How Do I Fix an Error on My Birth Certificate?

A birth certificate is a gateway document. It leads to a Social Security number, which can lead to driver’s licenses, passports, deeds for a home – the list goes on and on.

But human beings fill out birth certificates and sometimes mistakes happen. So what can a parent do if they find a misspelled name or decide to change information on the certificate?

The process starts out easy for very young children, and then grows progressively more difficult as the child ages.

To change the name on a certificate for a child younger than one, the parent submits the correct paperwork to the Maryland Vital Statistics Department. If the parent wants to make a second change for that child, a court order is needed. When a child is older than one, a court order is required.

Parents can choose from a short list of documents to submit to the state. These include a notarized letter from a parent citing the correct name, or a notarized letter from the hospital, birth attendant or pediatrician citing the correct name.

Once the child passes seven, the list of acceptable documents expands, but the person requesting the change must submit two from the list.

The parent information on the birth certificate can be changed without a court order as well, which may become a need if proof of paternity or other family change affecting parental standing occurs. The state department of vital statistics requires the parent’s birth certificate, baptismal or other house of worship’s records, a parent’s pre-kindergarten or grade school records and other pertinent records that meet the Secretary’s approval and corroborate the parent’s data.

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