Can You Legally Change a Birthdate?

By Jayne Thompson - Updated March 15, 2018
Old folded birth certificate in red ink

The short answer is no, you cannot change your birth date. You were born when you were born, and this date is recorded on your birth certificate in order to prove your identity. Rewriting the official records to change your birth date could be seen as an act of fraud. The only exception is if the birth date was recorded incorrectly. In that case, it would be legal to correct the mistake by supplying the required documentation.

Tip

You cannot change a birth date unless the date on your birth certificate was recorded in error.

Learn Your State's Rules

States have their own rules for correcting birth certificates. Some states will change your birth certificate upon the presentation of an affidavit with evidence of the correct birth date. Others require a court order. To find your state's rules, navigate to the Center for Disease Control's Vital Records website. Click on your state's link, then read the section titled "Birth." This gives you the address and contact number for your state Department of Health Services, which you can contact for information.

Correcting a Minor's Birth Certificate

Most states will correct a birth certificate within one year of a child's birth without requiring a court order. While each state has different requirements, you generally fill out a few forms to make the change. For older children, parents typically must provide evidence of the correct birth date and complete a minor affidavit. Evidence is generally acceptable if it was established close to the child's birth and comes from an official source such as hospital records, a pediatrician's record, immunization records or a baptismal certificate.

Correcting an Adult's Birth Certificate

To correct the month, day or year of an adult's birth certificate, submit an affidavit to your state's vital records department together with evidence of your date of birth. This might be a census record or an elementary school record showing the year you entered school. The record you submit must show the full date of birth and not merely your age. The state department of vital records can help you work through the application and tell you what evidence you need.

Getting a Court Order

Some states require a court order before they will correct a birth date. You can file a petition for correction of a clerical error with the family court in the county where the birth was registered. Attach evidence of the correct birth date per the documents described above. The judge will either approve the correction or invite you to attend a hearing so she can hear your case. Once you receive a correction order, file it with the Vital Statistics office to have your birth certificate changed.

Informally Changing Your Birth Date

While you have to record your legal birth date on your birth certificate, there is nothing to stop you from celebrating your birthday on a different day. People lie about their age all the time. As long as you write the correct birth date on official documents, you can have any birthday you choose.

About the Author

Jayne Thompson earned an LLB in Law and Business Administration from the University of Birmingham and an LLM in International Law from the University of East London. She practiced in various “big law” firms before launching a career as a commercial writer. Her work has appeared on numerous legal blogs including Quittance, Upcounsel and Medical Negligence Experts. Find her at www.whiterosecopywriting.com.

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