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Are New York Records Public?

New York Records are public and available to any interested party. The New York Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) guarantees access to records produced or reproduced by agencies of the state. In New York, interested parties can request public records that are available by law, and Section 89(3)(a) of the FOIL states that a custodian agency must reply within five days of the date of the request.

The New York FOIL covers documents, reports, emails, and other materials held by government, municipal, and law enforcement agencies in the state and relating to:

  • Criminal records
  • Court records
  • Vital Records (this includes birth records, marriage records, death records, and divorce records)
  • Property records

However, the New York FOIL exempts public access to records that:

  • May constitute an invasion of personal privacy (this includes medical records and employment records)
  • Protected by statute. For instance, trade secrets, internal deliberative opinions or advice, and attorney-client information 
  • Are compiled for law enforcement agencies only and whose release may affect an ongoing investigation
  • Deny a person the right to a fair hearing
  • If released, may be a threat to state and national security
  • That may pose a security threat to the owner, such as home address, personal phone and cell numbers, personal email addresses, and Social Security Numbers 
  • Relates to examination testing
  • Expunged or restricted by court order.

For individuals interested in accessing New York Public Records, Subdivision 3 of Section 86 of the Public Officers Law of New York outlines the process for obtaining public records in the state.

Who Can Access New York Public Records?

New York Public Records are available to all interested parties. The New York Freedom of Information Law grants access to the state's public records regardless of residency and citizenship.

However, there are restrictions to certain records due to security and privacy considerations. For instance, New York Vital Records are available to eligible persons only (these include relatives of the:

  • Record owners
  • Individuals with court orders and 
  • Researchers for genealogy purposes(for records that are 50 or 75 years or older).

Access to Public Records in New York is open to all interested persons. For details on access eligibility on New York Public Records, interested individuals should log in to the New York FOIL website.

Do I Need to State My Purpose and Use When Requesting Public Records in New York?

No, the New York Freedom of Information Law does not require individuals to state their purpose and use when requesting public records. However, some New York Public Records custodian agencies may ask non-binding questions that may help determine if the requester is eligible for a fee waiver, reduction, or expedited processing of the records. The New York FOIL allows access to Public Records for legal uses, which include:

  • To obtain information and data on government expenditure
  • For educational and research purposes
  • For News broadcasts.

Note: the New York FOIL prohibits Public Records for commercial purposes.

What Records are Public in New York?

According to the New York Freedom of Information Law, records that are not confidential or protected by law and are in the possession of state, municipal, and law enforcement agencies are Public Records. In New York, the following records are public:

  • Criminal Records
  • Court Records
  • Arrest Records 
  • Property Records
  • Vital Records.
  • Business Filing Records
  • Sex Offender Records 
  • Bankruptcy Records
  • Minutes of government meetings.

New York Public Court Records

New York Public Court Records are information on proceedings in the various courts in the state. Typically, Public Court Records in New York contain the following information:

  • Case filling
  • Case details 
  • Pleading
  • Legal arguments 
  • Witness attestation 
  • Court minutes 
  • Court ruling 
  • Judgment and order, and
  • Sentencing

In New York, Court Records are under the Unified Court System with separate repositioning and deposition for records. There are exceptions to accessing certain Court Records in New York. Access to the following New York Court Records is limited to only eligible individuals:

  • Family Court Records (access is limited to the involved parties or their representatives)
  • Criminal Records if the defendant is found not guilty or the case is dismissed by the court (this can only be accessed by law enforcement agents or through court order)
  • Adoption Records (eligible individuals include the adoptee, adoptive parents, biological parents, and siblings)
  • Divorce decree and separation agreement (unless a requester is the record owner or their representatives)
  • Civil commitment records (these are accessible to the record owners and their representatives).

New York Public Criminal Records

New York Public Criminal Records are official documents that outline the crime history of New York residents. Typically, a criminal record contains arrested, indicted, convicted, and sentencing records.

New York criminal records also contain information from the various county, city, and village courts across the state and are maintained by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ). In New York, Criminal Records are not public, and access is limited to authorized individuals or entities. To obtain Criminal Records in New York, a requester must have a court order or be:

  • The record owner
  • law enforcement
  • A licensing board, or
  • Certain employers.

In addition, requesters may have to submit their fingerprints and pay a fee. Accessing New York Criminal Records without authorization may have legal consequences.

For more information on New York Criminal Records, call (518) 457-9847 or (518) 485-7675. Inquirers can also send emails to or write to:

New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services

Office of Program Development and Funding,

Alfred E. Smith Building

80 South Swan Street

Albany, New York 12210

(518) 457-8462.

