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Virginia Death Records: How to perform a Virginia Death Records Search

Virginia Death Records: How to perform a Virginia Death Records Search
November 16, 2022

Virginia death records are important documents for both government agencies and private citizens in the state. 


These documents provide information about deaths in the state, including details about the decedent, their social security number, their previous place of residence, and the cause and time of the decedent’s death.


The Vital Records Office of the state’s Department of Health maintains death records in Virginia and has been since 1912. 


Individual counties in Virginia also maintain death records. Eligible individuals interested in obtaining death records in Virginia may send an application to either of these departments in person or by mail.


There are specific processes for requesting death records from the Virginia Department of Health, which might be a bit confusing for people without prior experience. We’ve explained it all in this guide.

Death Records Virginia: Is There Online Access?

Officially, the short answer to this question is no. The Vital Records Office of the Virginia Department of Health does not offer an online database for Virginia death record lookups. 


People who want to obtain certified records of death from the DoH must make their application in person or via mail.


Having said that, requesters who are willing to try unofficial alternatives may find them to be reliable, convenient options. 

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Third-party websites are authorized to access death records in Virginia and also display these records to interested individuals on request. 


Users of this service may need to pay certain fees to access the service, although a few third-party websites do offer their services for free.


If using a third-party website is more convenient for you, all you need to search for records is the subject's name and most recent address. 


You can conduct searches for Virginia death records from any location in the US because these third-party websites have no regional limits.

Who Is Eligible To Access Virginia Death Records

Death records in Virginia are protected by a statutory period of confidentiality. This period lasts until 25 years after the death of the record-holder. 


During this period, access to the Virginia death records in question is restricted to the decedent’s immediate family members or their next of kin.


After this period of confidentiality elapses, the death record will become public and accessible to members of the public on request. 


Any individual interested in accessing or obtaining death records in Virginia must show a valid, government-issued ID.

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Obtaining Death Records in Virginia

The Vital Records Office of the state Department of Health is the official repository of death records in Virginia. 


Therefore, parties interested in obtaining Virginia death records must submit an application to the department in person or via mail.


To send a request in person, requesters must download and complete the application for certification of a death record, then attach a valid ID, a document showing their signature, and applicable request fees payable to the “State Health Department”. 


Next, they must submit the package to any Vital Record Walk-in Location closest to them. Some of these walk-in locations require requesters to book appointments beforehand, so you may need to first confirm this before visiting the walk-in location in person.


Requesters may also send mail-in death record requests to the Department of Health. 


Requesters who choose this method must first download, fill out, and sign the application for certification of a death record. 


Next, they must attach a valid ID and payment for the service in the form of a check or money order. Finally, they must mail the application to:


Office of Vital Records
P.O. Box 1000
Richmond, VA 23218-1000

Death Records Virginia: Cost of Access

Requests for Virginia death certificates must be accompanied by a charge of no more than $12 per copy. 


The fee must be paid at the time the application is submitted and is not refundable. 


The payment can be made in the form of a cheque or money order, which must be made out to the "State Health Department" and be signed. Please be aware that returned checks will incur a $50.00 service fee.

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How Long Does the Search Take?

The medium of request directly affects how long it will take for you to receive the requested death record. 


In Virginia, there is no specified delivery time for death records requested by mail, and some deliveries may take as long as eight weeks. 


On the other hand, walk-in requests are usually processed within 24 hours. Obviously, this is the much better option to use if you’re in a bit of a time crunch.

How to Seal Death Records in Virginia

Due to the absence of laws permitting the sealing of death records in Virginia, sealing Virginia death records may be impossible at the moment. 


That being said, the state of Virginia protects death records from public access for 25 years after the death. The record will become public at the expiry of this period of confidentiality.

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