Death Certificates

Death Certificates

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The Health Department issues death certificates for all people who die in one of the 5 boroughs of the City of New York (Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island). The Health Department also fulfills requests to correct death certificates. Requests to order death certificates can take 3-4 weeks to be processed.

Note that there are 2 parts to the death certificate:

  • the standard, certificate of death and
  • the part that includes a confidential medical report of the cause of death.

Either can be ordered – for the same cost – but who can order it and how it can be ordered varies. Most people need just the certificate of death.

 

 

Live operators are available to answer questions on how to get Death Certificates from 9 AM - 4:30 PM, Monday - Friday. Chat with a live operator.

 

Who is Entitled to Each Type of Death Certificate?

WITH confidential medical report:

  • Spouse
  • Domestic Partner
  • Parent
  • Child
  • Sibling
  • Grandparent
  • Grandchild
  • Informant listed on the certificate
  • Person in control of disposition

WITHOUT confidential medical report

  • Spouse
  • Domestic Partner
  • Parent
  • Child
  • Sibling
  • Grandparent
  • Grandchild
  • The legal representative of the estate of the decedent
  • Informant listed on the certificate
  • Person in control of disposition
  • A funeral director within 12 months of the registration of death A party with a property right who demonstrates that information beyond the fact of death is necessary to protect or assert a right of that party
  • A person or government agency who otherwise establishes that the record is necessary or required for a judicial or other proper purpose

If you are not listed as an entitled party in the table above, you must document your right to get a death certificate. See instructions below

If you are an attorney who has been retained by an entitled party, please follow the instructions below.

To Order a Copy of a Death Certificate WITHOUT the Confidential Medical Report:

You can order a copy of a death certificate without the confidential medical report online. The NYC Health Department uses VitalChek, a secure third-party vendor to process internet orders. You will need a personal credit/debit/checking account to order online. Online orders cost $15 for each certificate, plus an $8.30 processing fee for each order.

All Medical Examiner death certificates have the cause of death. If the cause is or manner is “Undetermined” or “Pending further study,” contact the Medical Examiner’s office directly at 212-447-2030.

To order a copy of a death certificate WITH the confidential medical report:

Please check box #20 on the death certificate application (PDF).

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long will it take to process my order?+

Below are the average processing times to complete your order. The average times can take longer during our peak seasons. Our busiest times of the year are February, March, July, and August.

Please note that the times below do not include delivery time, which can take an additional 10 to 15 business days.

Average Processing Times
Service RequestedMethod for Submitting OrderProcessing Times
Certified copy of a New York City birth certificate Internet

www.vitalchek.com

5 business days. Does not include mailing time, which can take an additional 10-15 business days.

Note that requests for the confidential medical report/cause of death will be mailed to you separately, after the death certificate.

Certified copy of a New York City birth and death certificate Mail 15 business days from date of receipt. Does not include mailing time, which can take an additional 10-15 business days.
Correction to a New York City birth certificate Mail and walk-ins 4 weeks from date of receipt. Does not include mailing time, which can take an additional 10-15 business days.

*Please allow an additional ten (10) business days for vault copies of NYC birth and death certificates and any other record that requires searching. Vault copies are generally used for international purposes, including dual citizenship, international adoptions and international marriage.

If you have not received your order after the estimated processing times noted above, including 10-15 business days for mailing, please contact us at:

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I cannot order a death certificate online. How else can I order a death certificate? +

You can order a death certificate by mail or in person.

Please follow the steps below:

  • Download and complete the death certificate application (PDF) by following the instructions on the form. If you are unable to download the application, please call 311 or 212-639-9675 outside New York City to request one.
  • Be sure to include your e-mail address where indicated on the form.
  • Obtain the identification indicated on the form.
  • Calculate the fees on the form. Each certificate costs $15; other charges may apply, depending on how you place your order.

To place your order by mail:

  • Complete, sign and notarize the death certificate application. If you are unable to download the application, please call 311 or 212-639-9675 outside New York City to request one.
  • Be sure to include your e-mail address where indicated.
  • Enclose the identification indicated on the form. See the second page of the form for instructions. Be sure to include a signed photocopy of your unexpired photo identification document.
  • Calculate the fees and enclose your payment (see below).
    • Death certificate fee for mail orders is $15 per copy.
    • Please enclose a money order or personal check made payable in US dollars to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Cash is not accepted.
  • Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope
  • Mail your application package to the address on the top, left-hand side of the application.
  • Note that standard first-class U.S. postal service mail is not tracked.

To place your order in person:

Go to 125 Worth Street in Lower Manhattan. Use the Lafayette Street entrance, which is handicapped accessible, and go to room 144. We are open Monday through Friday 9:00AM- 3:30PM. We are currently undergoing a renovation, and lines are longer than usual. Ordering online is the fastest, most efficient way to get a death certificate. If you prefer to order in-person, lines are shortest in the morning. You should come prepared with identification. See requirements below.

Fees: Please bring a money order or personal check made payable in US dollars to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. You may also pay by credit card, debit card or by electronic fund transfer (EFT) using your checking account and routing number. Cash is not accepted.

