FEBRUARY 5, 2017
A Letter of Exemplification (also called "Exemplification of Birth or Death Record") is a page attached to a New York City birth certificate (long form only). It is signed by a Deputy City Registrar. Do you really need a Letter of Exemplification to get an apostille for a New York birth certificate? Can a birth certificate be apostilled without it?
A New City birth certificate can be apostilled / legalized with or without a Letter of Exemplification.
You only need a Letter of Exemplification if and when the receiving agency specifically asks for it. In all other cases, for the sake of apostille legalization, this letter is not required.
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Exemplification of Birth Certificate:
A Letter of Exemplification or Exemplification of Birth or Death Record is a separate page (white in color) which the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene attaches to NYC birth certificates. Exemplification means "an attested copy of a document, under official seal" and the Exemplification Letter does exactly that - attests that the attached birth certificate is a true certified copy. The reason for issuing a Letter of Exemplification is mere convenience. The New York City County Clerk's Office does not have the signature of the City Registrar on file, and cannot authenticate this signature directly. However, the signatures of Deputies City Registrar who sign Letters of Exemplification are on file with this office.
When is a Letter of exemplification required?
A few consulates (e.g. the Italian consulate, for the purpose of obtaining Italian citizenship) specifically require that you submit a long form birth certificate with a Letter of Exemplification. Please follow the consulate requirements. However, if a Letter of exemplification is not specifically required (like in 99% of the cases), your birth certificate can be apostilled / legalized without it.
Short form birth certificates:
Short form birth certificates issued by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene cannot come without exemplification letters. They are also acceptable for apostilles and embassy legalization.
Apostilles and embassy legalization: NY birth certificates (exemplified or non-exemplified): prices, processing time, order form