Apostille procedure for New York City issued documents is a three-step process:
1. Obtaining the Record
- Birth Certificate: If a person requires official proof of his or her birth in New York City with apostille or certificate of authentication, the applicant must first obtain a copy of the birth certificate with a letter of exemplification from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Vital Records Division (125 Worth Street, New York, New York).
- The Letter of Exemplification will be issued by that Department upon request. Applications may be made in person at the Department’s Office, by mail, or on-line. There are restrictions as to who may submit the applications (the person named in the certificate or parents). Proof of identity is required. Processing of applications by mail takes about 30 days at present. Applications on-line must be paid for by credit or debit card or electronic check. On-line applications are processed within 24 hours. An additional ten business days will be required for long form/vault certificates and letters of exemplification. The charge is $15.00 plus $8.30 for mailing and service.
- Death Certificate: If the apostille/certificate concerns proof of death, copies of death certificates along with the letter of exemplification for persons who died in the five boroughs of New York City can be obtained from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Processing of such applications requires 10 business days.
- Educational Record: Where the record in question is an educational record, such as a transcript reflecting attendance at a college or university in New York, the record must be certified by an official at the educational institution attended attesting that the record is an official record of that institution or a true copy of the original. The official’s signature must be notarized by a notary public. The second step in the process is authentication by the County Clerk of the county in which the notary is qualified.
- Other Documents: Other documents (e.g., power of attorney, affidavits) must be notarized. The signature of the notary must then be authenticated by the County Clerk of the county where the notary is qualified.
2. Authentication by the County Clerk
Documents to be submitted for apostille or certificate of authentication must be authenticated by the County Clerk or a state official.
A birth or death certificate must bear a letter of exemplification. A request for authentication of birth and death certificates must be presented to the New York County Clerk’s. Mail applications must include a stamped, self-addressed envelope for return of the documents by the County Clerk. The County Clerk does not have facilities to return documents by delivery service or postal express mail so the applicant should plan accordingly and submit the proper postage to ensure trouble-free return.
Due to the volume of matters received, the County Clerk of New York County generally requires three weeks to process applications for authentication that are submitted by mail.
If the applicant seeks authentication by the County Clerk of a changed birth certificate, the applicant must submit the document and letter of exemplification to the County Clerk of New York County as described above. If, however, the court order authorizing a change of the name of the applicant was issued by a court other than Supreme Court, Civil Branch, New York County, the papers must be submitted to the County Clerk of the county in which the order was issued.
If the document in question is any other document, the applicant must have the signature of the notary public thereon authenticated by the County Clerk.
The authenticating County Clerk must be the County Clerk of the county in which the notary public is qualified.
Thus, if the notary is qualified in a county other than New York County, the documents should be presented to the County Clerk of that county, not the New York County Clerk.
3. Issuance of Apostille or Certificate of Authentication
The third step in the process is the issuance of the apostille or certificate of authentication by the New York State Department of State. An application form must be completed. The documents in question, properly authenticated, must be attached and a fee paid. Documents may be submitted by mail at:
New York State Department of State
Division of Corporations, State Records and UCC
99 Washington Avenue, 6th Floor
Albany, New York 12231
Documents submitted by mail are usually processed within four business days of receipt of the documents by the relevant office.