The cost for an in-person death certificate order is $15.00 for each copy plus a $2.75 one-time fee for identity verification. For example, if you order 2 copies of a certificate, your total cost is ($15 + $15 + $2.75) $32.75.

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What are the identification requirements to order a death certificate? +

Category 1: Identity documents (photocopies permitted for mail orders) Please submit any one of the following, if it includes your photo, your signature and is unexpired:

  • Driver's license or non-driver's ID from all states and U.S. territories
  • IDNYC – Municipal ID
  • Public benefit card
  • U.S. or foreign passport
  • U.S. employment authorization card
  • Military ID card
  • Employee ID with verifiable employer and recent pay stub
  • MTA reduced fare MetroCard
  • Student ID and transcript from accredited and verifiable institution
  • Inmate photo ID with release papers

Category 2: Proof of address. If you don't have any of the above, you may provide proof of address as described below (no photocopies permitted; when you bring original copies with you, your certificate will be mailed to the address indicated on the documents)

  • 2 different documents as indicated below, dated within the past 60 days, if they show your name and address
    • Utility or telephone bills (online bills can be downloaded from your provider)
    • Letter from a government agency

If you can't provide Category 1 or Category 2 ID, please contact the Office of Vital Records at nycdohvr@health.nyc.gov for further assistance.

I am not considered an entitled party in the table above. Is there any way to get a copy of a death certificate?

Please refer to the table above. If you are not listed in the table, please follow these instructions:

In addition to the identification requirements indicated on the form, you must establish your right to obtain a death certificate by providing any of the original or certified documents below. If you are a party with a property right, you will need to demonstrate that information beyond the fact of death is necessary to protect or assert a right of that party.

The document you provide must include your name, such as:

  • Insurance policy
  • Deed
  • Lease

If you are unable to provide any of the above, please call 311 to ask us for help.

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How can I get or correct a certificate of miscarriage or still birth? +

The Health Department issues two types of certificates to eligible individuals. Applications (PDF) must be submitted in person, by mail or through the funeral director who served you, if within the last 12 months. These certificates cost $15 each and cannot be ordered online. The certificate type depends on information submitted by the hospital or midwife, based on their best clinical estimates of gestational age.

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Certificate of Spontaneous Termination of Pregnancy (Miscarriages) +

This document certifies the death of a fetus that occurred before or during the 20th week of gestation.

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Certificate of Still Birth +

This document certifies the stillbirth of a fetus that occurred after the 20th week of gestation. Certificates of Still Birth can be obtained only by the following:

  • Parent(s) named on the certificate
  • If both parent(s) are deceased at the time of stillbirth, the aunts, uncles and grandparents of the birth parent(s)

Note: If your child was born with some evidence of life such as a heartbeat or voluntary muscle movement, the infant will have both a birth certificate (PDF) and a death certificate (PDF). You must apply separately for these certificates.

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Correcting Miscarriage & Certificates of Still Birth +

Use the birth certificate correction application. There are no fees for these corrections.

  • To submit a still birth certificate correction, you must be a parent named on the certificate or, if both parents are deceased at the time of still birth, an aunt, uncle or grandparent.
  • To submit a miscarriage (spontaneous termination of pregnancy) certificate correction, you must be a parent.
  • Funeral directors may also apply for these corrections.

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Burials at the City Cemetery +

In New York City, if private funeral arrangements are not made, remains of stillborn infants more than 24 weeks gestation are sent for burial to the City cemetery located at Hart Island, Bronx, NY, commonly known as Potter's Field, by the Office of the City Medical Examiner. To get information on visiting your infant’s remains, please call the NYC Department of Correction (DOC) at 718-546-1500 or visit the DOC website, which includes a searchable database of persons buried on the island.

Database Search Tips:

  • For deaths before 2011: use mother's full maiden name
  • For deaths in 2011 and onward: use mother's legal name or infant name

I would like a copy of a death certificate for a person who died outside of New York City. Where can I get more information?

Please consult this link for more information.

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I would like a copy of a death certificate from before 1949. How can I order a death certificate for someone who died in New York City before 1949? +

Please contact the NYC Department of Records Municipal Archives by calling 311 or online.

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I am an attorney retained by an entitled party and I need to order a death certificate for a client. How can I order a death certificate? +

Only entitled parties (defined in the table above) and their attorneys may submit orders for NYC death certificates. This excludes paralegals, couriers and other substitutes. Attorneys should follow these instructions when submitting orders in person or by mail. If you experience any problems when attempting to submit an order in-person, please ask for a supervisor.

