Death Certificate: Format, Importance and MORE

7 minutos de lectura

Despite being a document that is accompanied by a bad moment in life, the death certificate It must be requested and processed at the time of the death of a person. In this way, you will be able to manage all the other processes that come after the death of an individual. Therefore, if you need to obtain this certificate at some point, we hope to help you with the information that you will find in this article.

Next, you will find information about the format of the death certificate in Costa Rica and the importance of said document. In addition, we are going to talk a little about hospital autopsies and the institutions in charge of issuing the certificates. And, on the other hand, if you are a person who takes into account the economic aspects, we are also going to present you the costs that merit processing the death certificate.

We invite you to continue reading and we look forward to helping you with your questions!

Death Certificate Format

Technology has come to change many of our customs and ways of doing activities in our life; in the case of procedures, it has not been different. Currently, there are many procedures and documents that can be obtained and managed virtually.

It is for this reason that the death certificate began to have a virtual format since 2018, due to an initiative arising from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Costa Rica in conjunction with the Supreme Court of Elections (TSE).

As of that year, death certificates have begun to be delivered digitally through the Digital Certification System (SEDIMED), by the doctors in charge of the case.

This digital modality allows information to be always available quickly and efficiently. In this way, statistics on national deaths that occur in both the private and public sectors will always be up-to-date.

How does it work?

First, the people who can access this new system are those doctors who are active and registered in the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Costa Rica. These professionals are the ones who can issue and modify information on a person’s death certificates.

To enter and record the data of the deceased person, the doctor on duty must access the Digital Certification System (SEDIMED) and enter the identity card number of the person; so that the system connects with the Civil Registry of the country and brings the personal data of the deceased.

Once the system presents the data of the person, the doctor must record the date of death and cause of death of the patient, as was done with the physical certificate. Then, the data is sent to the Civil Registry to:

  • Initiate registration procedures on the person.
  • Exclude the person from the electoral roll.
  • Update the public consultation situation of the deceased person,
  • Validate the marital status of the person.

In this way, both people and the medical sector have at their disposal the data of the death certificate of citizens. The processes and procedures are streamlined and you don’t have to be carrying so many physical documents at the same time.

Who can Issue the Death Certificate?

One question that arises on the subject of a death certificate is who can issue said document, to avoid falsifications or mismanagement. Now, the answer to this question is very simple; as few people are authorized to issue this certificate.

According to the laws of Costa Rica, the only people authorized to issue the death certificate are the doctors who are registered and with active profession status at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Costa Rica. Any person who does not meet these requirements cannot issue or modify a death certificate.

Remember these requirements to avoid fraudulent actions!

How to register at the College of Physicians?

Taking advantage of the theme about the death certificate and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Costa Rica, we want to delve a bit about how to do to register in this guild. This in case you are a professional in the medical area and are not very informed about the matter. On the other hand, it also serves as general information on the matter.

Something that you must bear in mind, before starting the registration, is that the requested requirements are numerous and tedious to process. With this in mind, here are the requirements for register with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Costa Rica:

  • You must fill out the Registration form found on the website of the College of Physicians.
  • Cancel the rights established by the Governing Board.
  • Write and present a letter to the Prosecutor’s Office to practice as a doctor and surgeon.
  • Present the certification of the criminal record.
  • Comply with the mandatory social service established by Costa Rican laws.
  • Present the original and copy of the professional title.
  • Having presented and approved the Course on Ethics and Professional Responsibility of the Physician.
  • Have in compliance with the validity of all certificates, which is a maximum of 3 months.
  • Authenticate documents from abroad.
  • Translate the documents, if the case warrants it. (Applies for foreigners or international degrees).

This information could interest you: «Certificate of Criminal Record in Costa Rica»

Importance of the Death Certificate

When a person dies, the death certificate must begin to be processed. That is what is established in these situations, but Why is it so? What is the importance of this document?

Death certificates They allow you to exercise and apply all the respective procedures to be done after death. Now, What procedures are those? Next we will explain the most important ones to do:

  • Manage the preparation of the burial and the funeral of the deceased person.
  • Arrange the procedures and aspects of the pension.
  • Process legal inheritance procedures between relatives, friends or close people.
  • Arrange civil registration procedures and documents in the respective institutions.


To get the death certificate you will have to cancel an amount established by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Costa Rica, to be able to process the document and manage the rest of the procedures to follow, after the death of a relative or acquaintance.

Now, the amount you must pay to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Costa Rica is 68,000 Costa Rican colones; which equals 113 US dollars about.

However, keep in mind that these amounts may vary by decree of the institution that establishes them; So, try to check the information channels of the institution, when you go to request the certificate, to make sure the exact amount to cancel.

What is the Death Certificate?

If you have reached this part of the article and you are not clear about what the death certificate is, you do not have to worry, in the following paragraphs we will try to explain it to you.

To begin with, death certificates are those documents that are delivered after a person has passed away, to verify and certify before the law, that the person has lost his life. In this way, the people close to the deceased will be able to manage the other legal procedures to bury or cremate the deceased.

Now, in Costa Rica this certificate has a digital system to provide information and data to the doctors and registries of the country. In addition, it allows greater accessibility and streamlines all post-death procedures.

On the other hand, in order to access this document you must cancel an amount of 68,000 Costa Rican colones to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Costa Rica, who is the entity in charge of managing and issuing the death certificates of the country’s citizens.

Finally, an extra piece of information about this document, its permanent validity. That is to say, the document never expires; once the certificate is obtained, the record remains forever

Hospital Autopsies

Normally, when a person passes away, autopsies are usually done on the body to determine the cause of death or for medical-legal reasons. In other cases, these autopsies may or may not be mandatory for patients.

Nevertheless, hospital autopsies become mandatory by law, when one of the following occurs:

  • Anthrax.
  • Avitaminosis and hypovitaminosis A.
  • Goiter
  • Cancer.
  • Anger.
  • Dengue.
  • Severe malnutrition
  • Diphtheria.
  • Streptococcal diseases.
  • Hereditary diseases.
  • Yellow fever.
  • Recurrent fever
  • Hepatitis.
  • Nosocomial infections.
  • Influenza.
  • Leprosy.
  • Malaria.
  • Death due to unknown or doubtful cause.
  • Newborn death from any cause.
  • Among other causes.

Finally, you have already verified how the death certificate and the importance of this document for such a sad time as the death of a friend or family member. Therefore, we hope that we have helped you resolve this process in due course.


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