Last updated April 2017
To update birth certificates issued in New York State but outside of the five boroughs of New York City, you will first need a certified copy of your current birth certificate or a notarized affidavit confirming that you are 18 years of age or older. You will also need a completed Application for Correction of Birth (Form DOH-297).
To change your name on the birth certificate, you must include a certified copy of the legal name change order.
To change your gender marker, you must complete a Notarized Affidavit of Gender Error. You must also include a notarized affidavit on professional letterhead from a physician (M.D. or D.O.), nurse practitioner, or physician assistant licensed in the United States that has treated or reviewed and evaluated your gender-related medical history. The notarized affidavit must include a statement saying that the provider is making their findings “upon independent and unbiased review and evaluation” and is not related to the applicant. The letter must also include the provider’s license number. Surgery is not required in New York State.
The current administration accepts a range of gender-affirming statements by providers as long as they are notarized and confirm your gender transition. Please see the sample affidavit below for an example. However, please note that the Official Policy of NY State is that the affidavit must include:
- “Language stating that the applicant has undergone appropriate clinical treatment for a person diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria as defined in the most current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or language stating that the applicant has undergone appropriate clinical treatment for a person diagnosed with Transsexualism as defined in the most current edition of International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems; or as these diagnoses may be referred to in future editions.”
- Or be a notarized affidavit from a physician (M.D. or D.O.), nurse practitioner, or physician assistant confirming that surgical procedures have been performed on the applicant to complete sex reassignment.
Therefore, the current flexibility of the Department of Vital Records is not guaranteed.
Send all the above materials to:
New York State Department of Health
Director of Vital Records
ATTN: Guy Warner
800 North Pearl Street, 2nd Floor
Albany, NY 12204
If you are currently incarcerated and want to correct your birth certificate, there are additional steps that you must take. Follow all of the steps listed above but also do the following:
- Check your criminal history. You can get a complete copy of your criminal history by writing to the Division of Criminal Justice Services (“DCJS”). Write to DCJS at:
Record Review Unit
Alfred E. Smith Building
80 South Swan St.
Albany, New York 12210
DCJS will send you a free copy of your rap sheet if you write a letter to them that includes your:
Aliases (any other name you used for yourself or are known by to law enforcement or a court)
Date of birth
NYSID number (a unique number given by DCJS to identify and group your record), if you have it. If you do not have it, that is okay.
Remaining time you will be incarcerated
- Once you have your criminal history, review it to see if you have any convictions that are labeled as felony If you have felony convictions then you will need to share them in a letter to the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Records. In your letter, you must share what your felony charge was, including the number assigned to it, the date that you were convicted, and the full name of the court that convicted you.
- After you have made this list, you must write to each of the courts that convicted you for a felony offense and inform the defense attorney and the criminal court that you are seeking to correct your birth certificate.
- Proof of you writing and sending these letters must be sent to the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Records as part of your application packet. You can see some sample language around this process by looking at our Pro Se Guide for Name Changes for Incarcerated Transgender People. In particular, if you want to look at Step 6 on page 10 and appendixes I and J on pages 46 and 48, they might be very helpful.
If you are not currently incarcerated but are under community supervision (including parole or probation), then you will need to have a letter from whomever administers your community supervision on official letterhead stating that the individual you report to is familiar with your personal history, that you are correcting your birth certificate, and that they do not see any public safety concerns. If you would like to see a template of such a letter, SRLP has some that we can send to you. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for the template of the community supervision letter for individuals changing their New York State birth certificate.
If you have any questions, please contact Guy Warner, Director, Bureau of Vital Records directly at 518-474-5245 or email email@example.com.
For more information about changing your IDs, please read our online guide.
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