How to Obtain a Death Certificate in Arizona: Step-By-Step


There are a lot of reasons you might need to seek out a death certificate for a family member. Whether you’re handling a loved one’s affairs after they pass or you’re researching family history, it’s not always easy to learn how to get a death certificate.

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In the state of Arizona, there are multiple ways to get a death certificate for a loved one. However, you have to follow the proper steps and have the right authorization in order to obtain a death certificate legally in Arizona. How do you start your death certificate search?

No matter why you’re searching for a death certificate, we outline the different step-by-step processes below. These steps to obtain a death certificate are specific to Arizona through the Bureau of Vital Records.

Who Can Get a Death Certificate in Arizona?

First, you need to make sure you’re qualified to get a death certificate in Arizona. This state has strong privacy laws, and that means you’ll need to have a specific relationship with the deceased to access this confidential information. 

To begin, you need to be 18 years of age or older to request a certified copy of a death certificate. Next, because Arizona is a “closed record” state, vital records are not considered public information. Who can legally get a death certificate in Arizona?

  • Funeral directors: Funeral directors are eligible to receive a certified copy of an individual’s death certificate within 12 months of the death. 
  • Spouse: The deceased’s spouse can also receive a death certificate as long as they can prove they were legally married (death certificate, same last name, etc).
  • Parent or grandparents: Parents and grandparents are eligible if they can prove their relationship to the deceased. 
  • Adult children or grandchildren: Adult children or grandchildren are eligible with a valid birth certificate proving the relationship. 
  • Designated person: Lastly, any person designated as power of attorney, beneficiary, or authorized by the court may request a death certificate in Arizona. 

If any of the above applies to you, proceed with the steps below to get a certified death certificate in Arizona. Keep in mind that you will likely need to prove any of the above situations are true with supporting documents or identification.

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How to Get a Death Certificate Online in Arizona

Arizona is one of the states that makes it easy to order a death certificate online. Though you can also apply for a certified copy in-person or by mail, going through the online portal is the simplest process. Though there is an additional convenience fee, it is fast, secure, and easy with the steps below. 

Step 1. Gather the required information

Before you begin the process online, it’s a good idea to gather all the required information. This ensures the process runs as smoothly as possible. You need all of the following information to begin:

  • Full name of the deceased
  • Name of the county where the death certificate was issued
  • Date of death
  • Reason for your request (insurance, benefits, family history, etc)
  • Your name, address, and contact information

What happens if you don’t know one of the key points of the information above? Because these are required fields, you should wait until you have everything available before you continue. Otherwise, visit a vital records office in person for more support.

Step 2. Go to the VitalChek website

A few states use the VitalChek service online to handle death certificate requests. VitalChek is an independent company that makes it possible to search online records quickly and securely. Though they do charge an additional fee to use their portal, this might be worth it for the added convenience. 

It’s important to note that VitalChek is the only approved internet ordering service for vital records in Arizona. When you’re ready to begin your application for a death certificate request, visit the VitalChek Arizona website

Step 3. Choose your state

Once you’re on the VitalChek website, click “Order Now” to begin. You can also learn more about the VitalChek process by exploring their website, FAQs, and more. When you click “Order Now,” you’ll be taken to the online ordering portal.

The first section is related to the deceased. Select the state where their death certificate was issued, then click “Continue.” Next, enter the city where the death occurred. 

Step 4. Decide how many records you’re accessing

Depending on the county you chose in the previous step, you might be allowed to order multiple records at once. You’ll be prompted whether you’re ordering copies of certificates for multiple people or events. Select yes or no based on your wishes. 

You can order other vital records through VitalChek. You might also order a copy of someone’s birth certificate, for example.

Step 5. Enter the death date

Next, enter the date of death. When you’re ready, click “Continue.” Now it’s time to choose the reason for requesting this certified copy of the death certificate. There are multiple options to choose from depending on your specific situation. 

There is no right or wrong answer to this question, but it might affect who has access to the death certificate. Regardless of your choice, you still need to be qualified according to the relationships and court designations above. 

Step 6. Choose your delivery method

Through the Arizona Vital Records Office, you have two different types of shipping methods. You can opt for either UPS delivery or regular mail delivery. While UPS delivery will be faster (processed in 3 to 5 business days), it includes an added shipping fee of $18.50.

