Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York's law allowing adoptees to receive a certified copy of their original, or pre-adoption, birth certificate when they turn 18-years-old will be in effect beginning January 15, 2020. The new law helps ensure that all adult New York adoptees will have the same right to information about their birth and biological parents.
"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," Governor Cuomo said. "After years of being denied this basic human right, adoptees will finally be able to obtain critical information about their origins, family histories and medical backgrounds."
Starting on January 15, 2020, the New York State Department of Health will be ready to accept 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. If the adoptee is deceased, direct line descendants, such as a child, grandchild or great-grandchild of the adoptee, may request a copy of the adoptee's birth certificate. Also, 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.
Adoptees are encouraged to request their birth certificate by applying online starting January 15, 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, "We are pleased to be implementing this law that will help adoptees access birth records that other New Yorkers have always been able to obtain. We expect a high volume of requests in the first few weeks and urge patience as we work to fulfill them in a timely manner."