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Registering a death

How and where you can register a death.

It is a legal requirement to register a death within five calendar days unless the death has been referred to the coroner.    

You must attend a death registration appointment in person at the office you select for the appointment.

A death can only be registered once the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) has been issued by the doctor or hospital and sent electronically to the Register Office, or in the case of a death reported to the coroner, confirmation from the coroner's office that the relevant paperwork has been issued to the Registration Service. 

Deaths that occurred in Oxfordshire can be registered at any of the registration offices in Oxfordshire, which are located in Abingdon, Banbury, Bicester, Didcot, Henley, Oxford and Witney.  You must make an appointment to register the death prior to attending the registration office.

If you are resident in Oxfordshire and the death occurred in England or Wales, but outside Oxfordshire, you may be able to complete a declaration of the particulars of the death at one of our offices. This declaration will be sent to the registration office in the area in which the death took place. There will therefore be a delay in completing the death registration and in receiving copies of the burial/cremation form and the death certificates.

Who can register the death

A relative should register the death. 

If there is no relative who can register the death, the following people can register it:

  • someone who was present at the death
  • the person who is arranging the funeral is in charge of making and paying for funeral arrangements (this cannot be a funeral director)
  • the occupier of the establishment where the death took place, such as an administrator from the hospital (if the person died in hospital)

The information you will need to give the registrar

About the deceased

  • The date and place of death
  • Their full name and any other names they are known by or have been known by (including the maiden name of a woman who has been married)
  • Their date and place of birth
  • Their occupation, or most recent occupation if they were retired
  • If married, widowed, or a civil partner, the full name and occupation of their spouse or civil partner
  • Their usual address
  • Date of birth of surviving spouse or civil partner
  • Whether they were in receipt of any public sector pension, e.g. civil service, teacher, armed forces (reference number if known).
  • Their NHS number or medical card, if available

About the person registering

  • Your relationship to the deceased
  • Your full name
  • Your usual address

What to bring to the appointment

It can be useful to bring documents belonging to the deceased such as their passport and birth or marriage/civil partnership certificates to cross-check details for the register entry (e.g. place of birth, exact spelling of names and whether a name has an accented character).  If you are not able to access these documents, we can complete the registration without them.  Please do not delay attending an appointment if you are not able to access these documents.

The documents that are issued

After the information has been recorded in the death register, the registrar will issue the following forms and certificates:

  • A certificate for burial or cremation, known as the green form.  With your permission, the registrar will email the form directly to the Funeral Director, unless the coroner has issued an Order for burial or a Certificate for cremation already.
  • Death certificates. You may need death certificates for dealing with the will or, probate and notifying banks accounts, and insurance companies. No death certificates are issued free of charge. The cost for each death certificate is £11. If you would like the certificates to be issued to you at the appointment, please make payment for certificates by debit/credit card in advance when booking the registration appointment.  Alternatively you can order certificates after the appointment and these will usually be posted to you within 15 working days of ordering.

Tell Us Once

The registrar will provide you with a unique reference number which will enable you to access the Tell Us Once service.

You can use the Tell Us Once service to inform multiple local and central government departments of the death in one contact.  You can access the service online or by telephone after the registration appointment (if you are not the next of kin, you can still use the service if you have the permission of the next of kin to act on their behalf).

Ensuring the accuracy of the information recorded

It is vitally important that the information contained in a death registration is accurate, as it is a legal and historical record of the particulars of the death. A hard copy of the register page will be provided at the appointment and the opportunity to check it very carefully before signing will be given. It may be possible to apply to the Registrar General for a correction to a death registration at a later date, but there will be a fee of either £75.00 or £90.00 for the application and evidence of the correct information will be required.

Support with registering a death

If English is not your first language and you would like some support with the death registration appointment, please ask a friend or relative who is fluent in both English and your own language to accompany you to the appointment and act as an interpreter. The interpreter cannot register the death on your behalf; you must attend together. If you have any other additional needs or special circumstances and may need some support to register a death please contact the Customer Service Team on 0345 241 2489 or complete the online enquiry form.

Book an appointment to register a death

The process of booking an appointment to register a death will take you through a series of questions that you will need to answer to book the appointment.    If you wish to apply for death certificates to be issued at the appointment, you will also need a debit or credit card to make payment at the time of booking the appointment.

Alternatively, you can contact us on 0345 241 2489 for assistance to book an appointment.

Deaths outside England and Wales

Where a death occurs abroad, or on a foreign ship or aircraft, you should register the death according to the local regulations of the country where the death took place and get a death certificate. You may also have the option to register the death with the United Kingdom authorities.

Depending upon the circumstances of the death, this may have to be reported to a coroner (or equivalent) in the same way as if the death occurred in England or Wales.

If you require information on a death that occurred abroad, please visit the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) website.


The Oxfordshire Registration Service realises the difficulties you face at this time and we endeavour to provide a sympathetic, helpful and considerate service to you. Our information is intended to offer you help and guidance about some of the things that you need to do from the moment a bereavement occurs, as well as providing details of groups and contacts that may assist you over the next few days and weeks.

If you feel you need more advice, here is a list of organisations that provide guidance during periods of bereavement.