Amended Birth Certificate definition

An amended birth certificate is a certificate that was officially edited and changed from its original form. This can be the result of an adoption or a request from the birth certificate holder or their parents.

There may be several reasons for an American citizen to wish to amend their birth certificate or that of their child.

The process to amend or correct a birth certificate varies greatly depending on factors such as:

  • The laws of the state that issued the birth certificate
  • The reason(s) to amend the birth certificate
  • The eligibility of the applicant to make the changes

These all affect not only the possibility to make the amendment but also the application process and the documents that must be submitted. In this article, you will read about the different types of birth certificate amendments in the United States and how to obtain one.

Reasons to Amend a Birth Certificate

The type of change you want to be made to the birth certificate affects the application process that you need to go through. Individuals may want to amend a birth certificate to:

  • Correct a spelling mistake or other errors
  • Add missing information
  • Change the name of the certificate holder or that of their parent(s)
  • Change the gender marker of the certificate holder
  • Change the information on the birth certificate (place of birth, parents, etc.) following an adoption

How to Amend a Birth Certificate

Some changes are easier than others and in most cases, the application is submitted directly to the Vital Records office of the state where the birth was registered. Others, like name changes and adoption birth certificate amendments, require a court order in most states.

In rare cases, applying with the Vital Records office is not necessary. For example, in some states parents can easily change their newborn’s name by filling out some forms at the hospital or birth facility as long as the baby is under 1 year of age. In California and other several states, birth certificate amendments for babies under 1 year of age are also free of charge.

Gender marker changes also vary greatly. While in some areas like New York City and California the process has become easier in recent years and applicants can choose a gender-neutral marker (X), others like Texas and Florida only offer the choice between male and female and Tennessee does not offer gender changes on vital records at all.

Can I apply for my birth certificate amendment online?

In most cases, No, you cannot apply online. You can either apply in-person or, sometimes, by mail. Once the certificate has been amended, individuals can apply online for a certified copy.

Please check the rules that apply to your state and the specific changes that you want to make.

What Documents do I Need for a Birth Certificate Amendment?

The documents you will need to submit as part of your application depend on several factors including state laws and the reason(s) for the amendment. If you are not the person named on the birth certificate, you will also need to provide documentation that proves your relationship with the certificate holder.

Find below a non-exhaustive list of supporting documents that may be required as part of the application process. Please note that you may have to provide only a part of them and that it is essential that you check the birth certificate requirements that apply to your specific case before making an application.

  • Completed birth certificate amendment application form
  • Signed and notarized statement requesting the change(s)
  • IDs of the applicant
  • Hospital/medical record at birth
  • Certified copy of court order
  • Birth certificate(s) of child’s parent(s)
  • Birth certificate of child’s older brother or sister
  • Certified copy of parents’ marriage license
  • Parent’s naturalization certificate
  • Photocopy of parent’s domestic passport or parent’s foreign passport with US visa
  • Acknowledgment of Paternity
  • Gestational agreement
  • Baptismal certificate/ elementary school record/ federal census record/ armed forces discharge papers

Please note that in most cases, requesting a birth certificate amendment carries an application fee.