A birth certificate is an essential document for any person, since it is a vital record that documents the birth of a child and is usually needed to get married, registering for school, obtaining a driver’s license, etc. Correcting an error on your birth certificate is possible and can be done following a series of steps. As an official and general rule, an entry in the civil register can be corrected only with a judicial order. Usually, the process for correcting errors in the birth certificate is to file a petition in court. With that said, the Republic Act No. 9048 allows the administrative correction of certain entries with the Civil Register including entries in the birth certificate.
To make a correction to your U.S. birth certificate it is necessary that you contact or go to the correction/amendments department at the vital records office that issued the original birth certificate. This department will be able to help you make a change to your birth certificate.
What changes can be made to your birth certificate
The birth certificate is one, if not the most, important document you can have. The birth certificate demonstrates an individual’s age, citizenship, and identity. If there are mistakes on your birth certificate, you do need to correct them. Your birth certificate should reflect accurate information.
The process of changing or making amends to your birth certificate will vary from state to state. However, there are certain things that can help you have an idea of how to start.
Mistakes can happen in the birth place, the sex, or other information that is included in the birth certificate. If you have spotted an error on your child’s birth certificate it will be necessary to make the corrections. In order to achieve this, you will need some form of proof to validate the change. Each case is different and you can check with your local office.
The department of vital records is the institution responsible for keeping and issuing the birth certificate. Your vital records office should help you sort out all the errors.
Sometimes mistakes happen. If the child’s birthplace, sex, or other information is not correct on the birth certificate, it will be necessary to get changes made to reflect the correct information. This will often require some form of proof in order to validate the change. Each case will be a bit different and the department of vital records responsible for keeping and issuing the birth certificate can help work through this situation.
Changing the name for a baby
Changing the name of a young child is a common reason to making a correction on the birth certificate. The requirements per state might be different, however, parents in some states may be allowed to make modifications to their child’s birth certificate without needing a court order.
In the majority of cases parents can bring the original birth certificate to their official vital record office to the home city or county where the child was born. If you are a parent wanting to change your child’s name you will need to complete a few forms. Be sure to check the document requirements with the local vital records office.
Changing the name for an adult or an older child
This would coincide with a legal change of name. For legal changes on adult birth certificates, you might require a court order. This is not the same as changing your name after getting married. When you get married, you are not required to change your name on your birth certificate. To change your name you will need to provide several documents and give reasons of why you want to change your name or that of an older child.
Correcting the spelling on the birth certificate: If the mistake you want to correct on the birth certificate is a spelling mistake, you are likely to be able to make the changes without a court order. As a parent, you need to provide information regarding the error and additional documents supporting and validating the correct spelling.
- Changing parentage or surname: This is considered a legal change and generally you will need a court order to make this corrections to the birth certificate. As a parent asking for this change, you will need to obtain and provide proof that the original details provided were not correct. The easiest way to correct these is to hire a lawyer.
You can contact your local vital records office or the one responsible for issuing the birth certificate you want to make corrections or changes to.
How to make corrections to the birth certificate
Currently, you can file a petition for correction of clerical or typographical errors in the first name, nickname, place of birth, day and month of birth or sex of an individual. Usually, you will need to filed this petition with the Local Civil Registry Office (LCRO) where the record containing the error you wish to modify is kept. If your residence is other than where the civil registry records are registered, you will need to file the petition at your closest LCRO.
A petition to change your first name or nickname cannot be based on any ground. These corrections to the birth certificate can be made only in any of the following situations:
- You find your first name or nickname to be ridiculous, tainted with dishonor or too difficult to write or pronounce
- The new first name or nickname has been continuously used by the person making the request and they have been publicly known by that name or nickname in their community
- The change will avoid confusion
As a general rule, the request for correction of first name, nickname, day and month of birth, and gender must be in the form of a notarized affidavit. On this document, you will need to indicate the necessary facts in order to establish the merits of of your petition. The affidavit should show that you are competent to testify to the matters stated on it.
Supporting documents required to the correction on the birth certificate
- A certified true machine copy of the certificate or of the page of the registry book containing the entry or entries sought to be corrected or changed.
- At least two (2) public or private documents showing the correct entry or entries upon which the correction or change shall be based
- Notice and Certificate of Posting
- Certified machine copy the Official Receipt of the filing fee
- Certification form law enforcement agencies that the petitioner has no pending case or criminal record.
- Other documents as may be required by the LCRO.
For your petition to correct the date of birth or the gender of your child, additional documents must be submitted, for instance, the earliest school record or documents such as medical records, baptismal certificate or other documents issued by a religious authority.
To change the gender of a person, the petition will need to be accompanied by a certification of an accredited government physician attesting to the fact that the petitioner has not undergone a sex change operation. This can be requested in view of the fact that a petition for correction of gender can only be based on a mistake or clerical error. A person who has changed their reproductive organ cannot correct the entry of their gender in the birth certificate.
The civil registrar will examine your petition and all supporting documents. The office will post the petition in a conspicuous place for ten consecutive days after they find the petition and documents sufficient. Afterwards, they will act on the petition and provide a decision no later than five consecutive days.
- Correcting an adult’s birth certificate: To correct the first, middle name, or month or day of birth, you should submit an affidavit with an elementary school record or census record and a record established as an adult showing your full name, date of birth or age of applicant. If you cannot meet these requirements you will need a court order.
- Correcting an minor child’s birth certificate: Parents will need to fill in an affidavit and supply a record established close to the child’s birth that will show the child’s name, date of birth, and item to be corrected.
- Correcting a misspelled last name: Submit an affidavit to correct the birth certificate and a copy of your father's birth, death, or marriage certificate if your surname is the same as your father's. If it is the same as your mother's last name, you will need her record.
- Correcting the date of birth: Submit an affidavit to correct birth certificate, your school record of enrollment into elementary school, and a census record.
- Correcting the mother's or father's name: Submit an affidavit to correct birth certificate, and the birth, death, or marriage certificate of the parent whose name is incorrect.