You must register a death with the General Register Office within five days in England, Wales and Northern Ireland or eight days in Scotland. At the appointment, you will receive a GRO index reference number. You can use this to order however many certificates you need, either in person, online or by post.


Registering a Death

To register a death in England and Wales, you must visit the Register Office closest to the place the person has died. In Northern Ireland and Scotland, you can go to any Register Office.

You will need ID for yourself and the deceased. You should also gather documents confirming their key personal information. These might include:

It’s best to check what documents and information you need with the individual registry office.

An appointment to register a death is free but you need to pay for each copy of the certificate.

At the appointment, you should receive a GRO index reference number. Make a note of this in case you require further copies of the death certificate in the future and share it with anyone involved in managing the estate.


How Do I Get a Copy of a Death Certificate (UK)?

When someone requests a death certificate, you need to present them with an original copy issued by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages

You can request any number of death certificates when you register a death. Later on, you can order further copies in the following ways:

  1. Online: Visit the GOV.UK website and register for an account. You can then order your certificate directly. 
  2. By Post: Download an application form from GOV.UK or request one by phone from the General Register Office (GRO). Fill out the form and mail it in.
  3. In Person: Visit the Register Office where the death was registered.

If you do not know the GRO index reference number, you will need to pay £3 for the search.

An infographic outlines the process for how to get a death certificate in the UK, as described in this blog post.

How Much Does a Death Certificate Cost?

When you order a death certificate online, the cost is £11 per certificate for the standard service (subject to change). Your order will be sent within four working days.

The priority service currently costs £35 per certificate. The GRO will send your certificates the next working day when ordered by 16:00.

We recommend ordering three or more death certificates to ensure a streamlined estate planning process and easily facilitate burial or cremation arrangements.


How Long Does It Take to Get a Death Certificate?

Online orders typically arrive within a week. If you opt for the priority service, the certificate(s) should be with you in 2-3 days. Processing times for postal applications can take longer.


An official copy of a death certificate (UK).

When You Need to Get Your Death Certificate Apostilled

If the death occurred in one country but the document needs to be recognised as valid in another, you may need an apostille. This is a standardised form of authentication that verifies the document for international use.

Here are some common scenarios where you might need to legalise a death certificate:

  • The deceased owned property or assets in another country.
  • The deceased had insurance policies in another country.
  • You need to terminate pensions or benefits the deceased was receiving from another country.
  • There are legal matters that involve the deceased in another country, such as a financial dispute.

It’s essential to check the specific requirements of the recipient. Depending on the country where you intend to use the death certificate, the document may require consular legalisation.


How to Get Your Death Certificate Apostilled

A notary public like can obtain an apostille from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

We will need to receive an original death certificate. With our Premium Service, your document will be ready the next working day at 15:00 if received before 10:30 or the third day at 15:00 if received after 10:30. The Standard Service takes 4 working days.

Typically, a death certificate does not need to be notarised before it is apostilled, but you should check the requirements with the recipient.  If notarisation is required, we will only be able to notarise the original death certificate and not a photocopy. 


We’re Here to Help!

Simply message us below or call 020 7630 1777 to arrange legalisation for a death certificate. We understand this can be a sensitive matter and endeavour to make the process as quick and painless as possible.