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How to Correct Errors in Birth Certificate: Requirements, Petitions, and Useful Tips for OFWs

For Filipinos who are living abroad or those who are looking to do so will find that having a birth certificate on hand is a necessity. It can serve as the primary proof of identity. It is also a critical requirement for many processes, including passport application, school enrollment, job application, and weddings, among others.

Also Read: How to Claim SSS Retirement Benefits While Living Abroad

That’s not all. It is also imperative for the details of your birth certificate to be in sync with all the other documents you have. However, sometimes this is not the case. Human error is inevitable, hence, the need for specific corrections or alterations on even your birth documents.

PSA-BIRTHday

Steps in Applying for Birth Certificate Correction

For birth certificates of Filipinos or those who were born in the Philippines, there are systems in place that allow for these corrections to be done seamlessly. The procedures have long been in place, but those who tried to get it done also have a few tricks up their sleeves to make the process even smoother.

If you are looking to make any change or correction to your birth documents, then we have the procedures and a few tips to help you.

1. Find out the type of birth certificate correction that you need to do.

When seeking to change your birth documents, it is important to note the type of change that you wish to do. There are different types and each one has distinct requirements, both in the type of documents you need to submit and the process you need to go through.

Fortunately, the type of changes or corrections are classified into just two certain types:

Administrative correction

As mentioned above, human errors are inevitable. This is particularly true for birth records since these things are copied, written, and transcribed by real men, and not machines. That said, clerical or typographical errors are also quite common in the processing the birth certificates. The good news is, these types of errors are relatively easy to correct, though it will undoubtedly still take some time to process.

Birth documents with clerical or typographical errors arecan go throught administrative correction, hence the name. This means that there is no need to go to court for the error. You can simply file a petition to correct the error directly with the local civil registrar (LCR) where the birth happened, and they can process it for you, upon evaluation.

To make it simpler for you, note that there are four types of error correction that fall under this category:

Incorrect First Name Correction

    • The first name on the birth certificate is different from the one being used.
    • For children born from 1993 onwards whose first name appears as “Baby Boy,” “Baby Girl,” “Boy,” or “Girl” on the birth certificate.

Incorrect Gender or Date or Month of Birth Correction

    • The date of birth (whether it’s the date or the month) is wrong.
    • The gender is incorrectly tagged on the checkbox.

Clerical Error Correction

    • The name (whether it is the first, middle, or last name) is blurred.
    • The mother’s surname is wrong, but the child’s middle name is correct.
    • The child’s middle name is incorrect, but the mother’s surname is correct.
    • The name (whether it is the first, middle, or last name) is misspelled.
    • The middle name and last name were switched.
    • The middle initial was placed in the space for the full surname.
    • The wrong gender is checked.

Supplemental Report

    • There is no first name, middle name, or last name (if legitimate) appearing on the document.
    • No middle name (if illegitimate and acknowledged by the father) appears on the birth certificate.
    • For children born before 1993, whose first name appears as “Baby Boy,” “Baby Girl,” “Boy,” or “Girl” on the birth certificate.
    • Missing name suffix (i.e. Jr., II, III, etc.).
    • The gender was not checked, or both genders were checked.
    • Acquiring the father’s surname. Note that this only applies to illegitimate child and only for surname change. Changing status from illegitimate to legitimate would require a court order.
    • Other encoding errors (i.e. two interchanged letters in the name, missing syllables in the last name, etc.)

Judicial correction

When the correction you wish to make on your birth certificate is so substantial, then this will have to go through a judicial correction. This means that the correction on your birth certificate greatly affects your legal or inheritance rights, so the court will take over the decision to make any changes. This will require a petition for correction of entry filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of the province with jurisdiction over the local civil registrar that holds your birth records.

These types of correction to your birth certificate will require a petition for judicial proceedings: 

    • Change in citizenship or nationality.
    • Incorrect birth year.
    • Incorrect middle names for both the mother and the child in the birth certificate.
    • Substantial changes to either or both parents’ names.
    • Change in the child’s status (legitimacy or illegitimacy), whether the parents got married or not.
    • Complete name change.

Note that you can only file a petition for correction with the LCR for obvious clerical errors. So, if you’re unsure about which category your case falls under, you may reach out to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) either via phone at +632-938-5273 or via snail mail addressed to Atty. Lourdines C. Dela Cruz, Director III, 4/F PSA-TAM Bldg., East Avenue, Quezon City, 1101.

