Changing a Birth Record
Accurate birth records are a priority for the Office of Vital Records. State and county vital records staff work closely with hospitals and families to assure that information is correct.
Hospital birth registrars collect the information required to register births from parents and other sources at the time of a child’s birth. The birth registrar enters the collected information into a statewide electronic vital records system where it is securely stored. Birth certificates print from the statewide electronic vital records system for persons who complete a birth certificate application and pay a fee. The law limits who can obtain a certified birth certificate.
Birth records contain information about the subject (the person who was born), the subject’s parent(s), and health data on the mother and child. Only some of that information prints on a certificate.
Items that print on a birth certificate include:
- First, middle, last name and suffix of the subject (the person whose birth was registered)
- Subject's date of birth
- Subject’s time of birth
- Plurality (single, twin, triplet, etc.)
- Sex of subject
- Subject's place of birth (name of hospital or facility, city, county, state)
- Full names of up to two parents
- Parent’s names at birth (names before first marriage)
- Parent’s dates of birth
- Parent’s places of birth
In spite of efforts to make sure that birth records are accurate, information sometimes needs to be changed or added. Read below for more information.
You may correct or add certification items (listed above) within one year of the birth, and before you have purchased a certificate. If you have already purchased a certificate and need to change a certification item, see the Amendments section below.
As a parent, you can review the information that the birth registrar collects for the birth record when the birth registrar enters the record into the electronic vital records system. You can also review the items that will print on the birth certificate when you receive the Parent Notice sent by the county vital records office soon after the birth of your child. You may use the Parent Notice to make corrections to information that prints on the birth certificate before you purchase a birth certificate.
The hospital that filed the birth record, county vital records offices, and the Office of Vital Records have authority to correct birth records. Depending on the correction, documentation may be required. No fee is required to make a correction.
Changes to a birth certificate after purchase, or more than a year after the birth, are amendments. This means legal or court-ordered name changes are amendments. The Birth Record Amendments webpage provides information about requesting an amendment.
A new birth record is created when there is an adoption, when paternity is established or adjudicated, or upon a court order. The new birth record replaces any other birth record that may exist for that individual and shows no evidence of the previous birth record. The Office of Vital Records replaces birth records after receiving the required documentation and fee.
If you have questions about changing a birth record after reading this information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-201-5970.
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