How to Obtain a Texas Death Certificate

by Argyle Anderson

Dealing with a death in the family is never easy. However, obtaining the necessary paperwork--in this case, a death certificate from the state of Texas--is not a complicated process if you have all the necessary information. While the Texas vital statistics unit has records on file dating back to 1903, those of the last 25 years are protected and only available to the immediate family of the deceased. But with the correct identification on hand, you can acquire the certificate online, in person or through the mail.

Requesting a Death Certificate Online

Go to the Texas Department of State Health Services Vital Records Application's website (see References). When prompted, select "death certificate" as the vital record you are requesting.

Compile the necessary information. At the very least you'll need the full name of the deceased, the city or county in which the death took place, and either their date of birth or date of death. If you are requesting a protected record for a death that occurred within the last 25 years, you must provide your own social security number and a state-issued ID in order to prove your relationship to the deceased.

Pay with a valid credit card. The charges for a certified copy of a Texas Death Certificate are $20 for the first copy and $3 for any additional copies. It can take 10 to 15 business days for your application to process.

Requesting a Death Certificate in Person

Visit the Texas Vital Statistics Office between the hours of 8am and 5pm, Monday through Friday: Texas Vital Statistics Office 1100 West 49th Street Austin, TX 78756

Compile the necessary information. At the very least you'll need the full name of the deceased, the city or county in which the death took place, and either their date of birth or date of death. If you are requesting a protected record for a death that occurred within the last 25 years, you must provide your own social security number and a state-issued ID in order to prove your relationship to the deceased.

Pay with cash, check or money order. The charges for a certified copy of a Texas Death Certificate are $20 for the first copy and $3 for any additional copies. Your application can usually be processed in a few hours, although in certain cases it can take several business days.

Requesting a Death Certificate Through the Mail

Download the application from the Texas Department of State Health Services' website (see References).

Compile the necessary information. At the very least you'll need the full name of the deceased, the city or county in which the death took place, and either their date of birth or date of death. If you are requesting a protected record for a death that occurred within the last 25 years, you must provide your own social security number and a state-issued ID in order to prove your relationship to the deceased.

Pay with a check or money order. The charges for a certified copy of a Texas Death Certificate are $20 for the first copy and $3 for any additional copies. There is an additional $5 fee for expedited service, as well as return delivery cost via the overnight delivery provider of your choice.

Mail the application, a copy of your photo ID and a check or money order made out to Vital Statistics Unit to: Texas Vital Records MC 2096 Department of State Health Services 1100 West 49th Street Austin, TX 78756 Your application can take 10 to 15 business days for the expedited service, and six to eight weeks for regular U.S. postal service mail.

Tip

  • For more information, or to check on the progress of your death certificate request, you can call the Texas Department of State Health Services at 512-458-7111.

Warning

  • Please note that if the death has occurred within the past 90 days, there may be a delay in obtaining the death certificate.

Items you will need

  • Valid photo government-issued ID
  • Address within the United States, U.S. territories or on a U.S. military base
  • Correct form of payment

About the Author

Argyle Anderson is a writer and editor residing in Nashville, Tenn. She began writing professionally in 1996, and has written everything from articles on urban mythology to theater reviews, and edited everything from serious literary critiques to volumes of sermons. She studied religion and philosophy at Belmont University.

Photo Credits

  • birth marriage and death image by Warren Millar from Fotolia.com