If you were born in New York City, getting a copy of a birth certificate may not be as simple as reaching out to the New York State Department of Health. What many new to New York or long-time residents may not know is that the health department does not issue birth certificates. Those who live in the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, Kings, or Staten Island may need to visit the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, to file a request. Where you live may make a difference, as new residents may not realize sometimes, Kings, means Brooklyn or that the borough of Staten Island is also called Richmond. However, do not confuse a certified birth certificate with a genealogy copy. These are not the same as birth certificates.

Here are six things you need to know before filing the paperwork to get a birth certificate.

  • A person must be eligible to get a certificate.
  • Only certain forms of photo and non-photo ID will be accepted.
  • An applicant must have two utility bills, telephone bills, or a government letter, (dated in the last six months) showing a person’s name and address.
  • You must have a copy of a passport if you are making the request from a foreign country that requires a U.S. passport for travel.
  • Only by order from a New York Court can a spouse, child or other person obtain a birth certificate for another person. However, if you are getting a certificate for a deceased person, you must do so via mail or in person.
  • If ordering by mail, you must include identification with your application and have the application notarized.

How much does it Cost?

Birth certificates can be ordered by Internet, phone, and by mail. Did you know they are cost between $30 and close to $55, depending on vendor fees? An official birth certificate copy costs $30. However, with priority shipping and handling, the price adds an extra $15 and the cost is closer to $45. If copies of birth certificates are ordered via the Internet or on the telephone, there is an $8 vendor-processing fee in addition to the $30 cost for the certificate itself and a $15 shipping and handling fee. Checks or money orders can be made payable to the Vital Chek to pay for certificates. However, cash payments will not be accepted.

Do you need the certificate quickly? You may be about to have it overnighted through UPS for an additional $15.50 for overnight delivery. If you have mailed in a request to the Vital Records Processing Center, you may be able to have it overnighted. Unless you request a certificate be overnighted and provide a prepaid return mailer to have it overnighted, your certificate may be sent as first class mail.

Order online for faster Service
If you need the certificate quickly, using the Internet is the fastest way to receive your order. Internet and telephone requests for birth certificates are processed within five to 10 days. Mailed requested with priority handling can take two to four weeks to arrive at their destination and certificates requested through regular mail can take 10 to 12 weeks.

If you have questions related to ordering a certificate, you can call 212-639-9675.