New York Public Arrest Records

New York Arrest Records are documents with information on arrests in the state. Arrest Records are public and generally contain the following:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Time of arrest
  • Deposition, and
  • Charges against the arrested person.

In New York, Arrest Records are Public and can be accessed through law enforcement, online databases, or court orders. However, sealed and expunged records are not accessible to the public.

Also, certain information may be redacted due to court orders, ongoing investigations, or for privacy and security reasons.

New York Public Bankruptcy Records

New York Bankruptcy Records are official documents that detail an individual's or a business's bankruptcy filing in the state. Typically, a New York Public Bankruptcy Records information includes:

  • Bankruptcy petition 
  • Date of filing for bankruptcy
  • The entity's asset and liability
  • Creditors claim
  • Reports of meetings with debtors, creditors, and trustees.
  • Reports on the outcome of an investigation by the court-appointed liquidator
  • Court orders and judgments on the bankruptcy petition
  • Discharge order (if the bankruptcy filing is approved).

In New York, keeping bankruptcy records is the responsibility of the United States Bankruptcy Court for The Southern District of New York Bankruptcy Court and the United States Bankruptcy Court for The Eastern District of New York.

There are no special conditions for accessing bankruptcy records in New York except if a court order seals those records. However, requesters may be required to provide information that may aid in locating the records. For instance, based on the method of request, interested parties may be asked to provide:

The case number

  • Debtor's name, Social Security Number, or tax ID number.

Note: Individuals who seek to access bankruptcy records online in New York must register with the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER).

For more information on how to look up New York Public Bankruptcy Records, visit or send a mail to the United States Bankruptcy Court in Southern or Eastern New York using the following office addresses:


US Bankruptcy Court

Southern District of New York

One Bowling Green

New York, NY 10004-1408



U.S. Bankruptcy Court

Southern District of New York

355 Main Street

Poughkeepsie, NY 12601-3315


White Plains

US Bankruptcy Court

Southern District of New York

300 Quarropas Street

Room 147

White Plains, NY 10601



U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of N.Y.

Conrad B. Duberstein U.S. Courthouse

271-C Cadman Plaza East

Suite 1595

Brooklyn, NY 11201-1800


Central Islip

U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of N.Y.

Alfonse M. D'Amato U.S. Courthouse

290 Federal Plaza

Central Islip, NY 11722.

New York Public Birth Records

New York Public Birth Records is an official document containing birth data in New York counties. Birth records in New York contain the following information:

  • Date, time, and place of birth
  • Names of parents of the record owner
  • Certificate number
  • Registrar's signature, and
  • Seal of the issuing authority.

In New York, the custodian agency for birth records depends on the location of birth. Birth records in New York City are the responsibility of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, while the New York State Department of Health keeps birth records for the rest of the state. Access to birth records in New York is limited to eligible individuals, including the record owners, their parents, and spouses. Depending on location, requesters of New York Birth Records may need to provide identification (such as a photo ID or utility bills) and also pay applicable access fees.

To access Birth Records in New York City, requesters may fill out a FOIl Request Form, send an email to, or write to the following:

Records Access Officer

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Gotham Center

42-09 28th Street, Floor 14th, CN31

Long Island City, NY 11101.

Requests for birth records outside of New York City should be directed to:

New York State Department of Health Corning Tower Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12237

(855) 322-1022


New York Public Death Records

New York Public Death Records contain information on the deaths of individuals resident in the state. Such records typically include the following information:

  • Name of the dead
  • Date of birth and death 
  • Cause of death
  • Age at the time of death
  • Sex, race, color, and other bio-data of the deceased
  • Occupation at the time of death
  • File number
  • Name of the local registrar.

The agencies responsible for keeping death records in New York are the New York City Department of Health and Hygiene (for deaths within New York City), and the New York Department of Health (for the rest of the state).

There are eligibility criteria for accessing death records in New York.

Death Records in New York are subject to strict confidential laws. Section 35.4 of the New York Code, Rules, and Regulations prohibits the disclosure of death records to unauthorized persons. The following entities are eligible to access New York Death Records:

  • Parents, siblings, and spouse of the deceased, and 
  • People who have rightful claims
  • Individuals with New York court orders
  • Persons with documented medical needs.

New York Public Marriage Records 

New York Public Marriage Records is an official document with information on marriages conducted across the state counties except for New York City. Typically, New York Public Marriage information includes:

  • Marriage applications 
  • Marriage notices 
  • Marriage indexes
  • Marriage license, and
  • Marriage certificate.

In New, Public Marriage Records are the responsibility of the New York Department of Health and the town or city clerk’s offices where the marriage ceremony was conducted.

New York Marriage Records are not public and are subject to Confidentiality Laws. Access to New York Marriage Records is limited to:

  • Record owners
  • People with court orders and
  • Individuals with documented judicial and other purposes.