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Required for All Certificates +

  • A letter from the attorney on letterhead with the following:
    • A completed death (PDF) certificate application signed by the attorney.
    • An original letter from the entitled party authorizing the attorney to act on his or her behalf.
    • A copy of the entitled party's valid, unexpired, government-issued photo identification.
    • All applicable fees.
      • In person orders: The cost for an in-person death certificate order is $15.00 for each copy plus a $2.75 one-time fee for identity verification. For example, if you order 2 copies of a certificate, your total cost is ($15 + $15 + $2.75) $32.75. Please bring a money order or personal check made payable in US dollars to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. You may also pay by credit card, debit card or by electronic fund transfer (EFT) using your checking account and routing number. Cash is not accepted.
      • Mail orders: The cost for a mail order is $15.00 for each copy. Please enclose a money order or personal check made payable in US dollars to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Cash is not accepted.
    • Proof you are a licensed attorney. This can be printed out from online databases. For example:
  • In the case of process servers and other agents, representation that the attorney represents "X" action involving [mortgage, estate settlement] and employs "Y" to serve as its agent to request the record.

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Death Certificate-Specific Requirements +

For death certificate applications (PDF), the entitled parties are limited to those listed in the table above. Please refer to the table above for the list of entitled parties.

Required Information< +/p>

  • Decedent’s first and last name
  • Date of death

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Helpful Information +

  • Mother’s first and maiden name
  • Father’s first and last name
  • Social Security number

If the information above isn’t available, please provide at least 3 of the items below AND include the entitled party’s e-mail address so that he or she can be contacted for additional information.

  • Decedent’s date of birth
  • Borough of death
  • Last known address
  • Birth location: home birth address, hospital, etc.
  • Birthplace (city, state, country)
  • Name of informant
  • Name of cemetery or crematory
  • Funeral director/address of funeral home
  • Date of burial or cremation

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I ordered a certificate that was not found by the NYC Health Department. What happens next? +

If a certificate isn't found, the Office of Vital Records (OVR) may issue a "Record Not Found" statement and the customer will be charged $15 for the search and refunded the cost of any additional certificates ordered. If the customer returns the "Record Not Found" statement by mail or in person with the additional information requested within 3 months from the issue date, OVR will conduct an additional search at no cost.

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Is there a refund policy for death certificate orders? +

Credit Card Orders:
If the Office of Vital Records (OVR) reviews and cancels a certificate order within 1 business day (usually for reasons related to eligibility), the customer's account is credited for the cost of the order and the shipping charge but not the $8.30 processing fee. The customer receives an e-mail from OVR explaining the cancellation and told how to contact OVR with further inquiries. Once an order has been cancelled, the customer must re-submit it according to the instructions provided.

If the order is accepted and searched, this process can take from 5-7 business days. If the certificate cannot be found, the customer is mailed a "Record Not Found" statement. A refund check, minus the $15 cost of the search, a "Record Not Found" statement and the processing and shipping fees is issued separately. Check refunds take approximately 30 days.

If the customer submits the "Record Not Found" statement with the additional information requested within 3 months of the cancelled order, OVR will do another search at no additional cost.

Please note:

"Record Not Found" statements cannot be used for online orders; they must be returned by mail or in person.

Other Orders:
Refunds do not usually occur for in-person or mail orders because the Office of Vital Records does not cash a person's check or money order unless the order can be filled. However, if a customer overpays, a refund is made for overpayments of $3 or more. All documents are returned with cancelled orders.

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Where can I find more information about registering deaths in the EVERS system? +

Medical facilities and funeral directors pre-authorized by the NYC Health Department can report births, deaths, and terminations of pregnancy with the agency using the Electronic Vital Events Registration System (EVERS). Please use this link to access information about the EVERS system.

The cause of death is pending for a decedent (on the death certificate, in the cause of death section, it says “Pending Further Study”). What can you tell me about certificates with cause of death pending?

The Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) has the responsibility to investigate all deaths of persons in New York City occurring from criminal violence, by accident, by suicide, suddenly when in apparent health, or in any unusual or suspicious manner.

For questions about the status of the Medical Examiner's investigation, please contact the appropriate OCME office. Main number: 212 447-2030.

Those interested in applying for updated copies of a death certificate can submit the previously issued certificate(s) (with the cause of death listed as “Pending”) in lieu of the usual $15 per certificate payment. The $15 fee will be waived if you submit the original certificate indicating that the cause of death was “pending further study” with a new application within 90 days. Because individuals must exchange the original death certificate, orders may only be placed by mail or in person. Please remember that a check or money order for $15 per certificate is not needed only if the original certificates are submitted with the application and they were issued within the past 90 days. Please see issue date on the bottom of the certificate.

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Location / Hours

Office of Vital Records
Bureau of Vital Statistics
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
125 Worth Street
Room 125
New York, NY 10013

Hours (excluding holidays)
Monday – Friday
9 a.m. - 3 p.m.


Contact Us
Type of QuestionHow to Contact Us
Questions about correcting or amending a birth or death certificate, or the status of a correction/amendment application Please call 311 or 212 NEW-YORK (212-639-9675) if you are calling from outside NYC.

You can also email the Corrections and Amendments Unit at correctionsunit2@health.nyc.gov.
Questions about birth certificates for newborns Please call 311 or 212 NEW-YORK (212-639-9675) if you are calling from outside NYC.
Questions about ordering a birth or death certificate or the status of an order Please call 311 or 212-NEW-YORK (212-639-9675) if you are calling from outside NYC.

You can also email the Office of Vital Records Services at nycdohvr@health.nyc.gov.