Funeral Directors Only

Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS)  

The online Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS) provides the ability for coroners, funeral directors, doctors, and hospitals to submit electronic death certificates for registration 24 hours a day. Visit the EDRS Support page to obtain a user account. When using EDRS to file with Santa Clara County, use resources listed here:

Fetal Death Registration System (FDRS)

The web-based Fetal Death Registration System (FDRS) provides the ability for coroner's, funeral directors, doctors, and hospitals to submit electronic fetal death certificates for registration 24 hours a day. Please call our office for more information.

Completing Death & Fetal Death Certificates

When initiating a death or fetal death certificate, please use/reference the resources listed here:

Correcting or Amending Certificates

The California Department of Public Health - Vital Records has published a variety of informative pamphlets that describe different amendment options in detail—from correcting a minor spelling error to adding a father to the birth certificate. 

Original forms must be used and submitted to the state. Forms can be obtained from our office, a local registrar office in another county, any County Recorder’s office, or ordered online from the California Department of Public Health - Vital Records Forms page.

Burial Permit

If you need to change the location of your loved one's remains, you will need a new burial permit - this is called "refiling." A funeral director can arrange this for you, or you can do it yourself. To refile yourself, please bring these documents to our office during business hours:

  • Original death certificate
  • Copy of most recent burial permit
  • Proof of identity
  • Permission from the Informant (as listed on the Death Certificate)
  • Name and address of where remains will be taken

Death Out of the Country

If death occurs in another country, the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in that country can assist in making arrangements for the return of the body or for its local disposition. In addition to the required documentation, you must also provide English translations of the death certificate and other documents through the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Ordering Certified Copies for your Customers

Physician Guide for Completing the Death Certificate

It is the responsibility of the physician in attendance to complete a Death Certificate within 15 hours of a patient’s death. The Death Certificate must include:

  • Time of death
  • Direct cause of death (immediate cause)
  • Conditions, if any, that gave rise to the cause of death(underlying cause or “due to”)
  • Other medical and health section data required on the certificate (including the existence of cancer, substance or tobacco use, if appropriate)
  • Signature on the certification statement in attesting to the facts listed (first review the certificate)
  • Additionally, the physician must:
  • Deliver the certificate to the attending funeral director or otherwise attest certificate via fax or voice
  • Cooperate with state and local registrars and respond to questions about certificate entries
  • Immediate Cause of Death

The direct cause of death is the disease, abnormality, or injury that directly led to the death. In many instances, the immediate cause of death is also the underlying cause of death (arteriosclerotic heart disease, diabetes mellitus, tuberculosis, carcinoma of the colon, etc.). If the immediate cause of death is trivial, vague, or cannot stand alone, an underlying cause of death is needed. Some terms simply describe the condition of being dead (brain dead, cardiac arrest, cardiorespiratory arrest, pulmonary arrest, etc.). These types of mechanistic terminal events should not be used.

Underlying Cause

The underlying cause of death must have an etiologic or pathologic relationship to the immediate cause of death. It can also be an antecedent condition that prepared the way for the subsequent cause. It must have initiated the lethal chain of events, no matter how long the time interval. The time intervals between causes must be listed in chronological order and must be supported by etiological sequence.

Deaths known or suspected as having been caused in whole or in part by injury or poisoning should be reported to the Medical Examiner-Coroner (MEC) and the death certificate should not be completed by the physician unless the MEC instructs to do so.

If the physician will be unavailable to provide the causes of death and sign the death certificate within the required timeframe, advise the funeral director of the physician who will be filling-in so that the death registration process and burial arrangements are not delayed. 


Vital Records and Registration 
976 Lenzen Avenue, Ste. 1300 
San Jose, 95126 
Phone: 1(408) 885-2010 
Fax: 1(408) 885-4899 

Email: [email protected] 
Hours: Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
Closed Daily from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Closed: Saturday, Sunday, Holidays 

©2024 County of Santa Clara. All rights reserved.