Death certificates

A death certificate is the official copy of information we hold on the register about a person who has died.

New certificate paper

From 2 August 2021, all of our certificates will be printed on new security paper.

Register a death

A funeral director will normally register a death and apply for a death certificate on your behalf. This means you won't have to complete the application yourself.

The funeral director will ask you for some personal information about the person who has died. This includes details about their:

  • birth, death and burial 
  • family members and
  • home address and occupation.

The funeral director will register the death within 7 days of burial or cremation.

Register without a funeral director

If a funeral director is not completing the death registration process for you, you can register a death if you are a next of kin or relative of the deceased.

Contact us to ask for a death registration form.

Who can apply

You can apply for a death certificate if you are:

  1. the next of kin named on the death certificate such as a married partner (wife, husband), de facto, parent or child of the person who has died
  2. the funeral director (if applying within 2 months of the registration of death) 
  3. the executor of the estate of the person who has died or
  4. the solicitor acting for next of kin of the estate.

If you are not named on the death certificate

You can apply for the certificate if you are a relative and:

  • the person who has died has no living next of kin and
  • you can meet our requirements for proof of identity.

If you are not a relative and not on the death certificate you must either:

  • have power of attorney for one of the persons named on the death certificate or
  • provide copies of the following documents:

Applications by solicitors

If you are a solicitor applying for a certificate on behalf of a client you must provide:

  • a letter on company letterhead stating:
    • the name of the client represented
    • the reason, such as probate or estate administration
    • for estate matters, the link between the client represented and the person whose name appears on the required certificate and
    • the relevant provisions of the Succession Act 2006 relating to eligibility.
  • completed application form with your name as the applicant and
  • certified copy of the solicitor's Law Society ID Card or practising certificate and
  • payment with a company or trust cheque or company credit card.

More information for solicitors applying for certificates.

Proof of identity

You must provide a least 3 forms of current identity, one of each from Categories 1, 2 and 3. 

  • If you cannot provide proof of identity from Categories 1 and 2, you must still provide at least 3 forms of identity. At least two of these must be from Category 3.
  • If cannot meet these requirements, please contact us for further advice. 

CategoryIdentification documents

​If born in Australia:

  • An Australian birth certificate

Record of immigration status:

  • Citizenship certificate
  • New Zealand citizenship certificate together with passport

  • New Zealand birth certificate

  • ​Australia's driver's licence
  • Australian passport

  • Firearms licence

  • Foreign passport

  • Proof of age card

  • ​Medicare card
  • Centrelink or Department of Veterans Affairs card

  • Security/Crowd control licence

  • Tertiary education institution ID card

  • ​Recent utility account with current residential address (issued within last 3 months)
Certificate requestStandard servicePriority service

Standard death certificate


Priority service is not available for a recent death, or if the death registration form has been sent to us within the past 15 days

All prices include postage & handling. Add $9 for international post.

How to apply

If the death certificate is for someone who died recently, your funeral director will normally order it for you when they register the death.

If the person died in NSW, you can apply for a death certificate online, by post, or at a Service NSW service centre. Certificates are sent by registered post.

If you are applying online, you must upload copies of your documents.

  • You can supply documents as PDF, JPG or TIF files.
  • Name the files:
    • using only letters and numbers (no spaces, dashes or other characters) and
    • in a way we can understand what you have attached (such as using a person's name in the file name). 

You can also apply for a death certificate by:

Important: Do not laminate your certificates. Identity documents must be kept in their original state to be accepted by Government agencies.

Errors on the certificate

If there are errors on the certificate you must:

  • return the original certificate to us by post
  • provide 3 proof of identity documents and
  • send us the correct information on the correct an entry form.
Extract death certificate

In some cases we will issue an extract death certificate. 

  • The extract is an official certified copy of some information held on the death register. 
  • It can be issued with or without the cause of death. 

  • It may not be accepted by some organisations due to the limited information it contains. 

  • The fees are the same as for the death certificate. Priority processing is not available. 

Processing times

Processing of a death certificate begins when we have received your complete and correct application.

  • Certificates are delivered by registered post. The processing time does not include delivery, please see Australia Post website for current delivery times within Australia or International.
  • When a correction is requested, changes are made to the certificate and to the original registration.
  • Australia Post advises customers to anticipate delays with international post.

Certificate request

Standard service

Priority service

Death within the last 2 months

up to 2 weeks

Not available

Correction to a certificate

up to 3 weeks

Not available

Online application

up to 2 weeks

up to 1 week

Submitted by post

up to 4 weeks

up to 2 weeks

Registry agent (Service NSW)

up to 3 weeks

up to 2 weeks

Related information

End of life

After a death

When someone dies, you need to make big decisions quickly. Our step-by-step guide will help you make the right decisions for you.

Legal help

Need help with a will?

For information about wills, visit the Trustee and Guardian website.

Family and relationships

Research your family history

Trace your family history by searching our records of births, deaths and marriages in NSW dating back to 1856.

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