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Vital Records Services

Note: All applicants must provide a photocopy or show a valid government, school or employer issued photo identification. Applications without proper identification will be rejected and not processed.

3 Ways to apply for a death certificate

Option 1:
Walk-in: Average processing time is 30-45 minutes
Requirements: Services:
  • State office – Issues death certificates and processes corrections for all years and counties.
    • Office Hours 8:30AM - 4:00PM Tel: (803) 898-3630
    • 2600 Bull St., Columbia, SC 29201
  • Regional offices – Issues death certificates for death certificates since 2005 and initiates corrections for those records.
    • For office hours please contact the regional office.

  • County offices – Issues death certificates since 2005 within that specific county and initiates corrections for those records.
    • For office hours please contact the county office.

Option 2:
Mail: Average processing time is 2-4 weeks (standard), 3-5 business days (expedited)
Requirements: Mailing address:
  • 2600 Bull St., Columbia, SC 29201

Option 3:
Phone and online orders: Orders can be placed with VitalCheK, the only state-authorized vendor of this service through phone and online. An additional $9.50 above standard state fees is applied by VitalChek for their service. Only an immediate family member of the decedent may order through VitalChek
  • Call 1-877-284-1008 (toll-free) or visit 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
  • Average processing time is 5-7 business days.

Who can obtain a certified copy of a death certificate?

You are entitled to obtain a certified copy of a death certificate if you are:

  • an immediate member of the decedent's family
  • a legal representative of one of these
  • others who demonstrate a direct and tangible interest may be issued copies when information is needed to determine a personal or a property right
  • other applicants may be provided a statement that the death occurred, including the date and county of death

What types of death certifications are issued?

Based upon entitlement, the following death certificates are issued:
Death Long contains all items including cause of death;
Death Short contains all items except cause of death; does contain manner of death;
Death Statement contains decedent’s name, county and date of death.

Death certificates become public records after fifty (50) years and then any person may obtain an uncertified copy of the death certificate.

How do I amend or change the information on a death certificate?

The procedures and requirements depend upon the specific information to be changed and whether any previous changes have been made. Specific instructions can only be provided after a review of the death record. The informant on the death certificate must initiate the request for a correction.

The informant may return a certificate issued in the last 12 months and notify us as to the specific change they would like to make. If the informant has not requested a death certificate in the past 12 months, this would be the first step they need to take. Again, the informant must indicate the correction they wish to make. Staff will review the certificate on file and advise as to the procedures.

This process may be initiated by mail or onsite at a county vital records office or the state office.

What information is needed to apply for a death certificate?

  • Full name of the person whose death certificate is being requested
  • Full date of death (month, day, year)
  • County where the person was pronounced dead
  • Signature of the person requesting the death certificate and their current mailing address
  • Relationship between the person named on the death certificate and the person requesting the certified copy
  • The full name and complete mailing address of the person to whom the certificate is to be mailed
  • Area code and daytime telephone number of the person requesting the death certificate

How long will it take to process a death certificate request?

Average processing time is 30-45 minutes
Mail requests:
2-4 weeks (standard), 3-5 business days (expedited)
Phone or online:
5-7 business days

How can I check on the status of a death certificate request?

If you have not received any response to your request within 30 days of submission, you may call 803-898-3630 or e-mail ( for an update.

For additional information, contact Vital Records.