How to Get a Philippine Birth Certificate

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Whether you're applying for a job, getting married or filling out legal paperwork, at some point someone is going to ask to see a copy of your Philippine birth certificate. This document is a vital record for proving your identity. Fortunately, getting a copy of this document has never been easier. You can do it the traditional way by walk-in application to one of the designated offices the next time you visit the Philippines, or instead, eliminate all the headaches by ordering online.

About Philippine Birth Certificates

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) maintains a database of all recorded births in the Philippines. This agency has been converting original paper birth certificates, issued by the local civil registrar for babies born in the district, to digital format. This means that birth records are easily accessed through a central database. Unless you were born in or before 1945, your birth certificate should appear as a digital file.

When you order your Philippine birth certificate, what you're actually getting is a certified copy of your birth certificate which officials print from the digital archive.

Who Can Order a Birth Certificate?

Everyone can order their own birth certificate – all you need is valid photo ID. You can also request a birth certificate on behalf of your spouse, child or legal charge (if that person is a minor) with your own identification. In all other situations, you'll need a letter of authorization to request the birth certificate of someone else, and you'll need to prove your own identity and that of the birth certificate owner. These rules are in place to protect confidentiality. Violating them is a criminal offense punishable by fines and imprisonment.

Request a Birth Certificate Online

If you're resident in the United States, the quickest and easiest way to request a Philippine birth certificate is online via the PSA Serbilis web portal. Simply navigate to the website and follow the instructions on screen. You'll need to fill out your name, address, date and place of birth, mother's maiden name and father's name before hitting "submit." The fee for delivery to the U.S. currently is $20.30 and you can pay using a credit card.

Your copies should arrive in the mail within six to eight weeks after payment; expedited options are available for a higher fee.

Walk-In Applications

If you're visiting the Philippines, it's really easy to get a copy of your birth certificate as a walk-in at a Census Serbilis Center. Serbilis has multiple branches nationwide – find a complete list on the PSA Serbilis website. Fill out an order form, prove your identity and pay the fee (currently 140 PHP per copy). The center accepts multiple forms of identification including your passport, student identification card, driver's license, police clearance or an employer's ID bearing your signature.

As a walk-in to a Serbilis center, your order will be processed while you wait. You should get your copies within one to two hours depending on how busy the center is. However, if your certificate is unconverted – meaning it has not been converted to digital form – then staff will have to manually search the paper archives to find your birth certificate. This will take longer, typically up to 10 business days.

SM Business Centers, which are usually located within SM Department Stores, offer the same walk-in service but at a slightly higher price (currently 160 PHP per copy). There are more branches available, but your copies may take longer to process. Somewhere in the region of four to six days is the norm.

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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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