There are a variety of reasons why you might want to make a change to a birth certificate: Perhaps the birth certificate contains an error, maybe you want your birth certificate to reflect a sex change, or maybe you’d like to change a child’s birth certificate after a name change, adoption or a change in parentage status. If you live in California, the place to start is with the California Department of Public Health’s vital records office. There you can find the forms and instructions on how to make the change you seek.
How to Make Amendments to California Birth Certificates
If your birth certificate or that of your child contains an error, you can amend the certificate through the vital health office. Amendments to a birth certificate can be used to correct spelling errors, add information that was left blank, correct the spelling of parents’ names or information, or add an aka (also known as) name change for parents if they have legally changed their names through the court.
To request an amendment, fill out an Affidavit to Amend a Record Form VS 24. Include a copy of the current birth certificate, along with any other supporting documentation. Mail the documents, along with the fee – $23 if the correction is to the sex field or if the birth occurred more than one year ago to:
California Department of Public Health Vital Records - M.S. 5103, P.O. Box 997410, Sacramento, CA 95899-7410
The processing time is between six to eight weeks.
How to Get a New Birth Certificate After a Sex Change
If you want to change the sex specified on your birth certificate to match your sex identity, submit an affidavit requesting a change of sex using Form VS 24. Along with the Affidavit to Amend a Record, you must also submit either an affidavit attesting that the reason for the change is to match your sex identity and not for a fraudulent reason, or submit a certified copy of a court order that changes your sex along with any other supporting documentation. If you also want to change your name on the new birth certificate, you must include a certified copy of a court order reflecting the name change.
Mail the form, documents and fee to the vital records office. The processing time is six to eight weeks.
Read More: How Do I Get New a Birth Certificate After a Name Change?
How to Amend a Birth Certificate to Reflect an Adoption
After an adoption, a new birth certificate will be prepared by the vital records office in the state where the child was born. To begin this process, you must send the Court Report of Adoption Form VS 44, along with either a copy of the Adoption Order or the Final Decree of Adoption to the California Department of Public Health-Vital Records (CDPH-VR). If the child was born in another state, CDPH-VR will forward Form VS 44 to the correct state to prepare the new birth certificate.
Mail the documents, along with a $20 fee if the adoption took place outside of California, to:
California Department of Public Health Vital Records - M.S. 5103
Attn: Adoption Unit
P.O. Box 997410
Sacramento, CA 95899-7410
Once the documents are received, the office of Vital Records will prepare the new certificate and keep the submitted documents with the sealed, original birth record.
How to Add a Parent’s Name to a Birth Certificate
If you did not list both parents' names on the original birth certificate and you now would like to add a name, complete an Application to Amend a Birth Record-Acknowledgement of Paternity/Parentage Form VS 22. The form must be signed by both parents and submitted to the CDPH-VR, along with other required documentation, including either a photocopy of your marriage certificate, a copy of your state Registered Domestic Partnership Declaration or Declaration of Paternity Form CS 909.
How to Change a Birth Certificate After a Court Order
If, instead, you want to change a name on a birth certificate, or change or remove a parent listed on the child’s birth certificate, you must petition the superior court in the county where you live. If the court enters an order for the name change or an Order Adjudicating Parentage allowing the change, you may then submit a certified copy of this order, along with an Amendment of Birth Record to Reflect Court Order Change of Name FormVS 23 or Adjudication of Facts of Parentage Form VS 21, any additional documentation and a fee to the CDPH-VR.
- California Department of Public Health: Processing Times
- California Department of Public Health: Affidavit to Amend a Birth Record
- California Department of Public Health: Obtaining a New Birth Certificate After Sex Change
- California Department of Public Health: The Adoption Process
- California Department of Public Health: Acknowledgement of Paternity/Parentage
- California Department of Public Health: Adjudication of Facts of Parentage
Sally Brooks is a writer living in New York City with her chunky toddler and patient husband. She graduated magna cum laude from the University Cincinnati College of Law and her work has been featured in Jurist and the Temple Political and Civil Rights Law Review.