Apply for a death certificate
Death certificates are often needed to finalise a person's estate. They are also commonly used to research family histories.
The funeral director usually applies for a death certificate when they register a death.
To apply for a death certificate you need to be:
- a parent or child of the deceased person
- their spouse, de facto or registered partner - evidence is needed if surnames are different
- a legal guardian - evidence is needed for non-parent guardians
- the executor of their estate, an administrator or trustee - evidence is needed
- have power of attorney or written authority to act on the person’s behalf - evidence is needed.
Anyone can access an historical death certificate (more than 30 years old).
You'll need to supply basic information about the person whose certificate you want, and proof of your identity.
What you'll need
You will need to provide basic information about the person, such as their name and the date and place they died. In most cases you'll also need to provide evidence of your eligibility to apply (usually this is defined by your relationship to the deceased person).
Proof of identity
You need to prove your identity unless you are applying for a death certificate that's more than 30 years old.
You'll need to provide one of these combinations of documents:
- TWO documents from list 1
- ONE document from list 1 and ONE document from either list 2 or 3
- ONE document from list 2 and TWO documents from list 3
- THREE documents from list 3.
At least one document must show your name and address and one document must show your signature.
All identification documents must be current (not expired). Where a document from list 3 is provided as evidence of your address, it must have been issued within the last three months.
You can upload scanned or photographed images of your ID documents.
If you are applying online, you must include a document from list 1, or your medicare card, to be verified by the online Document Verification Service (DVS). If you live overseas, you can use your overseas driver’s licence or passport.
|List 1||List 2||List 3|
|Australian passport||Government employee photo ID card||Bank statement|
|Australian driver’s licence||Overseas driver’s licence||Council rates notice|
|Centrelink concession card||Tertiary student ID card||Utility account statement (electricity, gas, water)|
|Overseas passport||Proof of age card|
|Aviation/maritime security ID card||Tenancy or lease agreement|
|Medicare card||Motor vehicle registration papers|
|Australian firearms licence||Telephone or mobile account|
|Security guard or crowd control licence||ATO notice of assessment|
|Australian Electoral Commission enrollment|
|Superannuation fund statement|
|Certified academic university transcript|
|Credit or debit card|
Ways to pay
You can pay for your certificate:
- in person - cash, cheque, money order, credit/debit card
- by post - cheque, money order, credit card
- if you apply online - credit card.
Make cheques payable to Births, Deaths and Marriages.
Occasionally CBS can't find a record to match an application. If this happens, a 'no record' certificate is issued and a search fee of $55.50 for each ten-year period is charged.
Processing times can vary depending on the date of the certificate.
Check estimated processing times on the CBS website to work out how long it will take to get your certificate.
Fast track option
An application can be fast-tracked by paying a priority fee of $42.25.
Priority service processing times for online, posted or regional Service SA applications - processed within 1 business day.
Processing time doesn't include delivery by Australia Post. Visit www.auspost.com.au for delivery information.
Fast tracking is not available for certificates more than 30 years old.