Whether you’ve recently changed your name, discovered that your original birth certificate contains a misspelling, or would like to update your parentage on your birth certificate, you can typically do so. In most cases, you will need an original certified copy of your birth certificate, a court order, and your photo ID or other identifying documents to make changes. If you’re simply correcting a misspelling, you may be able to update your birth certificate with just your ID and your original birth certificate. Most states will charge a small fee to process changes.
How to Change the Name on Your Birth Certificate
Birth certificates are often filed at the hospital based on forms filled out by your parents. This naturally results in a high ratio of mistakes, with many people inserting spelling errors and problematic spelling into a baby’s register of birth. Unfortunately, if your birth records list you as Smion instead of Simon, that is actually your legal name. However, you can take steps to update your birth certificate.
You will need:
- An original certified copy of your birth certificate. You can order copies of your birth certificate online at VitalRecords.com if you are 21 or older. If not, your parents can fill out the birth certificate replacement form on your behalf.
- Your Photo ID
- Supporting documents (school records, driver’s license, etc.) showing the correct spelling of your name. You may want to ask parents and relations for these documents
To change your name, contact the vital records office in your state of birth, request the local name change forms, fill them out, pay the fee, and wait for an answer. While most small changes are accepted without a court order, the final decision is with the vital records office.
If you’ve made a dramatic change to your name or want to change your name or surname to something other than your birth name, or don’t have a name on your birth certificate, you will need a court order.
- Contact the local county office or District Court in your county of residence. Ask for local forms for changing your name. Fill them out, pay the fee, and process them. You will likely need to have documents notarized at the city hall, courthouse, or your bank.
- Appear in court. You will receive a certified court order of name change if the judge accepts your request
- Submit your court order with a certified copy of your birth certificate and your photo ID with a request of name change to the vital records office. You may have to provide a letter of explanation
- You may have to provide additional certified vital records such as your marriage license depending on the circumstance
Most states have their own version of a Birth Certificate Correction Form. You will have to request it locally. Changes typically take 2-3 weeks to process, after which you can
How Do You Update Your Personal Details on Your Birth Certificate?
If your age, sex, or birthplace are incorrect, you can likely file to have them corrected without a court order. Most states also allow you to update your sex on your birth certificate if you are transgender. However, you will have to provide a court order or other legal verifying documents in this case.
- Contact the local vital records office in your state
- Request a Birth Certificate Correction Form
- Fill it out and submit with an original copy of your birth certificate, photo ID, and verifying documents. A doctor’s verification of sex may be sufficient. However, requirements will change from state to state. Ask your local vital records office for further information. You will need original hospital records to change your listed birthplace or date of birth.
How Do You Change Your Parent’s Names on Your Birth Certificate?
Whether one of your parents is not on your birth certificate, your parent(s) name is misspelled, or you would like to make other adjustments, you can typically do so. You will need an original certified copy of your birth certificate as well as supporting documentation.
Misspelled – Submit a Birth Certificate Correction Form to your vital records office with your birth certificate, photo ID, and the birth certificate or photo ID of the parent
Missing – If your father or second parent’s name is not on your birth certificate, you can choose to update it at any time. Submit an original copy of your birth certificate with an affidavit signed by the parent (both if surviving) acknowledging paternity and pay the fee.
Removing a Parent – You can remove a second parent (not maternal) providing you have court documentation proving they are not your parent or court approval to remove the parent.
Who Can Make Changes to Your Birth Certificate?
You, your parents, and your siblings can request changes to your birth certificate depending on the circumstance. However, in most cases, if you are no longer a minor, only you can approve changes to your birth certificate. Requesting changes to your birth certificate also requires having a certified birth certificate, which only a close family member can obtain.
If you’ve recently changed your name, check our article on what to do after you’ve updated your name.