2. Prepare the documentary requirements.

Like any other transaction involving a government office, there are documentary requirements that the applicant needs to prepare before anything can be processed. This is also true for correcting errors in birth documents. Different corrections may require different documents, so make sure to identify what you wish to amend first before going through the motions.

In any case, here’s a list of the documents you need to prepare before you go to any government office:

Administrative correction

To file for a petition to correct specific administrative errors, you will need the following documents before visiting the local civil registrar where the birth was reported.

Incorrect First Name Correction

This type of correction requires a petition for Change of First Name, as required by the Republic Act 9048 or the Clerical Error Law. As the most complex correction under the administrative type, the processing of this correction is the longest and most expensive, too. It also requires you to provide complete or as many supporting documents as possible (both original copies and photocopies).

Here is the list of the core documentary requirements that you need to prepare for this type of correction:

    • Notarized petition for Change of Name available at any local civil registry office.
    • PSA Birth Certificate containing the entry you wish to correct.
    • NBI clearance, police clearance., civil registry records of ascendants, or other clearances that the local civil registrar may request.
    • Any 2 valid public or private IDs or documents which would serve as the basis for the correction:
      • Certificate of Employment
      • Affidavit of Non-Employment
      • Community tax certificate (cedula)
      • Baptismal certificate
      • School record Form 137/diplomas/transcripts
      • Medical certificate
      • Voter’s ID/certificate/affidavit
      • SSS ID
      • GSIS ID
      • Driver’s license
      • PRC license
      • Company ID
      • Insurance
      • Land title/certificate of transfer of title
      • Bank records/passbook
      • Marriage certificate
      • Philhealth ID
      • Pag-IBIG ID

Fees: As for the filing fee, prepare at least Php 3,000 (for local applicants) or $150 or the equivalent value in local currency (for those who are abroad). Prepare to pay a publication fee of ranging from Php 1,200 and Php 2,500 in addition to other notarization and requirement-related fees.

Incorrect Gender or Date or Month of Birth Correction

Correcting wrong gender checked on your birth certificate (e.g., Male is checked when you’re a female or vice versa) requires a petition pursuant to R.A. 10172. To get the process started, the affiant needs to appear before a doctor assigned at the local civil registrar where the petition will be processed. The medical exam is to ensure no sex transplant has occurred prior to the request for birth certificate correction.

To file a petition, the affiant must bring the original and photocopies of the following:

  • Notarized petition to correct wrong gender or incorrect day/month of birth from the local civil registrar’s office where the birth was registered.
  • PSA Birth Certificate showing the incorrect entry
  • NBI Clearance
  • Police/PNP Clearance
  • Certificate of Employment or Affidavit of Non-Employment
  • Elementary school records/documents, but for those who never went to school, an Affidavit attesting to the facts will do.
  • Medical records from the hospital/clinic where the applicant was born, or an Affidavit stating the facts, in case the hospital/clinic has closed down.
  • Baptismal certificate or other documents issued by the church, or an Affidavit attesting to the facts if it’s not available.
  • For married applicants, PSA Marriage Certificate and Birth Certificate of children.
  • Any 2 of the following valid public or private IDs/documents to base the correction from:
    • Income Tax Return (ITR)
    • Bank records
    • PRC license
    • Land Title or Certificate of Transfer of Title
    • Driver’s license
    • Company ID
    • Voter’s ID
    • SSS
    • GSIS
    • Philhealth
    • Pag-IBIG
  • Medical Certification issued by the city/municipal doctor or health officer after evaluating the true gender of the document owner and ensuring that no sex change/transplant took place.

Fees: The filing fee is at Php 3,000 (for local applicants) or $150 or the equivalent value in local currency (for those filing the petition abroad). Plus, a publication fee ranging from Php 1,200 to Php 2,500 and other notarization and requirement-related fees.

Clerical Error Correction

Blurred entries in the birth certificate don’t always require an administrative correction. If the PSA birth certificate is blurred but the local civil registrar (LCR) copy is not, then an endorsement for LCR to forward the clearer document to PSA should be enough. However, if both the PSA and LCR copy of birth documents are blurred, then it can count as clerical error even under the provisions of R.A. 9048.

