How to Change a Birth Certificate

By Nakia Jackson
Birth certificates can only be changed by the state that issued them.
Birth certificates can only be changed by the state that issued them.

Whether you are a parent who's discovered a mistake on your child's birth certificate or someone who's undergone gender reassignment surgery, changing a birth certificate can be necessary at times. Getting the documentation required to change a birth certificate can be arduous, and some changes might require a court order. But having a birth certificate with the correct information can help you avoid inconsistencies in documents that could prevent you or your child from getting a driver's license, passport or a marriage license.

Check the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website (see References) for contact information for the vital records department for the state where the child was born.

Contact the department of vital records for the state where the child was born. Ask what documentation is needed for a birth certificate change or correction. The type of documentation depends on the state's requirements and type of change requested, but can include a parent's birth certificate, a letter from a hospital, or a court order. Ask when a corrected birth certificate will be available, and where you can obtain any forms required for the birth certificate change.

Complete the birth certificate change forms required by the state's department of vital records. Include the required documentation, and submit a check or money order for any required fees. Include current address information to have a copy mailed to you.

Check the corrected version of the birth certificate once you receive it for the desired change. Ensure that all other details are correct. If you see other errors, or if the change requested was not made, contact the department of vital records that issued the birth certificate for further amendment or correction.

Tip

Vital records departments typically accept a letter from a doctor or hospital records to change the sex, birth date or time. Vital records departments might accept school records to change the spelling of a name.

Warning

You cannot add or remove the name of a parent by this process alone. If you need to add or remove a father's name, contact a family court to establish paternity first. You cannot change the child's name by this process alone, except for misspellings. You will need to petition the court for a name change to change a child's first or middle name.

About the Author

Nakia Jackson has written for online publications since 2006, including columns for Sadie Magazine, Naseeb and Muslim Wake Up!. She has written on religion and beauty, crafts and music. Jackson's expertise stems from personal experience and her years at Berklee College of Music, pursuing a Bachelor of Music.