A birth certificate is a legal identification document. This is a mandatory document printed and completed for all births in the United States. Generally speaking, birth certificates in the United States are relatively standard from state to state. Further, the information listed on most birth certificates reflects the details of birth certificates in other countries.

Informational birth certificates are not considered to be official or certified. Such birth certificates are not filed with the state records office. Instead, they are filed and printed by the hospital and are intended to be used for keepsake purposes. As such, they cannot be used for any legal purposes.

Informational birth certificates generally contain the following details:

  • The child’s name;
  • Each parent’s name;
  • The time and date of the child’s birth;
  • The city, county, and state in which the child was born; and
  • The child’s foot and handprints.

A certified copy of a birth certificate contains more details related to the child’s birth and serves as an official birth record. It is issued by the state’s records office and is a legal document that may be used as a form of identification.

This type of birth certificate can also be used to obtain the following forms of identification:

  • Driver’s license;
  • Passport;
  • Social security card; and
  • Marriage license.

The following info must be included for the document to be an authorized birth certificate:

  • The child’s full name, spelled accurately, including first, middle, and last names;
  • The city, country, and state in which the birth happened;
  • The date and time of the birth;
  • The child’s sex as assigned by the physician at birth;
  • Details about the birth, such as if the child was born single or as a twin, etc.;
  • The father’s full name;
  • The father’s birth date, as well as the location of the father’s birth;
  • The mother’s full name, including her maiden name;
  • The mother’s birth date, as well as the location of the mother’s birth; and
  • The city, country, and state of residence where the child’s birth parents live.

Who Keeps Track of Birth Certificates?

Each state has its own Department of Vital Statistics, which holds important records for the state. This includes birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, and divorce records. The National Center for Health Statistics, or “NCHS,” works with individual states to collect birth statistics into the National Vital Statistics System.

This specific project provides information on birth certificates collected through standard forms created by the aforementioned authorities to collect relevant birth data. The NCHS and each state share expenses for providing such data for national use.

Simply put, birth certificates are issued at the state level. Each state is legally bound to report all annual vital statistics data to the federal government. Nevertheless, if a baby is born to American parents while overseas, the U.S. Department of State is accountable for collecting that info.

Can I Change My Gender on a Birth Certificate in New York?

New York has made it easier for transgender people to change their gender on their birth certificates. Under earlier laws, the state of New York required transgender people to provide proof of sex-reassignment surgery to change their name on their birth certificate.

Nevertheless, many transgender people choose not to undergo sex reassignment surgery but still want to change the gender on their birth certificates. New York will issue updated birth certificates once applicants supply a medical affidavit stating they have received clinical treatment.

What Are the Steps to Change Your Gender on a Birth Certificate in New York?

Following a sex change, a person must file many legal changes to reflect their new identity truly. Such changes include getting a new birth certificate. In New York, the state will issue a new birth certificate reflecting the proper sex.

To modify your gender on a birth certificate in New York, there are two options:

  • Application Form: Fill out the Birth Certificate Correction Application Form, which requires:
    1. Name;
    2. Date of Birth;
    3. Parents’ names on the existing birth certificates;
    4. Place of birth;
    5. Type of change requested;
    6. Corrected gender; and
    7. Name change (if applicable).
    8. Certified Copy of Current Birth Certificate or Notarized Affidavit Confirming Age: both documents must confirm that the applicant is 18.
    9. Notarized Affidavit of Gender Error: In addition to the above, they need to submit a document confirming the applicant has been living in their correct gender before submitting their application.

Then, the applicant must submit one of the following:

  • Proof of Sex Reassignment Surgery: a notarized affidavit from either a doctor, a nurse practitioner, or a physician’s assistant confirming that the applicant underwent sex reassignment surgery, OR
  • Proof of Clinical Treatment: a notarized affidavit from a doctor, nurse practitioner, or a physician’s assistant (along with their medical license number) on their letterhead that states the applicant has undergone treatment after being diagnosed with:
    1. Gender Dysphoria; or
    2. Transsexualism

Where Do I File the Paperwork?

Once the forms are completed, all forms must be mailed to:

New York State Department of Health
Director of Vital Records
Personal and Confidential
800 North Pearl St 2nd Floor
Albany, NY 12204

If the applicant is filing while in prison, then they must submit it through the state legal system and will be reviewed by the court. If the applicant is also filing for a name change, they must fill out separate paperwork and petition for a court order to change their name.

It is also essential to check for any fees that you must submit along with your application.

Where Can I Obtain My Birth Certificate? How Can I Obtain My Birth Certificate?

If you need to obtain your birth certificate, there will most likely be an official certificate of your birth on file in the locality in which you were born. Because these are state records, they should be located in your state’s vital statistics office or an equivalent local office. It is essential to mention that costs associated with requesting a copy of your birth certificate can vary widely based on where you were born.

There are many reasons why a person may need to get a copy of their birth certificate. Two of the most common reasons for doing so are if the birth certificate becomes lost or stolen.

It is essential to always have an attainable copy of your birth certificate for the following reasons:

  • Applying for or renewing miscellaneous government-issued identification documents;
  • Applying for social security benefits, especially a social security card;
  • Joining the military;
  • Claiming pension or insurance benefits;
  • Applying for various other memberships, credit cards, etc.; and
  • Registering for school, among others.

The exact method to obtain your birth certificate may differ. Where you were born will determine how you request and receive a copy. Generally speaking, if you were born in the United States, you would need to contact the vital records office in the state in which you were born. From this website, you can find information regarding how to request a copy of your certificate and what fees you will need to pay.

Do I Need Help from a Lawyer?

Since there are many obstacles in obtaining a correcting your birth certificate, an experienced local New York family lawyer can aid you in the process.

Further, a lawyer can make sure all your paperwork is up to par, such that the process will not be delayed. They can also let you know what to do if your application for changing your gender has been rejected and what steps you can take next.