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How to Fix Birth Certificate Errors

By Donna Armstrong ; Updated April 18, 2017
Birth certificates should always be kept in a secure fireproof box.

Misspellings and incorrect data on a birth certificate can affect many other crucial documents. Drivers' licenses, Social Security cards, passports and other government-issued documents rely on a birth certificate to verify information. If that information is incorrect, it can cause all the other documents to have incorrect data as well. You can find the correct paperwork to file a change at the county clerk's office in the county of the birth.

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Visit the office of vital statistics or county clerk's office in the county or parish where the birth certificate was issued. Explain the errors made on the birth certificate and ask for the appropriate documents to facilitate a change. The documents and actions needed to fix an error will depend on the type of error made. Most misspellings can be changed with paperwork. Errors that involve the time, date or name of parents might require a court order. Ask the clerk to explain the process and provide you with all the paperwork needed. All states operate a little differently. Make sure you understand the process before you leave. Ask about fees and how long the process takes.

Go over the paperwork and fill it out completely. Most of these forms have you state the error, the reason why it occurred and all the vital information for the birth certificate. Date or year changes will have to include paperwork from the delivering doctor or nurse. A notary must sign and stamp all of the forms. All information must be correct. A form can be thrown out for misspellings and bad handwriting.

Copy the information required by the state. This normally includes copies of parents IDs or drivers' licenses, copies of parents' birth certificates and any documentation from the hospital, doctor, clinic or midwife where the person was born. If the person on the birth certificate is or has been enrolled in school, provide a copy of school records and all other information that proves the person's identity.

File the forms at the county clerk or registrar’s office. Once the paperwork is filed, you will receive a new copy of the birth certificate or the office will contact you if more information is needed.


If the error is a misspelling of a name, it is cheaper and quicker to do a legal name change, than to alter the birth certificate. The name change will appear on any new certificates purchased. A name change can be done at the Social Security office.


Birth certificates are government documents. Any information that is falsified is punishable with jail time.

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About the Author

Donna Armstrong is a freelance writer who has been writing since 2005. She has provided copy for catalogs, newspapers, newsletters, blogs, informational and e-commerce websites. She has written on a variety of subjects including state-of-the-art electronics and household products. She has worked for such websites as Work.com and Realtvaddict.com. She attended the University of Texas, where she studied history and education.

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