When you need to obtain a death certificate you may have suffered the loss of a loved one. We try to make the process of obtaining and notarising a death certificate as painless as possible.

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  1. What is a Death Certificate?
  2. How Was the Death Certificate Issued?
  3. When a Death Certificate Should be Notarised and Apostilled
  4. Process to Notarise or Apostille a Death Certificate
  5. Process to Notarise or Apostille a Death Certificate

What is a Death Certificate?

A Death Certificate is a legal document issued by a government agency, in the UK this is done by the local Registrar of Birth Deaths and Marriages (RBDM). Generally, the closest RBDM is responsible for supplying the death certificate of an individual that has passed in the surrounding area.

Also note, that depending on the location, the name of the RBDM will vary slightly. For example, in Scotland, it is called the Registrar General for Scotland and in Northern Ireland, it’s called the General Register Office for Northern Ireland.

The Death Certificate should include the following information concerning the deceased:

  • Full name
  • Gender
  • Date of birth
  • Date of death
  • Place of death
  • Next of kin
  • Cause of death
  • Signature of the attending physician or medical examiner that pronounced the individual dead

The full name of the person who registered the death

How Was the Death Certificate Issued?

If you are tasked with reporting the death (usually the next of kin) you will need to collect a death certificate once the death has been successfully reported. Registering or reporting a death includes (but may be limited to) the following steps:

  1. The death must be reported to a doctor. If the death occurred in a hospital, the doctor in charge of the patient’s care will usually register the death. If the death occurred outside of a hospital, the death must be reported to a doctor so that they can issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD), which is required to register the death.
  2. The death must be registered with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the district where the person died. This is typically done by a family member, a relative or someone present at the death.
  3. The registrar will issue a certificate for burial or cremation, which is required for the funeral to take place.
  4. The person registering the death will need to provide the following information to the registrar: the date and place of death, the full name, gender, date and place of birth of the deceased person, occupation, and if married, the date of birth and occupation of the surviving spouse or civil partner.
  5. After the funeral, the registrar will issue one or more certified copies of the death certificate. These can be used for legal and financial purposes.
  6. You can apply for a certificate either in person, by post or online.
  7. Depending on the location and the mode of application, you may need to provide personal details of the deceased and other required documents like ID proof.
  8. A fee is payable when applying for a death certificate.

It’s worth noting that the process and specifics may vary depending on the location. It would be wise to contact your local Register office for more information and to verify if there are any specific requirements in your area to obtain a death certificate.

When a Death Certificate Should be Notarised and Apostilled

A Death Certificate does not require notarisation in the UK if the death in question is that of a UK citizen that passed away in the UK.

However, if you need to use a Death Certificate for legal or financial purposes outside of the UK, it may need to be notarised. Notarisation is the process of certifying a document by a Notary Public, an official who is authorised by the government to witness the signing of documents and to certify the identity of the person signing the document.

However, as UK Death Certificates are issued by the government they often do not need to be notarised to be used abroad.  They will need to be apostilled by the FCDO however.

To apostille the Death Certificate the original certificate or a certified copy of the certificate issued by the General Register Office must be submitted to the Legalisation Office of the FCDO.  The FCDO will reject photocopies of the Death Certificate.


The Death Certificate may also need to be Translated to ensure it is accepted and understood by those in the foreign country it is required.

Process to Notarise or Apostille a Death Certificate

To notarise or apostille a death certificate in the UK, you will need to:

  1. Take the original death certificate to a Notary Public.
  2. Provide identification, such as a passport or driving license, and a proof of address, to prove your identity to the Notary Public.
  3. If you need the Death Certificate notarised, the notary will notarise the original death certificate by confirming its authenticity.
  4. If you don’t need it notarised, but need it apostilled, the notary will submit the original Death Certificate to the FCDO to be apostilled.
  5. Please note that if you have a non-UK death certificate, we can notarise a copy of the original, and submit the notarised copy to the FCDO to be apostilled.


In addition to getting the Death Certificate notarised and apostilled there may be additional steps such as getting it legalised by the Embassy of the country where it will be used.  This requirement varies according to country.

Please check with the authorities of the country where the certificate will be used to be sure of the specific requirements.

Process to Notarise or Apostille a Death Certificate

We provide same-day services for the apostilling of documents for your convenience. If you require more information, albeit just to set your mind at ease while navigating the deceased final wishes, contact us with any questions or concerns.

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