Record Confidentiality & Restrictions
The release of death certificates is governed by New York State Public Health Law §4174, which protects their confidential nature. New York State is a closed state and death records are not subject to FOIL and available to individuals who are:
- The spouse of the deceased and you were married at the time of death
- The biological sibling of the deceased
- Biological child of the deceased
- Someone with a NY State court order
- The administrator or executor of the estate
- Someone with a documented legal right or claim
- Someone with a documented medical claim
All requests are subject to review of identification and documentation presented at time of service. If you have specific questions, please contact our office.
New York City Death Certificate
Below is the information you’ll need in order to obtain a death certificate in New York City , including qualifications, cost, required information, where to submit your application, and a link to the application you’ll need to fill out.
Note: This information only applies to the five boroughs of New York City . For a death that occurred elsewhere in New York state, .
What Are The Average Processing Times For New York Death Records
The fastest way to order a New York death record is online. These are considered priority orders and come at an extra cost . The current handling and processing time for online orders is between 5 and 10 days, not including shipping times.
Mail or in-person orders can take several weeks. The current processing times depend on the number of orders, and this can vary widely. For an update on your order status, you can check your application with the Vital Records Mail Order Status form.
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New York Death Records Lookup
In New York, the death records are maintained by the Vital Records Division of the New York State Department of Health. The aforementioned Vital Records Division maintains death records of 1881-present. As they are not public records, only the parents, spouse, or children of the deceased can obtain the New York Death Records. In addition to aforementioned relatives of a deceased, New York Death Records can be obtained by people with a court order, documented medical need or a documented legal right. However, the public can obtain non-certified death records dating back at least fifty years.
It is important to keep in mind that the Department of Health does not maintain records of deaths that occurred in New York before 1914. If you want pre-1914 New York Death Records then you?ll have to visit the office of the local registrar. There are three ways for you to obtain death records in New York: by mail, by telephone and online. Following is how you can obtain the New York Death Records through each way.
Learn Where And How To Get A Death Certificate Which You’ll Need To Handle A Deceased Person’s Affairs
By Jennie Lin, Attorney
If you’re handling the affairs of a loved one who passed away, you’ll very likely need copies of the death certificate. When someone dies, the death is registered with the local or state vital records office within a matter of days. You can then request copies of the death certificate from the vital records office. Here are the details.
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New York City Department Of Health And Mental Hygiene: More Recent Birth And Death Certificates
More recent collections of birth and death certificates in New York City are maintained by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene .
After a certain period of time, these records are transferred from DOHMH to the DORIS and stored at the Municipal Archives, where they can be accessed by any member of the public.
Currently, records are transferred to DORIS and made fully public on the following schedule:
- Birth Certificates: 125 years after the event
- Death Certificates: 75 years after the event
Researchers should note that this is a new rule that was passed relatively recently and took effect in 2019if youre interested, read more about our efforts to fight against it, and how we were able to secure an amendment to the rule.
Vital certificates that are still at the Department of Health can be accessed, but not by everyone.
Individuals with one of the following relationships to the subject of the certificate can obtain copies of birth records from DOHMH :
- Spouse/domestic partner
How Do I Obtain New York Death Records By Mail
The first way of obtaining death records in New York is by mail. How can you make a request for and obtain New York Death Records through mail? To make a mail request for New York Death Records, complete and mail the Application for Copy of Death Certificate along with a copy of valid photo ID and 2 utility bills that have your name on them to:
New York State Department of Health Vital Records Certification Unit 800 North Pearl Street Menands, NY 12204
In addition to the aforementioned documents, mail a pay order or cheque for the fee to above-mentioned address. The fee for the record will vary depending on how you want your application to be handled. The fee for priority handling is $45 while the fee for non-priority handling is $30.
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How To Get A Copy Of A Ny Death Certificate
Contact the NY Department of Health and request a copy of a NY death certificate online, by mail or over the phone. You must meet the eligibility requirements and pay a nominal fee for a certified copy
Hello i am look for an relative who died in new york not sure about the year its in the late 60 her name is Armande Alice georgine shury her husband was Doctor Vibart shury there is a pending matter thats need the urgencey of the copy of death her adoptive daughter needs a copy please advise .Thank you.
