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Burial Permits

Click Here to Pay Online for a Burial Permit

Beginning September 1, 2021, the online payment processor will begin assessing a small processing fee directly to the payor at the time of payment. This will be in addition to the usual Burial Permit fee. It is not collected by or remitted to the Boston Public Health Commission, but is instead paid directly to the processor.

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COVID-19 Updates
(Effective March 13, 2020)

Effective August 16, 2021, the Burial Permits Office remains open. However, to ensure safety of all during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we request that all business with the Burial Permits Office be conducted remotely, by phone, email, or fax whenever possible. 

COVID-19 Funeral Assistance: FEMA is offering COVID-19-related funeral assistance. For more information, please visit https://www.fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance.
 
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The Burial Permits Office issues the official disposition, removal, or transportation permit for any person who dies within the City of Boston. 


As of November 1, 2014, all Death Certificate and Permit information must be completed online. Paper Death Certificates will not be accepted. Once the record is completed in the Vital Information Partnership site, Funeral Directors, Cremation Services, must pay for the permit, as The Boston Public Health Commission Burial Permit Office is an Opt-out community. Instructions on payment can be found at the link above "Death Certificate and Burial Permits Payment Site". The record is then checked to be accurate and complete by the staff, if corrections are needed or the appropriate e-certifications and attestations are not within the record, the record will be returned to the Funeral Director or Cremation Service through the on-line system with the information contained in the comments field on what may be missing in the record. The Funeral Home or Cremation Service will be called.   

Burial Permits are issued to record the final disposition of a deceased’s remains. Burial Permits are issued for the burial, cremation, or transportation of a person’s remains. Final disposition may be within the state of Massachusetts, USA, or any other place throughout the world. Permits are also issued for the exhumation and re-interment of any person’s remains within the City of Boston, to another location, in or out of the city, or out of the country.

EXHUMATION, DISINTERMENT, OR REINTERMENT PERMITS
The following documents are required for processing a Burial Permit for exhumation, disinterment, or reinterment of remains.

1. Certified Copy of Death
2. Letter from the Funeral Director that includes the following information:

  • The decedent's name
  • Date of demise
  • Funeral home name and address
  • Funeral director name and license number
  • Means of disposition (i.e., burial, cremation)
  • What crematory/cemetery
  • Date of final disposition

FETAL OR STILLBORN PERMITS 
The following documents are required for processing a Burial Permit for fetal/stillborn remains.

1. Fetal death certificate
2. Letter from the hospital that includes the following information:

  • The patient name(s)
  • Approximate weeks of gestation
  • Date of demise
  • Name(s) of parents
  • Address of parent(s)
  • Funeral home name and address
  • Funeral director name and license number
  • Means of disposition (i.e., burial, cremation)
  • What crematory/cemetery
  • Date of final disposition

REMOVAL OF REMAINS OUT OF THE COUNTRY
Please speak to the Burial Permits Office regarding removal out of the country. 

FETAL DEATH CERTIFICATE
Here is a PDF/fillable copy of the Fetal Death Certificate, as well as instructions for completing a fetal death certificate.  

BURIAL PERMIT RELEASE
Burial Permits are released after they have been reviewed and are satisfactorily completed. They can be printed at your facility.  

BURIAL PERMIT ENDORSEMENT
All Burial Permits must be returned to the Burial Permits Office following disposition, with proper endorsed by the superintendent, cemetery, or crematory. These can be faxed to the Burial Permits Office at 857-288-7682 (fax).

BURIAL PERMIT FEES
The fee for the permit is $31.00 paid through the on-line payment site. Instructions are written at the top of this page. This office cannot accept cash. Prepaid vouchers can be purchased at the Burial Permit Office. To purchase prepaid vouchers, please contact the Burial Permits Office.

LOCATION AND PARKING
If you need to visit the Burial Permits Office, it is located at 860 Harrison Avenue, 2nd Floor. Your parking can be validated only for the 35 Northampton Street Garage. Do not park in the CVS parking lot, as your vehicle will be towed.

DEATH CERTIFICATES
The City of Boston Registry of Death issues a registration number to the death certificate through the online system. Once the record has been released to the Funeral Director or Cremation Service, the record will then be released to the Registry of Death Office at Boston City Hall. The record is also released to the Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics. 

You may only obtain a certified copy of death at Boston City Hall. The BPHC Burial Permits Office cannot provide certified copies of death and cannot release any information concerning any person's death certificate. For a certified copy of a death certificate, contact the Registry of Death Office at Boston City Hall (Room 213) at 617-635-4175 (phone), 617-635-3775 (fax), or by email at registry@boston.gov. For more information, please visit their site.

PENDING DEATH CERTIFICATES
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is also using the online system. For pending death certificates, the informant on the death certificate can check on the status of that certificate at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner at 617-267-6767 (phone) or 800-962-7877 (toll-free). 

GENEALOGICAL RESEARCH & VITAL RECORDS AND STATISTICS
The Burial Permits Office cannot provide any information for genealogical research. Please contact the Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics at 617-740-2600 (phone). For more information on their policies and hours of operation, please visit their site.

Key Links and Documents:
City of Boston Registry
Department of Vital Records and Statistics
Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
Veterans New OnLine Resource​ for Funeral Directors

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Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02118.
Phone:(617) 534-5395 Email: info@bphc.org