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

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

The Vital Records Office of the West Virginia Department of Health maintains death records dating back to 1917. 


West Virginia death records are available to members of the public on the condition that they are eligible to access the records.


In West Virginia death records, you can often find detailed information about the decedent, including their name and other personal details, and a host of other facts surrounding their death. 


Interested members of the West Virginia public may access and obtain death records in West Virginia in person or by mail. 

How to Access West Virginia Death Records Online:

The Vital Records Office of the West Virginia Department of Health is the agency that maintains and disseminates death records (and other vital records) in the state. 


This agency does not maintain an online database, however, so all official West Virginia death records requests will have to be made in person or by mail.


Third-party websites, on the other hand, are excellent unofficial sources of death records in West Virginia. 

a man's hands typing on a laptop with 3D illustrations hovering above


Death certificates, being public records, are readily accessible to the general public in West Virginia. 


Therefore, these records are accessible to third-party websites and organizations. Third-party websites also make these records open to the public.


In order to perform a search, requesters who choose the ease and convenience of using third-party websites only need to provide the record subject's name and most recent address. 


These third-party websites don't have any regional limits, thus West Virginia death record searches can be done from anywhere in the country.

Who Has Access To West Virginia Death Records?

West Virginia death records may be categorized as public records, but they are not open records. Consequently, only eligible parties may access or obtain them. 


In the eyes of the law, only the following set of people may be considered eligible to obtain a death record in West Virginia:


* The parents or grandparents of the record-owner
* The spouse of the record-owner
* The children or grandchildren of the record-owner
* The siblings of the record-owner
* The funeral director
* Individuals with a legal interest in the record

How to Access West Virginia Death Records

Death records in West Virginia cannot be accessed online, but people who are interested in accessing or obtaining them may do that in person or by mail. 


Interested parties who are unable to submit their application in person or via mail to the West Virginia Office of Vital Registration may alternatively obtain certified copies of the document at the office of the clerk in the county where the death took place.


To request death records in West Virginia from the Vital Registration Office by mail, interested individuals must download, fill out, and sign the application for a copy of the West Virginia death certificate from the official website of the state’s Vital Registration Office. 

piles of files and folders


After completing and signing the form, they must then attach a copy of a valid ID and applicable fees for the application, enclose the package in an envelope, then mail it to:


Vital Registration,
Room 165,
350 Capitol Street,
Charleston, WV 25301-3701


For in-person requests, interested parties may visit the Office of Vital Registration during normal business hours on weekdays at:


West Virginia Vital Registrations Office (Division of Health),
350 Capitol Street, Room 165,
Charleston, WV


Note that this office cannot receive visitors at the moment, due to the ongoing pandemic. So, mail-in requests are strongly encouraged at this time.

How Much Does it Cost to Obtain a West Virginia Death Record?

It costs $12 to look up a death certificate at the West Virginia Vital Registration Office. 


Requesters will also be charged $12 for each additional copy of the death record they order concurrently. 


When making in-person requests, cash payments are only accepted, and checks or money orders must be sent to the West Virginia Vital Registration account. The costs are also nontransferrable for interested parties.

a man pressing a 3D illustration of a search bar


How Long Does a West Virginia Death Records Search Take?

The availability of West Virginia death records depends on the amount of time it takes to process them. 


It is first necessary for a doctor or other authorized person to review these records. Afterward, they are processed at the Vital Records Office of the state.


People who come in person to request death records typically receive them within an hour. For parties ordering death records by mail, it may take as little as five business days or as much as 19 business days. 


When documents are ordered between holidays and weekends, processing and delivery times will be longer.

Are West Virginia Death Records Sealed?

In West Virginia, a record is sealed if it cannot be accessed by the general public. 


There is no law governing the sealing of death records in West Virginia. 


Because they include sensitive data, death records are often sealed. However, a court order may be obtained by authorized individuals in order to view the records.

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