Thank you for reaching out about our New York death record search. We would be happy to assist you with looking up a NY death records however, we cannot find the New York death record with the information you provide. That being said, if you need a certified copy of a death record, you should reach out to the New York State Department of Health, as they are the NY state run agency that manages and archives death records for the entire state. They can expedite a certified copy of the requested NY death record for an extra fee. Below is additional information on how to procure a copy of a NY death record for your convenience.
Who Prepares The Death Certificate
The funeral home, cremation organization, or other person in charge of the deceased person’s remains will prepare and file the death certificate. Preparing the certificate involves gathering personal information from family members and obtaining the signature of a doctor, medical examiner, or coroner. The process must be completed quicklywithin three to ten days, depending on state law.
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How Do I Obtain New York Death Records By Telephone
Only a few places in the United States allow you to request for death certificates by telephone and New York is one of them. To make a telephone request for New York Death Records, call vitalcheck, an independent company contracted by the New York State Department of Health, at 1-877-854-4481, provide the required information, and pay the relevant fee through credit card. In addition to the application fee, Vitalcheck will charge you $8 processing fee.
Government Issued Vital Certificates
A certified New York Birth Certificate can typically be used for travel, passport, proof of citizenship, social security, driver’s license, school registration, personal identification and other legal purposes.
A certified New York Death Record can typically be used to obtain death benefits, claim insurance proceeds, notify social security and other legal purposes.
A certified New York Divorce Certificate can typically be used as proof of divorce and other legal purposes.
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Heres The Short Version
Were suing New York City for the first-ever public access to the scanned images of ~1.6 million NYC death certificates for New Yorkers who died between 1949-1968, which is 50 to 75 years ago. These records would be open to the public if the deaths had occurred in any other county in New York State outside the city limits.
Were also suing to get the new awful rules restricting public access to historical New York City vital records thrown out by the judge.
How To Get A Death Certificate
A death certificate is a paper that records the official date and location of a person’s death.
The funeral director usually purchases several copies for your use.
In some cases, you might need a “certified” death certificate. A certified death certificate has security features that proves that the document is genuine. Depending on the county the death certificate is from, the death certificate can have a watermark, a raised seal, micro-printing, multi-colored background, heat sensitive ink, etc. A certified death certificate is good for legal purposes such as settling an estate or claiming insurance benefits.
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Have The Funeral Director And Medical Professional Complete The Certificate
Other information, like time and cause of death, and burial instructions have to be provided by a medical professional, like a coroner or certified physician. They will also need to provide their license number on the request form.
Once the death certificate is completed, it’s submitted to the state or county vital records office, which is part of the health department. Local laws will dictate the timeline, but most typically death certificates should be filed within 72 hours of death.
Ignore The Genealogists At Your Peril
When you read our Petition, youll see quotations from many notable people and venerable societies within the genealogical community, who took the time to give testimony and provide public comments to the Department of Health, carefully documenting all the reasons why these new rules were a very bad idea but who were then totally ignored.
In October 2017, sixty-two genealogists even showed up at a Department of Health public meeting to protest the proposal of these new rules. This was more people than had shown up to any New York City Department of Health meeting on any subject in several years! Every person who gave testimony spoke out against the proposal. Not even one member of the general public submitted a comment in favor of the new stricter rules.
Pictured above: some of the sixty-two genealogists, historians, and adoptee rights activists who protested the proposed rule change at the New York City Department of Health public meeting in Long Island City, Queens, in October 2017.
But the Department of Health didnt listen to the thousands of public comments that poured in, unanimously in opposition to their proposed rule change.
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Early New York City Vital Records
Where to look and what methods to use can vary depending on the county or borough you’re looking in, as well as the exact year.
If you’re looking for a birth, marriage, or death certificate from the early 1800s or before, a good place to start is Harry Macy’s detailed New York Knowledge Base guide to New York City vital records.
This guide provides comprehensive information on locating vital records in New Netherland, colonial New York, and in the five boroughs of New York City. His suggested repositories and record sets also include many vital record substitutes for periods and locations when official city copies are unavailable.
Alternative Proofs Of Identification
If the applicant does not have a form of valid photo ID as listed above, two utility or telephone bills dated within the last six months showing applicants name and address must be submitted with the request. Please note, if utility or telephone bills are used to prove identity, the certificate will be mailed to the applicant at the address listed on the submitted bills.
