In this article, we will provide information on the Iraqi Death Certificate and the Proof of Death, including the difference between the two documents, how to obtain them and why they are important.
These documents are regulated under the Births and Deaths Registration Law No. 148 of 1971.
Death Certificate vs Proof of Death – what is the difference?
A Death Certificate and Proof of Death can both be used as evidence of the death of an individual. However, the documents are different for two reasons:
- A Proof of Death is only required when it is not possible to obtain a Death Certificate.
- There are different procedures in obtaining the two documents.
Why is it important to have a Death Certificate or Proof of Death?
These documents are important to provide legal proof of the death of a person, as well as the cause of death and can allow the family of the deceased to access rights, entitlements, or services, including:
- Life insurance
- Custody of children
- Arrange a funeral!
What is a Death Certificate?
A death certificate is an official document issued by an accredited official body declaring the death of a person. It details the cause, location, and time of death as well as other personal information about the deceased. It’s important to mention that the death certificate is issued by the hospital in case of natural death, and by the investigation court in case of unnatural death (such as murder or suspicion of felony) after stating the causes of death through forensic medicine.
What are the requirements for obtaining a death certificate in Iraq?
Death Certificates are issued by the hospital or accredited health center automatically upon a person’s death. Immediate family members do not have to apply for a Death Certificate but should be given an official copy of it.
The process and time period involved in issuing a Death Certificate:
- The death certificate is to be filled out by the competent employee in the hospital or health center once the person is pronounced dead. Attached to the certificate will be:
- A medical report from a medical authority confirming the death,
- The national ID card of deceased It is usually issued on the same day by the hospital.
- The hospital will submit the certificate to the Office of Births and Deaths within ten days to be processed.
- An immediate family members of the deceased is provided with a copy of the death certificate (the pink copy) and the original one (the white copy) will be sent by official mail to the Civil Status Directorate of the deceased within a period of time ranging between 2-5 months.
- The death will then be officially registered in the government database by the Civil Status Department.
There are no fees charged for the application and issuance of a death certificate.
A copy of the death certificate application form:
A copy of the death certificate form that is currently used:
What is a Proof of Death?
A Proof of Death is a statement that verifies the death of a person when a Death Certificate cannot be obtained on the date of a person’s death. It may not be possible to obtain a death certificate for a number of reasons, including:
- There is no access to a hospital or health clinic at the time of death.
- The person is a victim of enforced disappearance or is missing as a result of conflict or for other reasons.
The process and time period involved in obtaining a Proof of Death:
- The heir (the living person who is responsible for obtaining the legacy and property of the deceased, such as parents or children or brothers) of the deceased submits a Proof of Death request form at the local Civil Status Court .
- After filling the form with the help of the staff at the Civil Status Court, the form should be reviewed and approved by the Qaem Maqam of the city, to confirm that the death took place in the mentioned city.
- Then the form should be attached with a Support letter from the Civil Status Department and the Births and Deaths Registration Office to ensure that the deceased has no previous registration in the Death civil registry file.
- Then the approved form should be reviewed by the police station and submitted to the specialized investigation court to confirm the circumstances of the death.
- All the previous documents should be supported by the testimony of two witnesses before the Investigation Court, testifying to the cause and details of the death.
- Once the Proof of Death is issued, a copy is sent by the official mail (currently is advised to be taken by the civilian because of Covid-19 restrictions) to the Health Department, so that the death can be registered.
- It is then sent by the Health Department to the Deaths and Births Office in the city of the family residence.
- Then a death record copy is sent from the Deaths Office to the Civil Status Directorate by official mail for the purpose of officially registering the death in the civil registry of the deceased.
What are the fees and the period required for issuing the death certificate?
The legal fee for issuing a Proof of Death is 5000 Iraqi dinars and 3000 dinars as a stamp fee. It is usually issued within two to four weeks if the documents submitted by the heirs of the deceased are complete.
A copy of the request for a death proofing:
A copy of the death proofing:
Information to include on the Proof of Death request form:
- The name and gender of the deceased.
- The name of father and his grandfather.
- The name of the mother and her grandfather.
- Date of birth and death
- The place of death.
- The sheet number, the registry, and the name of the governorate.
- Cause of the death.
- Address of the deceased.