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All deaths should be registered, by law, within five days, unless the Coroner is probing the death, and no later than 12 months. If a death is not registered within 12 months, the permission of the Registrar General is needed to conduct a Late Registration of Death.

The registration process is dependent upon the type of death. Deaths are classified as natural, sudden, or violent.

– Natural – where the deceased was under the care of a medical doctor in the three months prior and where the cause of death is not under any reasonable doubt by the medical doctor.
– Sudden – where the deceased was not under the care of a medical doctor in the final three months of death and/or whose cause of death is under suspicion of foul play.
– Violent – deaths that occur under violent circumstances, such as homicides and suicides.

Registering Natural Deaths
For natural deaths that occurred outside of a hospital, the Police must be notified by a relative or other person present at the time of death, or by the person responsible for the burial or cremation. The Police will then investigate to determine the circumstances of the death. If it is determined that no foul-play was involved, the Police will instruct the family to obtain a Medical Certificate of the Cause of Death (MCCD) from the Medical Doctor of the deceased.
For natural deaths that occurred in a hospital or other medical facility, the person responsible for the burial or cremation must obtain a signed MCCD from the attending physician.
1. Once the signed MCCD is issued, the person responsible for the burial or cremation, should present it to the Local District Registrar (LDR) of the Registrar General’s Department (RGD).
2. The person registering the death should provide the name of the deceased, his or her age at last birthday, occupation, address, parish of birth, and birth certificate or other identification.
3. A fee of $200 (for registrations done before 12 months following the death) or $300 (for registrations after 12 months) should be paid to the Registrar.
4. A Burial Order will be issued, permitting burial or cremation. The Burial Order should be signed by a Minister of Religion or the person performing the burial rites in order for the death certificate to be obtained from the RGD afterwards.

Registering Sudden or Violent Deaths
Before a sudden or violent death is registered, a relative or other person present at the time of death, or the person responsible for the burial or cremation must inform the Police and arrange a post mortem examination or autopsy by a medical examiner. The Police will then issue the post mortem report or refer the matter to the Coroner’s Court if there is need for further investigation. The Police may also issue a Burial Order.
Once all examinations are concluded, a Certificate of Coroner (Form D) will be issued to the person responsible for the burial or cremation; or a Certificate of Finding of Jury (Form E) will be issued to the RGD.
1. The person responsible for the burial or cremation, should present the completed post mortem report, and Form D, or Form E to the Local District Registrar of the RGD.
2. Repeat steps 2 – 4 above.

Obtaining the Certificate
To obtain the death certificate, the responsible person should take the Burial Order to the RGD, and pay a fee of $1,500. Certificates are prepared within four to six weeks and may be collected at the RGD Regional office indicated by the registering party.

For additional information, contact:
Registrar General’s Department
Twickenham Park
St. Catherine
Tel: 876-749-0550, 876-619-1260
Email: information@rgd.gov.jm
Website: http://www.rgd.gov.jm