The Birth Certificate is the official document that the person receives after his or her birth. From that day until the day of issuance of an identity card (or passport), which happens at the age of 18 or 21, depending on the state and country, it remains the only and the most important document.
Parents may need it to enroll their child in a kindergarden or a school, it is required to start the medical records or to obtain the child travel documents. Therefore, it is necessary to make sure that every bit of information in that document was specified correctly and in full. Otherwise, the parents or the holder of the Birth Certificate him/herself would have to make alterations to that document in order to avoid possible confusions when getting the “adult” documents.
There are also other cases where the amendments to the Birth Certificate are required. For instance, you or your parents found an error in the document: a wrong letter in the name, a mistake in the date of birth or incorrectly specified place of issuance of the certificate.
Since the application form for the Birth Certificate is usually filled out by the mother, who is preparing to give birth or has just gone through a tough couple of hours of labor, the chance of making even a single-letter mistake is quite high. However, it is of vital importance to find the mistake and to correct it in time – the earlier the better. Otherwise, you may face certain bureaucratic problems which may take a bit of time and expenses to resolve.
So, if you happen to detect a mistake in your or your child's Birth Certificate, don't hesitate to take the steps, described in this article, to alter the document.
There are several ways to make such changes: it all depends on the age of certificate's holder and the type of mistake that was made in the document.
How to change information in Birth Certificate
Making changes in the Birth Certificate of a child who hasn't reached the age of one year is perhaps the easiest of all.
In that case, you can make these changes without having to get a special court order. Certainly, every state in the U.S. has its own requirement regarding this matter, but in most of them, it would be sufficient to apply to the Vital Record Office in your city or the city where you gave birth. Usually, all you have to do is fill out some forms and then submit them along with the original of the Birth Certificate.
In most cases, alteration will be carried out over the course of one workday. This situation often happens when the parents decide that they are not happy with the child's name and they would like to change it; when a father, whose name was not included in the original document, decides to claim his paternity right; if there is a problem regarding the establishment of paternity (when it turns out that the legal father is not a biological father), or when the couple gets divorced and the mother decides to give the child her family name.
Keep in mind that it concerns only children who are not older than 12 months. Otherwise, especially in cases of surname or parentage changes, you will have to present solid reasons which explain your intent to alter the document and then obtain a court order. In that case, it will be advisable to use the services of the lawyer who specializes in such cases.
If you don't have the money to hire a lawyer and you decide to handle this matter on your own, then follow these steps. Please note that this scheme also applies when you decide to change the name on your own Birth Certificate.
Check the official website or contact your local courthouse directly to find out whether it deals with such issues as alterations on the Birth Certificate or name changes. Fill out all necessary papers and submit them either online on directly at the clerk's office. You will be appointed the date and the time when you have to appear in court.
When in court, give the judge a detailed and thorough explanation of the reasons why you would like to change your or your child's name. If the issue concerns paternity, make sure that you have all analysis and medical reports prepared in the appropriate format.
Once you get the judge's approval, you will be given an official court order. Don't forget to ask for the additional certified copy of the order since you may need it when applying to the Department of Vital Records.
Then call the Department of Vital Records that issued your or your child's original Birth Certificate and ask them to provide the list of documents necessary to finalize the procedure of name change or other alterations to the document. Remember that they may ask you to pay a certain processing fee.
After you submit the documents and pay the fees, just wait for them to send the amended Birth Certificate back to you.
In case you need spelling or other errors corrected, apply straight to the Department of Vital Records because such cases usually do not require a court order.
As you can see, making changes on the Birth Certificate is not really complicated. All you have to do is follow the procedure.