Birth and death certificates are maintained and issued by the California Department of Public Health. Short term records
are kept by the local registrar for 2 years after a birth or death event. The county recorder keeps a full archive of all
events that occured with their jurisdiction.
Processing times for certified copies of records through the CDPH are quite extensive. Birth & death records from 1905 to 1969
take approximately 7 weeks of processing time, newer records around 3 weeks. Certified copies of certificates cost $18 dollars
and $14 dollars for birth and death records respectively. Fetal death certificates and still birth certificates cost $11 and $20
dollars. Records are available either by mail or by visiting a local county office.
California Department of Public Health
Vital Records - MS 5103
1501 Capitol Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95814
• Birth Certificate Application (PDF)
• Death Certificate Application (PDF)
Marriage records are issued from the county recorder in the county where the license was issued, not where the ceremony is
held. While divorce decrees are handled by the Superior Court in the county where the decree was granted. The Department of
Public Health doesn't not collect sexual orientation as part of their marriage or divorce data. Court records through the
CDPH take an extremely long time to process, estimated at 6 months.
• Marriage or Divorce Record Application
Below is the directory for local registrars and recorders in California. Since processing time is usually much faster at
the local offices, we recommend using this as your primary source.
• County Registrars & Recorders
Adoptions in the state of California are considered confidential information. All original birth certificates are sealed when a new
certificate is is prepared. A written acknowledgement of paternity form must be completed to retrieve sealed records for adopted
• Acknowledgement of Paternity/Parentage (PDF)