A certified birth certificate is often needed when applying for a passport, Social Security number, driver’s license or school registration, among other legal documents. Getting a certified copy of a birth certificate is easy and inexpensive in New York state. However, New York state and New York City applicants must go through different agencies. In both instances, they must first prove their eligibility.
Where to Order a NY Birth Certificate Copy
A person born in New York state can order a copy of their birth certificate from the New York State Department of Health’s Vital Records Office. It holds birth records for the entire state, with the exception of New York City.
For births that occurred in one of New York City’s five boroughs – Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens the Bronx and Staten Island – as well as New Hyde Park, applicants must order birth certificates from the New York City Department of Health’s Vital Records Office.
Eligibility for Birth Certificate Copies in New York State
To order a birth certificate from New York state, its Vital Records Office requires that the applicant be one of these individuals:
- Person named on the birth certificate.
- Parent of the individual named on the birth certificate.
- Spouse, child or individual with an order from a state court to obtain the birth certificate copy.
The New York City Department of Health has certain requirements for obtaining a copy of a birth certificate. The applicant must be:
- Born in New York City.
- Person listed on the birth certificate or either parent of the person.
- Applicant must be at least 18 years old.
How to File for a Birth Certificate in NY State
Ordering a copy of a birth certificate can be done online by filling out a form at the Vital Records Office Vital Records Office or by printing the application and sending it, with the proper documents and fee, by mail to the New York State Department of Health, Vital Records Certification Unit, P.O. Box 2602, Albany, NY 12220-2602. The Vital Records Office is restricting in-person visits due to COVID.
Applicants must submit identifying documents, such as a driver’s license, state-issued ID card, passport (required if the individual applies from a foreign country requiring a passport), or U.S. military-issued photo ID.
If the applicant does not have any of these documents, they can show proof of their address with documents that show their name and address, such as a phone or utility bill, or a letter from a government agency that was sent to them in the preceding six months.
New York State Birth Certificate Copy Fees
When ordering online, applicants can pay via Master Card, Visa, Discover, American Express or ACH (electronic check.) When paying by mail, applicants can use a personal or certified check or money order made payable to the New York State Department of Health.
Payment from foreign countries must be made through a U.S. bank or with an international money order. The agency does not accept cash and will not mail birth certificate copies to a P.O. box.
New York state fees for birth certificate copies are $45, plus $8 processing fee per transaction online or $30 for mail orders.
New York City ID Document Requirements
New York City ID requirements include a valid photo ID with signature. This can be:
- Driver’s license.
- State-issued ID card.
- Public benefit card.
- Certificate of U.S. naturalization.
- U.S. military-issued photo ID.
- Employee ID card with photo, recent pay stub and verifiable employer.
- MTA reduced-fare Metrocard.
- Student ID with a current transcript from a verifiable and accredited institution.
- Inmate photo ID with release papers.
If the person does not have any of the above, they can show proof of address with documents showing their name and address, such as a phone or utility bill, or a letter from a government agency from the preceding 60 days.
Ordering a Birth Certificate in New York City
Ordering a birth certificate online is the quickest way to get a copy from the New York City Health Department. The department will complete online orders only for those whose names appear on the birth certificate. Online order reviews take about 24 hours on business days, but shipping time depends on delivery.
Copies are sent to applicants via the USPS. For an additional fee, applicants can use USPS express mail, but express mail cannot be delivered to a P.O. box.
Applicants can also order copies of a birth certificate by mail by downloading and printing an application and including a stamped, self-addressed envelope with their identifying documents and fees for delivery to the Office of Vital Records, 125 Worth Street, CN-4, Room 133 New York, NY 10013-4090.
Cost of Obtaining Copies
Copies are $15 each with an $8.30 processing fee per order. When paying online, applicants can use a credit or debit card or enter information from their personal checking account. When paying by mail, applicants must send a personal check or money order made payable to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Processing Times for a NYC Birth Certificate Copy
When ordering copies of NYC birth certificates online through VitalCheck, it can take two to three weeks for processing, and mail delivery can take another two weeks. Mail orders take about four weeks to process, with an additional two weeks for delivery. The Vital Records Office is no longer fulfilling applications in person due to COVID.
- NYC Health: Birth Certificate Application
- NYC Dept of Health: Order Official New York Birth Certificates Online From New York City Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene.
- Vitalcheck: Order Official New York Birth Certificates Online From NY State Vital Records
- NYC Dept of Health: Birth Certificates
- NYS Dept of Health: Birth Certificates
- NYS Dept of Health: Mail-in Application for Copy of Birth Certificate
- If you have the time to wait, send in for the certificate through the mail. It will take longer, but you will save money in the process.
- Make sure you have enough funds in your account and all information is correct. If the state has to return your check, there will be a $12 fee.
Michelle Nati is an associate editor and writer who has reported on legal, criminal and government news for PasadenaNow.com and Complex Media. She holds a B.A. in Communications and English from Niagara University.