The staff of the Clerk-Recorder-Assessor's Office are forbidden by California legal codes to practice law or provide legal advice; this prohibition includes giving advice about what forms you might need or how you should fill them out.
Applications and Forms
- The County Clerk has death records for events occurring in Sonoma County from 1873 to the present.
- We are unable to issue death certificates for deaths that occurred someplace other than Sonoma County
- Fee: $24.00 per copy
- We cannot take payments over the phone
- The County Clerk will receive a death certificate approximately one month after the death. Contact our office to verify the status of the record.
Pursuant to the Governor’s Proclamation of State Emergency, all fees for certified copies of birth, death and marriage records in the state of California are suspended for any individual that lost such records in the fires. Sonoma County will only have records for events that occurred in Sonoma County (someone was born, died or purchased their marriage license in Sonoma County).
Authorized Individuals to Receive Certified Copies
In an attempt to stop the illegal use of vital records, and as part of statewide efforts to reduce identity theft, California law (effective July 1, 2003) changed the way certified copies of birth, death and marriage certificates are issued.
Certified copies to establish identity can be issued only to authorized individuals, as defined in Health and Safety Code103526(c).
All others will be issued Certified Informational Copies that are not valid to establish identity, and contain a legend on the face of the document that states, "Informational, Not a Valid Document to Establish Identity."
In the case of death records, Health and Safety Code defines an authorized person as:
- A parent or legal guardian of the registrant.
- A party entitled to receive the record as a result of a court order, or an attorney or a licensed adoption agency seeking the death record in order to comply with the requirements of § 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. This includes individuals described in paragraphs (1) to (8), inclusive, of subdivision (a) of Section 7100 of the Health and Safety Code.
- Any agent or employee of a funeral establishment who acts within the course and scope of his or her employment and who orders certified copies of a death certificate on behalf of an individual specified in paragraphs (1) to (5), inclusive, of subdivision (a) of § 7100 of the Health and Safety Code.
Order online through VitalChek.com
- For convenience, Sonoma County has partnered with an independent company, VitalChek Network, Inc., through which an order may be processed.
- VitalChek can be reached through its website, www.vitalchek.com or by phone at 1-866-281-1810.
- All major credit cards are accepted, including American Express®, Discover®, MasterCard® and Visa®
- Additional fees are charged by VitalChek for using this service.
Complete form, have notarized and mail with a check
- The sworn statement must be notarized and included with your application.
- If the notarized statement sworn to under penalty of perjury is not included with your application, it will be rejected as incomplete and it will be returned to you without being processed.
- Note: Any member of a law enforcement agency or a representative of a state or local government agency, as provided by law, who orders a copy of a record to which subdivision (a) applies in conducting official business may not be required to provide the notarized statement required by subdivision (a).
Complete in-person form online and come in person during office hours
- Check current office hours