To access Marriage Records in New York, requesters must provide:

  • Two forms of identification showing name and address or a valid photo ID
  • A judicial document or valid purpose for requesting access to the marriage records.

Note: accessing marriage records in New York comes with a fee, and the cost varies across the state's different Marriage Records custodian agencies.

New York Public Divorce Records

New York Public Divorce Records is a document that details the divorce decree and certificate filed in the state. Typically, divorce records information may include:

  • Name of the divorced spouse
  • Date of divorce
  • Location of divorce proceedings
  • Reasons for divorce
  • Child custody and support
  • Division of assets
  • Spousal support or alimony (where applicable) and
  • Court decisions

Keeping divorce records in New York is the responsibility of the Supreme Court in the county where the divorce was granted (for New York City) and the New York Department of Health for the rest of the state).

The following steps will help in obtaining divorce records in New York City:

  • Identify the county where the divorce was granted
  • Contact the County Clerk's office
  • Provide information that will help to identify the records (this may include the full names of the divorced and the date of the divorce)
  • Fill out a formal request form and submit 
  • Pay any applicable fee that comes with accessing the records
  • Wait for the records processing.

Requests for access to divorce records outside New York City should be channeled through the New York Department of Health.

Note: For privacy considerations, access to New York Divorce Records may be limited to the records owners, their legal representatives, and persons with judicial or other proper purposes.

New York Public Inmate Records

New York Public Inmate Records contain information on individuals who are or were incarcerated in the various correctional facilities in New York State. Typically, Inmate Records information includes:

  • Location of the correctional facility
  • Inmate status
  • Crime committed
  • Conviction, and
  • Sentencing

New York Inmate Records are public and, per the Freedom of Information Law, can be accessed by any interested party. However, certain information may be redacted or restricted due to privacy and security concerns.

There are restrictions on certain inmate records. According to the New York State Archives, state and federal laws may restrict information such as crime history, probation, parole, and medical reports. Also, juvenile offenders' inmate records are restricted and can only be accessed by the correctional institution where the individual is incarcerated.

In New York, keeping Inmate Records is the duty of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS). To request access to New York Public Inmate Records, log in to the DOCCS website and fill out a Contact Us Form. Also, interested individuals can call (518) 457-8126, send a message, or write to:

The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision,

1220 Washington Ave

Albany, New York, 12203.

New York Public Sex Offender Information

New York Public Sex Offender Information is a record of individuals who have committed sexual crimes in the state and are required to register in the Sex Offender Registry under the Sex Offender Registration Act.

Sex Offender Information in New York is public and available to interested individuals under the Freedom of Information Law.

To access New York Sex Offender Information:

  • Do an online search through the New York Division of Criminal Justice online directory for level 2 and 3 offenders.
  • Register with NY-Alert for notification on the movement of individuals on level 2 and 3 risk levels
  •  Call toll-free at (800) 262-3257 for information on level 1 offenders.

Also, interested parties can call (518) 417-3384 or email the Department of Criminal Justice and Supervision at

Responsible use and dissipation of Sex Offender Information in New York are important for public awareness and safety.

New York Public Property Records

New York Public Property Records are documents with information on property history, value, and ownership in the state. In New York, Property Records includes the following information:

  • Name and address of property owner
  • Location of the property
  • Legal boundaries of the property
  • Legal status 
  • Date and cost of property purchase
  • Assessment 
  • Tax status of the property
  • Encumbrance and lien
  • Legal documents (this includes deeds, mortgages, and easements)
  • History of modifications or change of ownership.

To access New York Public Property Records:

  • Identify the county where such property is located 
  • Contact the county Clerk's office at the property location by calling, email, or in-person visit 
  • Provide legally valid identification
  • Provide information that will aid in locating the records (property address or parcel number may suffice)
  • Fill out a property records request form and submit
  • Pay any applicable fee for accessing property records
  • Allow for time for the request to be processed.

New York Property Records are public. However, access to property records in New York may come with the following conditions:

  • Redaction of personal Identifying details due to privacy and security concerns
  • Access restrictions to only authorized individuals such as owners, their representatives, and persons with legitimate interests
  • Granting usage limit for specific purposes. For instance, legal matters and transactions
  • Identification to verify eligibility to access the property records
  • Fee payment is required to access the records.

What is Exempted Under the New York Public Records Act?

The New York Freedom of Information Law promotes transparency in the state by granting access to government records. However, some categories of information are not subject to public disclosure. 

