Registering a death

How and where you can register a death.

It is a legal requirement to register a death within five days (this includes weekends and bank holidays). This period can be extended in exceptional circumstances and if the coroner is involved.

A death can only be registered once you have the Medical Cause of Death Certificate from the doctor, 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 us.

If there is an inquest, or the death has to be referred to the coroner, the coroner's officer or registrar will advise you.

Book an appointment

If the death occurs in Oxfordshire

If the death occurred in Oxfordshire, it can be registered in any one of the registration offices in the county.

Book appointment to register a death

Alternatively, you can contact us.

If the death occurs in an Oxford hospital

If the death occurred at one of the Oxford hospitals, the bereavement officers may be able to book an appointment for you to register the death at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

Registration by declaration

(If you live outside Oxfordshire or if the death occurred outside Oxfordshire)

If it is not convenient for you to register the death in Oxfordshire, as you live some distance away, you may prefer to make a declaration of the death at your local registration office in another district. Staff from your local registration office will be able to offer you advice on the procedure for this.

If the death occurred outside Oxfordshire and it is inconvenient for you to go to the district where the death took place, you may prefer to make a declaration of the death in Oxfordshire. For more information you can contact us.

As explained below, registration by declaration does result in a delay in the issue of the document needed for the funeral arrangements.

How registration by declaration works

The registrar will record the details in the form of a declaration and send it by post to the registrar for the district where the death occurred. The registrar will advise you how payment can be made for any certificates. When the registrar in the district where the death occurred receives the declaration they will enter the information in the death register and then issue any certificates of the death, as well as the document for the burial or cremation. These will be then be posted to you or the funeral director, as per your instructions.

If you choose to register by declaration, you should be aware that it will take extra time for the declaration to be posted, received, registered and certificates and documents for burial or cremation posted back to you.  The funeral cannot take place until the document for burial or cremation has been received.   We recommend the family should discuss the arrangements with their funeral director. 

Deaths that happen abroad

If you require information on deaths that happen abroad, please visit the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) website.

Who can register the death

  • a relative of the deceased
  • someone who was present at the death
  • the person who is arranging the funeral
  • the occupier of the establishment where the death took place.

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 (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

All information is given to the best of your knowledge.

Please be aware that if a mistake is made in the death entry there will be a fee to pay to have the information corrected.

How long the appointment will last

The meeting with the Registrar will take approximately 30 minutes.

The certificates that are issued

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

  • A certificate for burial or cremation, known as the green form, which the funeral director will need (in some cases, the coroner will issue this form)
  • Death certificates. You may need certified copies of the death entry for other purposes (dealing with the will, probate, bank accounts, insurance and so on). You may order as many copies as you require on the day and can also order additional copies at a later date.
  • A certificate for the Benefits Agency

When someone has died, just Tell Us Once

We can help you tell the people who need to know.

This service means that you can tell us once when registering the death, and then we will tell a number of central and local government departments for you.

This free, optional service will be offered to you at the end of the death registration appointment. If you choose to use the service, it should take ten minutes to complete with the registrar (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).

What to bring

To make sure the right information is given to the people we contact for you, it would help if you can bring along the following information about the person who has died:

  • their national insurance number
  • their driving licence, if they had one and Vehicle Registration Number(s) for ANY vehicle owned by the deceased
  • their passport, if they had one
  • their blue badge, if they had one
  • their concessionary bus pass, if they had one
  • if the person was married or in a civil partnership at the time of their death, their husband/wife/civil partner’s NI number and date of birth.

If you choose not to take up Tell Us Once at the end of the death registration appointment you can use the service within 28 days of your appointment by contacting the Department for Work and Pensions on their website quoting the reference number given to you by the Registrar.