NYS New Adoptee Birth Certificate Law Goes Into Effect


Allows adult adoptees and their direct descendants access to original birth records.

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Adoptees who wish to obtain a copy of their original birth certificates now are able to do so once they turn 18-years-old. The law also extends to the adoptees direct line descendants, like a child, grandchild or great-grandchild. A lawful representative of an adoptee or a lawful representative of a deceased adopted person's direct line descendant may also apply for an original birth certificate.


Governor Andrew Cuomo called the ability to get this information a “basic human right” giving adoptees critical information about their origins, family histories and medical backgrounds.


"Every person has the right to know where they come from, and this new law grants all New Yorkers the same unrestricted rights to their original birth records," Cuomo said in a statement. 


Starting on January 15th, the New York State Department of Health started accepting requests from adoptees 18-years-old and older born in New York State, outside of New York City, who want to receive their birth certificate, allowing them to access information about their birth and biological parents.


A statement from the governor’s office encouraged people to request their birth certificates by applying online, as this is the most efficient way to apply and will result in faster issuance of the birth certificate. Paper applications will also be accepted by mail and in person. All certificates will be issued via regular mail; no certificates will be issued in person or via email.


The Department of Health has birth records for all of New York State except New York City. Adoptees born in New York City must apply through the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.


New York State Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard Zucker said that they expect a high volume of requests in the first few weeks.


For more information, visit this link on the NYS Department of Health website.