Letter of Exemplification definition

Those who were born in New York City and need a certified copy of their birth certificate may have to obtain a letter of Exemplification. The letter of exemplification is not required by most states so many individuals are not familiar with it.

In this article, you will learn what an Exemplification of Birth or Death Record is and why you may need one. You will also discover how to get your letter of exemplification fast.

What Is a Letter of Exemplification?

A letter of exemplification is a separate page that the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene attaches to NYC birth and death certificates. It serves as confirmation that the birth or death certificate it is attached to is a true and certified copy.

The letter of exemplification is, therefore, not only useful but mandatory to prove that a long-form certificate is authentic. The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene issues letters of exemplification only when citizens require a certified copy for apostille.

Certified copies of birth certificates and relative letters of exemplification can be requested for people born in NYC since 1910.

Why Do I Need a Letter of Exemplification?

Long-form birth certificates and letters of exemplification are required for several overseas transactions.

These include but are not limited to:

  • Apply for dual citizenship
  • Get a document apostilled or authenticated for use in a foreign country
  • Get married in a foreign country
  • Adopt a minor in a foreign country
  • Buy property in a foreign country

You should state the reason(s) for your request clearly in the application.

How to Get a Letter of Exemplification

You can apply for a certified birth certificate and the relative letter of exemplification with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. You can only request letters of exemplification for certificates of births that were registered in NYC and that you are eligible to obtain. Choose the application method that best suits you:

  • In-person
  • Online (only for your own birth certificate and that of your child)
  • By mail

As part of the application process, you will be asked to submit IDs, such as your driver’s license or passport, that prove your identity and eligibility to request the certified birth certificate. You will also have to fill out an application form.

Finally, all 3 application options carry a fee.

Please note: due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person applications may be temporarily suspended. Please check with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.