Otherwise, if you’re not in a rush to receive your documents, regular mail delivery is free. Regular mail delivery has a processing time of between 7 and 10 business days. When you click “continue,” you’ll be asked to confirm your relationship to the deceased or your eligibility for requesting this document.

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Step 7. Choose your number of copies

Your next step is to choose your number of copies. Each death certificate copy in Arizona is $20, and there is a VitalChek flat fee of $12.95 per order. If you need an additional copy (or copies), it will be $20 per copy. Note that this fee is before any additional shipping costs. 

Step 8. Enter names and contact information

Once you confirm your number of copies, it’s time to enter your names and contact information. Start with your full name, relationship to the deceased, and date of birth. When you click “Continue,” you’ll be prompted to enter the full name of the deceased as well as the gender on their death certificate. 

Lastly, you’ll need to enter your home address and shipping address. The specific shipping requirements vary depending on the shipping method you chose previously. 

Step 9. Pay for your order

Finally, enter your payment information. When using VitalChek, you need to pay via credit card, personal check, or business check. A personal or business check requires further verification. If you choose to use a credit card, VitalChek accepts MasterCard, Visa, and Discover. 

Once you’ve submitted your information, your next step is to wait for your order to be processed. This takes anywhere from 3 days to 10 days depending on current processing times. 

How to Get a Copy of a Death Certificate In-Person in Arizona

There are many reasons why you may need a death certificate, and you can choose to get one by mail or in-person. This is ideal if you’re missing any personal information or need additional help. 

Step 1. Complete a records request

To get a copy of the death certificate in Arizona, you need to complete a formal records request. This is a simple application that resembles the VitalChek form above. 

The vital records request is accessible online, and you can easily mail your finished copy or bring it to an office in person. When completing your form, be sure to fill in as much information as you have, including the place of death, social security number, and your personal information. 

Step 2. Include documentation

In addition to a completed application, you also need to include documentation proving your relationship to the deceased. These can be copies of birth certificates, certified court documents, IDs, etc. Finally, be sure to sign your application and ensure it’s complete and accurate. 

If no government-issued photo ID is available, you can also have your document notarized in the appropriate section. For additional help, contact your local vital records office. 

Step 3. Prepare payment information

If you plan to visit an office in person, you can pay via cash, money order, check, credit card, or debit card. If you mail your application and documents to a records office, include either a check, money order, or your credit card information. 

» MORE: Everyone's wishes are different. Here's how to honor your unique loved one.

Step 4. Mail your application or visit in-person

Lastly, mail your application to the appropriate office. You’ll need to mail it specifically to the county records office. To find the full addresses, look at the second page of the records application. 

If you plan to visit in person, you will need to make an appointment in advance. Most offices do not permit same-day walk-in service. Again, to find contact information for each office, check the second page of the request application. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Arizona Death Certificates

Ordering a death certificate is often tricky and confusing, especially if you’ve never done this process before. These FAQs shine some light on how this works and what you can expect. 

How long does it take to get a death certificate?

If you order a death certificate online, you can expect a processing time between 3 and 10 business days before shipping. If you choose to apply for a certificate in-person or online, the wait time depends on the specific records office, but it typically takes a few weeks. 

What do you need to get a death certificate in Arizona?

In order to get a death certificate in Arizona, you need to be eligible based on the state requirements outlined above. You’ll need to provide proof of your relationship or court authorization with court-approved documents, records, or identification. Additionally, you’ll need key information about the deceased. 

Who usually requires a death certificate?

There are a lot of reasons to request multiple death certificates. From sending a notification of death letter to the credit bureaus to benefits or notifying the IRS of death, you’ll need a certified copy of the death certificate. This is a necessary part of handling someone’s affairs after death. 

Requesting a Death Record in Arizona

Because Arizona is a closed record state, there are a lot of things to know about this process. Aside from ensuring you meet the eligibility requirements, you’ll also need to be up-to-date in the latest process for ordering online, by mail, or in person. 

There are so many reasons to have copies of your loved one’s death certificate, whether you’re handling their legal affairs, accessing benefits, or organizing your family’s history. This is one of the most important steps in protecting someone’s legacy, so follow these simple steps above to start the process yourself. 

If you're an Arizona resident and ready to start preparing your own end-of-life planning documents, Cake has Advance Care Planning forms you can download. To help ease your planning, we have all the documents you need in one place.

  1. “Who Can Obtain a Death Certificate?” Arizona Department of Health Services: Vital Records.

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