How to Amend a Birth Certificate From California

By Marci Sothern

Vital statistics are official records used to identify a country’s citizens. They include documents such as birth, marriage and death certificates. In the United States, each state maintains these records. Sometimes errors may accidentally be entered on these documents, and each state has established its own rules for correcting this information. California citizens can use amendments to correct any spelling errors and to complete any blank items on birth certificates.

Go to the "Correcting or Amending Vital Records" page on the California Department of Public Health website and click on the "OVR Forms" link to order an Affidavit to Amend a Record, VS 24. Enter the security code provided and fill out the "Request for Amendment or Registration Form." You can also obtain the affidavit by calling the agency's Customer Service Unit at 916-445-2684 or by going to any county registrar-recorder or county health department. This form is an official record printed on special bond paper, and a photocopy is not acceptable.

Complete the VS 24. Follow all directions carefully and fill in each item on the form. Use a typewriter or a pen with black ink. If you use a pen, print clearly and do not use whiteout. Officials will return any illegible forms for you to complete again.

Include any required documentation such as a photocopy of the current birth certificate if available, documentation from the hospital to support the correction of a hospital error, and a copy of the parents’ birth certificate or their driver’s licenses or passports if changing their information on their child’s birth certificate. You may request a certified copy of the corrected certificate by including a notarized sworn statement, which comes with the affidavit, and paying the processing fee noted on the statement with a check or money order.

Mail the completed form, necessary documentation and any required fees outlined in the VS 24 form to the following address:

California Office of Vital Records M.S. 5103 P.O. Box 997410 Sacramento, CA 95899-7410

Wait for the California Health Department to process your request. If you paid a fee of any type as outlined in the affidavit, the agency will send you a postcard letting you know it has received your form and providing a rough estimate of the processing time for your request. This is a lengthy process and can take up to seven months. If you do not pay a fee, you will not receive any type of communication from the Health Department or be able to check on the status of your request.

About the Author

Marci Sothern has written as a tutor in the academic field since 1999. She holds a bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in political science from the University of Texas at Tyler. Her main areas of expertise include American history, comparative politics, international relations and political theory.

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