As a resident of the state of New York, you have a statutory right to inspect public records using the state's Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). There are no limitations on which members of the public can request records. This ensures that the various governmental bodies in the state operate in a transparent manner and can be kept accountable by the citizens of New York. The state also maintains other records on behalf of its residents which have some access restrictions. The following questions and answers cover the most common types of public records requests in the state.
Are birth records public in New York?
Birth records become available to the general public after 75 years. The State Department of Health maintains indexes of births dating back to 1881 that are available to the general public on microfiche. Copies of the microfiche are available for viewing at various cities located across the state. Birth certificates for births that occurred within the last 75 years are available only to the parents or the person named on the certificate.
Where can you order a copy of a certified birth certificate in New York?
Birth certificates can be ordered either from the State Department of Health or the NYC Health Department. The NYC Health Department handles all records within the five boroughs of New York City. The State DOH is responsible for all records outside of NYC. Only the person themselves or a parent of the person on the birth certificate is eligible to obtain a copy.
Are adoption records public in New York?
Adoption records for adoptees under the age of 18 are sealed and are not available to the general public in the state of New York. Once an adoptee turns 18 years old they can order a copy of their original birth certificate which will let them know who their biological parents are. This does not require the consent of either the birth parents or the adoptive parents.
Are New York marriage records public?
Marriage records that are at least 50 years old are public records and are available to anyone. The State Department of Health provides microfiche indexes that cover marriages outside of NYC dating back to 1881. The city clerk of NYC has marriage records from 1950-present. Older NYC marriage records (1866-1949) are available through NYC Records & Information Services.
Where can you order a certified copy of a marriage license in New York?
Certified copies of marriage licenses can be ordered from the NY State Department of Health for all marriages outside of NYC. The NYC Marriage Bureau of the city clerk’s office is where you order a certified copy of a marriage license for marriages that occurred in NYC.
Are divorce records public in New York?
Divorce records are sealed in New York and are only available to the parties involved in the divorce proceedings. Divorce certificates can be viewed by the general public, but only the parties involved can order a copy.
Where can you order divorce decrees, certificates or records in New York?
Divorce certificates, decrees and records can be ordered at the NY State Department of Health for divorces outside of NYC. For divorces within NYC, they can be ordered from the county clerk for the county that handled the divorce.
Are New York death records public?
Death certificates for deaths that occurred at least 50 years ago are available to the general public. The NY State Department of Health offers death indexes (outside of NYC) dating back to 1880 on microfiche. The NYC Department of Health has death records for 1948-present. NYC Records & Information Services has historical death records for the five boroughs of NYC dating back to 1795. Death certificates for deaths that occurred within the last 50 years are available only to immediate family members and authorized legal representatives.
Where can you order a New York death certificate?
You can order a death certificate from either the NY State Department of Health (outside NYC) or the NYC Department of Health (within NYC). Only immediate family members and certain other authorized individuals may order a death certificate for deaths within the last 50 years.
Are New York criminal records public?
Criminal records are available to the general public in New York.
How do you look up criminal records in New York?
You can look up criminal records at the New York State Office of Court Administration (OCA). The OCA charges a significant fee for a statewide criminal history record search. You can also search for criminal records at the local court where the case was filed.
Are court records public in New York?
Most court records are publicly available in New York. This includes documents and proceedings for both criminal and civil court cases. One exception is divorce cases where the records are sealed.
Where can you find court records in New York?
The NY Unified Court System provides access to current and disposed case information for most courts in the state. You can also request court records from the court clerk or county clerk.
How do you find out who owns a property in New York?
For properties in New York City, you can search for free online at the Automated City Register Information System (ACRIS). You can find all property records, titles and deeds for all the boroughs of NYC except Staten Island. For properties in Staten Island, you can search online for land documents at the Richmond County Clerk. Deeds and titles for properties outside NYC are handled by the local county clerk for the country the property is located in.
How do you get a copy of a deed in New York?
You can order a copy of a deed or title for properties in New York City through the Automated City Register Information System (ACRIS). If the property is located in Staten Island, you can order a copy of the deed at the Richmond County Clerk. If the property is located outside NYC, you can order a copy of the deed at the local county clerk office for the county the property is located in.
How do you search for unclaimed property in New York?
The Office of the New York State Comptroller handles unclaimed property for the state. You can search online for unclaimed property at the State Comptroller. You can also report unclaimed property there. Claims can be submitted for individuals, businesses, organizations, deceased owners and estates both online and by mail.
How do you request public records in New York?
There is no uniform procedure for you to follow in requesting records from New York agencies because each agency has its own procedures for handling records requests. See N.Y. Pub. Off. Law 87.1(b), 88.1. If in doubt, you should contact the agency whose records you desire to find out what method they use for making a request.
Once a request has been made, the records access manager has five days to refuse or comply with your request. If you want a copy of the records, you may need to pay a fee. Note that the law only applies to existing records. The law does not require a FOIA custodian to create a record in response to your request.