Ayone can request a certified copy of a death record, as it is designed as a "public record". This means that you can apply for someone's death certificate even if the person is not related to you.

What do you need a death certificate for?

You’ll need a death certificate for numerous administrative procedures, such as:

  • • To claim a pension, insurance, or other government economic aids like Bereavement Support Payment and Guardian's Allowance.
  • • To deliver to the executor or administrator of the deceased's will for the transfer of property and goods.
  • • To close bank accounts and cancel credit/debit cards.
  • • To prove your civil status in case you wish to remarry.
  • • You can also request a death certificate for a genealogy study.

How can you apply for a copy?

You will first need to register on the General Register Office (GRO) website. Then, you simply need to follow the instructions provided there, submit the requested data, and pay for the corresponding charges. The whole request process takes only about 10 minutes and is done 100% online. If you need help to search a death certificate, you can contact the GRO by email at, by using the following online form, or by post to the following address:

  • General Register Office
  • PO Box 2
  • Southport
  • PR8 2JD

There is also an available telephone line on 0300 123 1837, and a textphone number 18001 0300 123 1837 too. Opening hours are Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm, and Saturdays from 9am to 4pm.

Cost and processing times

The price per copy can vary between £8 and £12 depending on your location. It is possible to pay the fee using either a debit or a credit card. Please ask your local register office for further information.

Certified copies generally take around 4 days after application to reach their destination. However, if you don't have a GRO index reference number, the processing time can be extended to up to 15 working days and will cost an extra £3 per search.

Please note: You can apply for priority service in case you wish to get your certificate sooner. This service is available for an additional fee of £35, and if ordered before 4pm, it allows for the certificate to received the next working day.

Now you know

Registering a death and requesting a death certificate in the UK is a simply procedure that can be done online fast and easily. Although the registration is free of charge, you'll need to pay between £8 and £12 to receive the death certificate.

How to get a British death certificate