How to Order a Death Certificate in Alaska: Step-By-Step

Updated

There are a number of reasons you might need to order a death certificate for a loved one. Whether you’re handling their accounts after death or doing research into your family history, there are endless reasons why you may need a death certificate.

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That being said, the process for how to get a death certificate varies by state. Each state has its own laws stating who can access records about the deceased, and its own process for making that request. It’s essential to understand the state’s specific requirements before you begin the process of searching for a death certificate. 

If you’re ordering a death certificate in Alaska, the process is relatively straightforward. While there are strict privacy laws in Alaska around vital records, it’s easy to follow the necessary steps if you’re eligible. To begin your death certificate search in Alaska, use the steps below. 

What Do You Need to Get a Death Certificate in Alaska?

Unlike other states, Alaska is not open-access when it comes to its vital records. A vital record is any official certificate of birth, death, or marriage. To receive a death certificate for any purpose for a death that occurred in Alaska, you need to be eligible. 

Who is eligible for a copy of a death certificate in Alaska?

  • The spouse or partner of the decedent (with proof of marriage)
  • The parent of the decedent (only if the child was born in Alaska)
  • An adult child of the decedent
  • An adult sibling of the decedent
  • The legal guardian (with guardianship papers)
  • A representative from the Office of Public Advocacy with certified papers
  • A legal representative or attorney with official documentation. 

If any of the above apply to you, you’re legally eligible to apply for a death certificate in Alaska. That said, you’ll need to provide the proper proof of identification to submit your request. 

Accepted forms of ID are any federal identification document like a driver’s license, passport, military ID, or tribal card. In addition, you’ll need to provide copies of legal documents confirming your relationship with the deceased or showing court authorization to act on their behalf. 

If you have any further questions about these forms of identification, contact the Alaska Vital Records Offices at (907) 465-3391.

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Steps for Ordering a Death Certificate in Alaska

Whether you wish to send a notification of death letter to the credit bureaus or close someone’s account, there are several ways to request a death certificate in Alaska. You can go in person to an office in Anchorage or Juneau, or submit a request by mail, fax, or online. 

Follow the step-by-step instructions below to get started, keeping in mind the eligibility requirements explained above. Pay close attention to each step to ensure you don’t run into any problems that slow down the search. 

Step 1. Choose your method

The first thing to do is to choose how you wish to complete your request. There are a few options in the state of Alaska:

  • Online: The easiest way to complete an application is online through VitalChek. This is the only third-party service approved by the State of Alaska for vital record requests. 
  • By mail or fax: If you wish to mail or fax your request, you need to download the Alaska Death Certificate Request form and submit it to the appropriate address or fax number. 
  • In person: Lastly, you can visit one of the two Alaska Vital Record Offices—in Juneau or Anchorage—for walk-in service. For this method, it’s a good idea to complete the Death Certificate Request Form in advance to save time. 

Which option is best? It depends on your goals. They all use the same system to search for vital records. An online application is the most convenient, although there’s an additional fee through VitalChek. The fastest method is to walk into the Vital Records Office in person. 

Step 2. Enter the search information

To start, enter the information needed to locate the record. The more information you have, the better. If you don’t have all of the information needed, complete a request by mail or fax, or visit an office in person for more assistance. You cannot submit an online request without all of the requested information. 

To locate the death record, you’ll need to provide the full name of the deceased, the date of death, the date of birth, the location of death, the full name of the deceased’s mother before marriage, and the full name of the deceased’s father. The more information you have, the faster your request can be completed. 

Step 3. Enter your contact information

Next, enter information about yourself as the requester. This is not only to verify your eligibility but to ensure your records get to you quickly. You’ll need to enter your name, number, email, and address. Also, you must indicate the purpose for your request (government benefits, legal purposes, and so on). 

Lastly, enter your relationship to the deceased. There’s a box to check if you’re a legal representative or if you’re related to the deceased. Finally, sign your signature electronically or by hand. 

Step 4. Choose your number of copies and select payment

You’ll also need to indicate the number of copies you’re requesting. The first copy costs $30, and each additional copy is $25. If you wish your order to be expedited, you’ll pay another flat fee of $11. You also need to pay for shipping if you choose anything other than Express Mail. Priority Mail starts at $9. 

If you order online through VitalChek, you’ll pay an additional fee of $10. If you plan to order multiple death records, it’s more affordable to purchase them at once to avoid extra fees later on. Online orders can only be paid with a credit card. If you pay by mail or fax, include credit card information or make your check or money order payable to Alaska Vital Records Offices.

Step 5. Upload or include copies of your documents and ID

Before you submit, make sure to include any copies of your documents and IDs that are needed to verify eligibility. This can be any ID that isn’t expired and includes a signature, like a driver’s license, state ID, passport, military ID, or tribal card. 

You also need to verify your relationship with the deceased. This can be done with copies of your birth certificate, marriage certificate, court documents, and so on. 

Step 6. Mail or submit your request

Finally, it’s time to submit your request. If done online, you can submit through VitalChek directly, or you can email a copy of the Death Certificate Request Form to hss.vr.apps@alaska.gov

To mail your form, send your requests to this address:

P.O.Box 110675
Juneau, AK 99811-0675

Note that any expedited requests need to be sent by mail. If you wish to fax your record request, send it to (907) 465-3618. Try to call the offices 10 minutes after sending your fax to confirm its receipt. From there, wait for your order to be processed. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Death Certificates in Alaska

Whether you’re notifying the IRS of a death or closing a bank account, you’re likely to run into some questions when ordering a death certificate. Here are some frequently asked questions specific to the state of Alaska. 

How much do death certificates cost in Alaska?

Death certificates in Alaska are more expensive than in other states. The cost of the first record is $30, and each additional record copy is $25. You will also need to pay additional shipping costs if you choose anything other than regular mail. This is because shipping is more expensive in Alaska. 

It’s important to note that the fees above are non-refundable. Regardless of whether or not your record is found, payments are final once you place the order.

Are death records public in Alaska?

Death records are not considered public records in Alaska. Though some states only keep some information (such as the cause of death) under closed records, Alaska has strict privacy laws. 

However, these privacy laws only last for 50 years. Any deaths older than 50 years old are public records. This means you can access them through state archives for any purpose without any eligibility requirements. 

How long does it typically take to receive a death certificate?

The amount of time your order takes depends on how it’s received. Currently, any requests sent by mail are processed within four weeks of receipt. Faxed or in-person requests submitted with credit card payments are completed within two to three weeks of receipt. The same is true for online requests. 

It’s also important to calculate shipping times into the overall processing times. If you need any records quickly, it may be best to pay for expedited service for a fee of $11. Otherwise, expect to wait up to a month for your order to be processed. 

The fastest way to get service is to visit one of the Alaska Vital Record Offices in person. If you complete the form correctly, your request might be processed the same day. Otherwise, it takes up to 48 hours to complete. Regardless, visiting in person is the fastest way to complete your request if you live near one of the two offices, in Anchorage or Juneau. Make sure to check the current office hours before scheduling your visit. 

Order Death Certificates Easily in Alaska

The state of Alaska makes it simple to request a death record in the way that works best for you. From online to mail-in orders, there are a few different options to suit every specific type of request. Additionally, Alaska has straightforward guidelines about who is eligible for these confidential records under state privacy laws. 

If you’re seeking a death certificate for someone in your life, you’re taking on a challenging yet essential task. Though the administrative steps after someone’s death aren’t much fun, they’re a vital part of someone’s legacy. 


Sources:
  1. “Alaska Death Certificate REquest Form Instructions.” Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Alaska.Gov
  2. “Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).” Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Alaska.gov
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