Babies and Birth Certificates

Paperwork may be the last thing on your mind when welcoming a new member of the family, but it’s a necessary evil. Avoid getting tangled up in red tape with tips from PSP members!

Are you expecting or raising kids in Brooklyn? Join Park Slope Parents to connect with a community that can offer support in all stages of the journey!

Plan ahead.

Before your baby arrives, connect with your hospital to find out what type of identification and other paperwork you’ll need to have prepped in order to set the birth certificate process in motion.

Specifically, the NYC Health Department recommends the following:

- Fill out your Mother/Parent Worksheet before you get to the hospital

- If parents are not married, paternity may be established by an Acknowledgment of Parentage.

- If parents are married, some hospitals require proof of marriage in order to list both names on the birth certificate. Check with your hospital on whether this is required.


Want to wait to name your baby?

According to the NYC Health Department, there is no fee to add a child’s given name if a birth certificate corrections application (PDF) is submitted to the Health Department by the family within 60 days of birth.


How long will it take?

Birth certificate paperwork is submitted by your hospital and therefore varies depending on where and when you give birth. Your hospital should tell you what to expect, but PSP members have reported time frames of two to eight weeks before the certificate arrives in the mail.

The NYC Health Department reports the following estimated processing times, with the caveat that orders may take one to two weeks longer to complete than the standard times described below.

Online orders: Two to three weeks to process. Delivery by mail can take an additional two weeks.

Orders by mail: Four weeks to process. Delivery by mail can take an additional two weeks.


How do I check on the status?

You can check on your baby’s birth certificate here:

To check on a delayed certificate, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The official recommendation for checking on delays by phone is to call 311, although PSP members have reported mixed results with this. One member was able to reach the appropriate Health Department unit via this number: 646-632-6563


Need documentation stat?

If you need documentation of the birth for Paid Family Leave or insurance, but your birth certificate hasn’t arrived, you can likely acquire an alternative, such as a “proof of birth letter” from your hospital. Members share:

“[Check] directly with the insurance company regarding PFL … my work kept telling me I needed the birth certificate, but when I checked with the company they said discharge papers or other proof of birth was totally fine!!” (2/2022)

“I got through to Vital Records and they let me know that I’ll get the birth certificate when my baby is 9 weeks old (apparently typical now.).  That’s after when I need it for Paid Family Leave but they will accept a letter from my dr.” (2/2022)


Once the certificate arrives

Check over the document carefully to make sure everything is in order, as several PSP members have reported needing to make corrections, including sex of the baby and spelling of their name.

From the NYC Health Department: If your child is under 12 months of age, the fastest way to correct a birth certificate is to bring the original certificate and a completed correction application (PDF) to the hospital where your child was born. You cannot correct a birth certificate online.

If the hospital where your child was born made a mistake on the birth certificate, you must submit your application and the newborn certificate you received to the hospital.

Here's what an NYC birth certificate looks like (source):

ny birth certificate apostille


Further Reading

NYC Health Department - Birth Certificates

Passport Information from PSP