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Department of Health Services

Office of Vital Statistics

What You Need to Know About Your Child's Birth Certificate


Birth Certificates Last Forever

Please be certain the information on the certificate is accurate and complete before you sign it.

  • A birth certificate is a legal document.
  • An amendment form is required to make corrections to the birth certificate.
  • The birth certificate will become a two-page document if an amendment is requested after the original has been processed.
  • Many changes on the birth certificate require the applicant to go to court for a court order, including reversing the order of last names (surnames).
  • Parents may have problems receiving benefits, traveling on an airline, or obtaining a passport or social security number for their child if the birth certificate is not true and correct.
  • It can take up to one year to apply an amendment.

Common Mistakes that Require Amendments and/or Court Orders

  • Misspelled first, last and middle names of child and/or parents
  • Incorrect state, country and/or birth date of parent(s)
  • Reversed order of last (family) names
  • Adding extra names to parent(s) or child later
  • Incorrect gender (sex) of child
  • Incorrect birth date

Any errors on birth certificates cannot be corrected on the original certificate.

The original birth certificate does not change. In most cases, an amendment is attached to create a two-page document.

Parents, please review the information on the birth certificate carefully before you sign it. Your signature confirms that you have reviewed the information and that the facts are correct.