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Introduction To New York Birth Marriage And Death Records
Official birth, marriage, and death recordsalso called vital recordsare crucial family history sources that every researcher should seek.
These deep and rich sources can provide names, relationships, locations, dates of events, and other essential details about your family.
Many states in the U.S. have well-organized and complete collections of vital recordsbut not New York!
For many reasons, finding vital records in New York State can be confusing and challenging. The purpose of this guide is to help clarify:
- Where to look for vital records, which depends on the time and place of the event
- How to find the vital record certificate number
- How to locate or request a copy of the vital record
Where Can We Store Or Scatter Ashes After Cremation In New York
In New York, there are no state laws controlling where you may keep or scatter ashes. Ashes may be stored in a crypt, niche, grave, or container at home. If you wish to scatter ashes, you have many options. Cremation renders ashes harmless, so there is no public health risk involved in scattering ashes. Use common sense and refrain from scattering ashes in places where they would be obvious to others.
Scattering ashes in an established scattering garden. Many cemeteries provide gardens for scattering ashes. If you’re interested, ask the cemetery for more information.
Scattering ashes on private land. You are allowed to scatter ashes on your own private property. If you want to scatter ashes on someone else’s private land, it’s wise to get permission from the landowner.
Scattering ashes on public land. You may wish to check both city and county regulations and zoning rules before scattering ashes on local public land, such as in a city park. However, many people simply proceed without investigating the rules, letting their best judgment be their guide.
Scattering ashes at sea. The federal Clean Water Act requires that cremated remains be scattered at least three nautical miles from land. If the container will not easily decompose, you must dispose of it separately. The EPA does not permit scattering at beaches or in wading pools by the sea. Finally, you must notify the EPA within 30 days of scattering ashes at sea.
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How Do I Obtain New York Death Records Online
Just like the telephone requests, the online requests for the New York Death Records have to be made to New York Vitalcheck. To make an online request for the aforementioned form, visit the website of Vitalcheck, and submit an online request for the record. Once you?ve submitted a request, VitalChek will send you a confirmation email asking you to verify your identity. After you submit the required documents, VitalCheck will take 1 to 2 days to process your application and provide you the death record you want
Another way to obtain death records in New York is online through public databases. To find out more about how you can obtain death records in New York, call Vital Records Division of the New York State Department of Health at 855-322-1022.
What Do You Need To Get A Death Certificate In New York
There are several reasons for needing a death certificate. Death certificates are used to close accounts, handle financial affairs, and keep accurate family records. Regardless of why youre ordering a death certificate in New York state, you need a few things to get started.
Most importantly, you need to prove youre eligible under state laws. Each state has its own privacy laws around death certificates, and New York is a closed record state when it comes to vital documents. Only the following people are eligible to receive a copy of a death certificate in New York state:
- Anyone with a documented lawful right or claim
- Anyone with a documented medical need
- Someone authorized by a New York State Court Order
Unless youre an immediate family member, you need to show a documented lawful right explaining why you need a death certificate. For instance, if you need to access insurance benefits, you need an official letter from the insurance agency demonstrating this need.
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Who Can Order A Death Certificate In New York
In New York, certified copies of a death certificate may be issued only to the following individuals or agencies:
- the deceased person’s spouse, sibling, child, or parent
- the legal representative of one of the people named above
- any person who needs the record to establish a legal right or claim
- any person with a documented medical need
- anyone with a court order, or
- a government agency that needs the record for an approved purpose.
How Are Death Records For New York City Processed
Though its confusing, New York state does not process records for deaths that occurred within one of New York Citys five boroughs . These need to be ordered through the New York City Department of Health.
Like the New York state process, in NYC, you can complete an online application through VitalChek, order by mail, or visit an in-person office. The eligibility requirements are also similar.
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What Documentation Is Needed To Prove Eligibility
When submitting your application, you need to share documentation and identification. This verifies your identity, relationship with the deceased, and indicates that you have a lawful claim to the record. Any of the following will work:
- Drivers license
- State-issued ID card
- Military ID
If you cant provide one of the above photo IDs, you can also show two utility bills or letters from a government agency dated within the last six months. You also need to include an official letter, court order, or authorization document to show your eligibility if youre not an immediate family member.