The FOIL exempts sensitive information for privacy and security reasons. Under the Freedom Of Information Law, the following records are exempted from public access:

  • Information that constitutes an invasion of privacy 
  • Law enforcement information that interferes with investigations and reveals confidential sources
  • Information that may pose public risks or jeopardize safety
  • Trade secrets
  • Information protected under ongoing litigation or attorney-client privilege
  • Information barred from disclosure by state or federal statute
  • Access to Examination questions before the final administration.

In the event of denial of access to New York Public Records, the following steps clarify the process of challenging an exemption:

  • Review the exemption notice from the custodian agency to ascertain the reason for the denial 
  • Contact the agency for clarification on the reason for access denial
  • Submit an appeal against the exemption to the head of the agency (draft and submit an appeal letter explaining why access should be granted). Ensure that the appeal letter follows the agency's required process and includes relevant information. 
  • Wait for a response (agencies are required to respond within a given time frame)
  • Take legal action (if necessary) if not satisfied with the outcome of the appeal.

How Do I Find Public Records in New York?

To find Public Records in New York, apply the following steps:

  • Identify the custodian agency that has the records
  • Log in to the agency's website or any available online database for information on how to obtain the records
  • Contact the relevant county clerk’s office for information on property, marriage, divorce, and other records that are within their jurisdictions.
  • Use an online database to source for records where applicable. For instance, Court Records and some Vital Records may be available through online databases.
  • Submit a FOIl request to the relevant agency for records that are not readily available online.
  • Contact local libraries and archives for assistance with records that may be in their possession. 
  • Contact the relevant courts and law enforcement for records that relate to legal or law enforcement matters.

For efficient and effective Public Records search, apply the following strategy:

  • Define the type of records needed to narrow the search.
  • Determine the custodian agency for the records of interest. For instance, when searching for divorce records in New York City, contact the Supreme Court in the county where the divorce decree was issued.
  • Use effective strategies to streamline search results. For instance, keywords, filters, phrases, and operators can narrow search results, eliminate irrelevant outcomes, and save time.
  • Check the results for accuracy and completeness.
  • Organize the results and make backups to avoid record losses due to unforeseen events.

Can I Find Free Public Records in New York Using Third-Party Sites?

Yes, New York Public Records may be freely accessible through some third-party websites. Such platforms gather records from various sources and make them available to interested persons. Third-party sites also provide online tools for easier and faster records search. However, free records from third-party sites may also contain information that can be accessed for free on government sites. In addition, some third-party sites may offer basic information for free and charge fees for more detailed records.

Note: Information from some third-party sites may be incomplete or inaccurate.

How Much Do Public Records Cost In New York?

Section 87, (1) of the New York Public Officers Law provides that custodian agencies in the state may charge a fee of “25¢ per copy for copies of records up to 9”x 14”, or the actual cost of reproducing a record.” Custodian agencies charge fees for accessing New York Public Records to cover administrative costs, processing, and copying. Also, custodian agencies may charge the following fees:

  • An amount equal to the hourly salary of the lowest paid staff capable of carrying out the tasks involved in obtaining the records if the time required for preparing such records exceeds two hours.
  • The costs of the storage device used in providing the records to the requester in complying with the request
  • Cost of engaging external professional service to prepare such records if the agency's technology equipment needs to be improved.

However, the cost of obtaining Public Records in New York varies across the different custodian agencies.

The actual cost of obtaining New York Public Records may depend on the Records type, volume, and mode of accessing such records. For instance, the New York State Office of Court Administration charges $8.00 and $10.00 for certified copies of Supreme Court documents and Business and corporation filing certification. In contrast, the New York Department of Health charges a $30.00 fee for access to Vital Records.

There may be waivers or reduction in fees on request if the records:

  • Are necessary for legal proceedings
  • Are for public interest
  • Are for an indigent.

What Happens if I Am Refused a Public Records Request in New York?

In New York, Public Records access requests may be denied for any of the following reasons:

  • The records are protected under federal and New York State statute
  • The requested records are properly defined
  • The records are domiciled at the agency or do not exist
  • Searching for the records puts an unbearable burden on the custodian agency, which may interrupt its activities.

In case of a refusal of access to New York Public Records, the custodian agency must issue a written response to the records requester within five days from the date of the request to explain the reason for not granting access. A requester can file an appeal or take legal actions as a last resort to enforce access to such records and let the court decide if the access denial is constitutional.

New York Public Records
  • Criminal Records
  • Arrests Records
  • Warrants
  • Driving Violations
  • Inmate Records
  • Felonies
  • Misdemeanors
  • Bankruptcies
  • Tax & Property Liens
  • Civil Judgements
  • Federal Dockets
  • Probate Records
  • Marriage Records
  • Divorce Records
  • Death Records
  • Property Records
  • Asset Records
  • Business Ownership
  • Professional Licenses
  • And More!