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Spain - Register a Death

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When registering the death it is necessary to take the death certificate issued by the doctor to the town hall. The registration will confirm details such as the time and location of the death. Anyone close to the deceased is able to register the death, although neighbours and friends are able to do this too. It must be a person who has knowledge of the death. There is no charge to register a death and the details given should include the full name of the deceased, the names of the parents of the deceased, marital status, nationality, the birth details of the deceased, confirmation of the last known address of the deceased, details of the death and planned details of the funeral.

Citizens may send applications, letters and communications to any of the following addresses:

  • The General Register of the Ministry of Justice (Citizen Support Center)
  • Any of the Regional Offices of the Ministry of Justice.
  • Any administrative body of the General Central Administration or the Administrations of the Autonomous Communities and the Provincial Administrations that have signed the corresponding agreement.
  • The most convenient municipal office (if it is one of the Town Halls that have signed the corresponding agreement: over 750 Town Halls have done so to date).


Required Documents[edit]

  • Medical death certificate.
  • Photocopy of the National ID (D.N.I.) or passport of the deceased.
  • Official declaration of death by family member form and funeral authorisation.

Registration of the death abroad of a Spanish citizen at the Central Civil Registry Office. The following must be provided:

  • Death certificate issued by a foreign Civil Registry Office.
  • Literal birth certificate of the deceased issued by a Spanish Civil Registry Office.
  • Spanish identification documents, if available.
  • Certification of the interested party's domicile in Spain.
  • Data declaration form.

If a death certificate issued by a foreign Registry Office cannot be provided, a registrar's decision procedure will be necessary.

Office Locations & Contacts[edit]

Civil Registry Offices

Regional Offices



  • In general: by the deceased's nearest relatives (blood relatives up to the fourth degree and by marriage up to the second degree: parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins and brothers- and sisters-in-laws) or, if there are none, by neighbours. Any person with knowledge of the death is considered eligible to process the registration.
  • Special cases: If the death occurs outside of the home of residence, the death registration must be processed by: relatives or the person responsible for the establishment or location where the death occurred.
  • Additionally, the doctor who assisted the deceased during the final illness, or any other who examines the cadaver, must send the death certificate immediately to the Civil Register, which must state, in addition to the name, surnames, profession and license number of the signatory, that there are unmistakable signs of death, indicating the cause and, with as much detail as required for the registration, the date, time and location of death and the identity of the deceased, indicating whether this is known to the signatory or through accreditation and, in this case, the official documents examined or the identity of the person accrediting the data, who must also sign the report. If there are signs of a violent death, the Registrar or Acting Registrar must be notified urgently and specifically.
  • The registration may be processed, in any case, by a judicial decision or order declaring the death. Undertaker agents, representing the family, are normally entrusted with completing this paperwork before the Civil Register.


Explain the fees structure which is required for obtaining the certificate/document.


Explain the time until which the certificate/document is valid.
e.g. Birth Certificate Valid Forever

Documents to Use[edit]

Data declaration form (PDF. 48 KB)


Sample Documents[edit]

Civil Register Act, dated 8 June 1957 (BOE - Official State Gazette - dated 10/07/1957) (PDF. 169 KB)

Articles 273-282 of the Civil Register Regulations, approved by Decree on 14 November 1958 (BOE 11/12/ 58 and errors correction of 21/01/59) (PDF. 257 KB)

Processing Time[edit]

The Civil Register Regulations require the declaration, verification and registration of death to be processed within 24 hours of the death, and prior to the burial. The burial license will not be issued until the registration has been completed.

The death registration is considered legally urgent, so it can be processed on any day or at any time of the year.

Related Videos[edit]

Videos explaining the procedure or to fill the applications. 
Attach videos using the following tag <&video type="website">video ID|width|height<&/video&> from external websites.
Please remove the "&" inside the tags during implementation.
Website = allocine, blip, dailymotion, facebook, gametrailers, googlevideo, html5, metacafe, myspace, revver, 
sevenload, viddler, vimeo, youku, youtube
width = 560, height = 340, Video ID = Can be obtained from the URL of webpage where the video is displayed.
e.g In the following url "" Video ID is "Y0US7oR_t3M". 



  • The registration is processed by virtue of the declaration of the person with knowledge of the death.
  • A medical certificate is required indicating unmistakable signs of death to process the death registration.
  • If the identity of the deceased is unknown, the registration shall be completed with assumed names or nicknames, apparent age and, when the date, time or location of death cannot be determined, indicating the maximum and minimum periods of time during which it could have occurred.

Required Information[edit]

  • Name and surnames of the deceased
  • Names of the parents
  • Marital status
  • Nationality
  • Birth date and location
  • D.N.I. (National identification number)
  • Birth registration data
  • Last known residence
  • Date, time and location of the death
  • Place of burial, if indicated on the declaration of death or the certification from the Authority or civil servant in charge of the cemetery.
  • Indication of the document or documents from which the above date were taken, except when these are known by the individual making the declaration, and reference to other identification data when the required data are unknown, or to the clothes and papers found with the deceased, and even their photograph.


Need for the Document[edit]

Within 24 hours of a death, the certificate of death must be taken to the Civil Registry to formally register the death. The registration includes the date, time and location of the death.

When somebody dies in Spain there are a number of procedures to be followed. The police should be called (if this happens outside a hospital) and either yourself or the police can contact a doctor. The doctor will certify a cause of death and will issue a death certificate. This is usually the doctor that last treated the deceased. If there are suspicious circumstances then an investigation will begin.

This is the means of certifying the death of an individual (date, time and location of the event). The death is legally effective from the moment it occurs, but it requires registration in the Civil Register for full recognition.

Information which might help[edit]

To request registration of the death, it is essential to know which Civil Register is responsible for processing it. The Civil Register in the location where the death occurred is considered responsible, with some exceptions and special rules:

  • If the location is unknown, the death registration is processed at the Register corresponding to the place where the body was found. And if it occurred while travelling, it is the location where the burial took place or, otherwise, the location of first arrival.
  • In the case of shipwreck or air disaster, the corresponding Register is the one in the location where the initial proceedings are carried out, and if no proceedings are carried out by Spanish authorities, responsibility is determined by the site of the accident.

Over and above the rules of responsibility for processing the registrations, in certain cases of death while travelling, the registration may be transferred to the Civil Register of the deceased's home of record, upon request by his or her heirs.

Other uses of the Document/Certificate[edit]

It is only when the registration is complete that a burial license can be issued. The registry office will issue a death certificate (certificado de defuncion) and if a number of copies are needed these can be requested.

There are a number of organizations that will need to be informed of the death. These include the social security department, if the person had been registered with them, the tax office and the embassy of their home country. It may be that the death should also be registered in the home country and the embassy will be able to help with this.

External Links[edit]