For correction of clerical errors, you will need to prepare the following requirements:

  • PSA Birth Certificate with the blurred entry that needs correction.
  • Any 2 public or private documents/IDs which will serve as basis for the clerical error correction:
    • NBI clearance
    • Police clearance
    • Land title or certificate of land transfer
    • Insurance
    • Driver’s license
    • Civil registry records of ascendants
    • Medical record
    • Employment record
    • Business record
    • Voter’s affidavit
    • Baptismal certificate
    • GSIS/SSS record
  • Any other document requested by the local civil registrar.

Fees: For local applicants, a filing fee amounting to Php 1,000 or $50 or equivalent value in local currency (for applicants abroad) is necessary. Notarization and other document processing fees may also raise the total amount of fees to as high as Php 2,000.

Supplemental Report

All birth certificate corrections that don’t fit in any of the first three categories usually require a supplemental report. This is the cheapest, easiest, and fastest birth certificate correction that you can process. You can also make a maximum of 2 changes though the supplemental report.

The most common error of this type is the absence of a name–whether it’s the first, middle, or last name–in the birth documents. Filing a supplemental report at the local civil registrar where the birth was reported would allow you to supply the missing entry, provided that the document owner is a legitimate child. An illegitimate child may also file for a supplemental report to use his/her mother’s last name as a middle name, if he/she is acknowledged by the father.

If this is the type of correction that you need, then here’s a rundown of the basic requirements that you need:

  • PSA Birth Certificate containing the entry that needs correction.
  • An affidavit showing the missing entry (for those with no first, middle, or last name) and the reason/s why the required entry was missing.
  • At least 2 to 3 valid public or private documents/IDs that show the correct personal information:
    • GSIS/SSS record
    • Medical record
    • Voter’s affidavit
    • Employment record
    • Business record
    • School record
    • Driver’s license
    • Insurance
    • Land titles or certificate of land transfer
    • Civil registry records of ascendants
    • NBI clearance or police clearance
  • Other documents that are relevant to your case that may be requested by the local civil registrar.

Fees: Approximately Php 1,000 or less.

Judicial correction

If the error on your birth certificate is so substantial, then this will require judicial proceedings and any document that contains information on the entries you wish to correct on your birth records. The documentary requirements will vary depending on the errors requiring corrections. Nevertheless, no matter what error it is that requires judicial correction, this will be evaluated after being filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC).

Fees: For judicial corrections, you will need to prepare to pay court fees. This includes the fees for initial filing, sheriff’s, photocopying, postage, and notarization fees. Plus, you will also need to pay for newspaper fees for the mandatory three-week publication requirement; lawyer’s professional fees, pleading fees, and court appearance fees.

3. Proceed to the appropriate government office to file your petition for correction.

For any of the error correction process mentioned above, they don’t require an online appointment. However, it is a must for you to appear before the local civil registrar when filing the petition, especially since most LCR don’t honor Special Power of Attorney (SPA) if the owner of the birth certificate to be corrected is not present.

Authorized representatives may personally appear at the LCR on behalf of applicants who are minor or physically/mentally incapacitated.

If you have already moved to another place, and going to the place where the birth happened is impossible, then you can take advantage of the so-called “migrant petition” and proceed to the nearest civil registrar to process your birth certificate correction. Note that while “migrant petition” is allowed, it is more expensive and takes longer processing time.

For OFWs or those who are living abroad, petition to correct errors on birth documents can be filed and processed at the Philippine Consulate or Embassy where the birth was reported.

Tips to Make the Process of Correcting Errors on Your Birth Certificate Easier

Especially for OFWs, requesting help in correcting errors on your birth certificate from the Philippine embassy is the best way. However, it not always the fastest or the most practical. Because it will have to go through the same local offices in the Philippines, the process happens twice, so it takes much longer to process.

With this in mind, here are some valuable tips you can use to save yourself the trouble when correcting errors in your birth documents:

  • If you are abroad and you wish to have an authorized representative or family member file the request, then you need an SPA.
  • Make sure you prepare LCR’s required documents and that you coordinate with all the concerned agencies to address any unforeseen problem immediately.
  • At the risk of being a pest, make sure you constantly follow-up with your authorized representative.
  • Once approved, you may bring the document to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for annotation.

Any documentary error, especially on your birth certificate, needs immediate resolution to minimize the delays of the process. Also, since the passport law is very strict with registered names, the best advice you can get, is to ask someone for help and maintain constant communication with that person while the process is ongoing.

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