How to Change a Birth Certificate in Tennessee

Mother looking her newborn child
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In Tennessee, a person can request a change to their birth certificate by contacting the Office of Vital Records in Nashville. It costs $15 to amend a birth certificate if more than a year after the birth.

A birth certificate can also be amended to remove the father’s name based on a rescission of voluntary acknowledgment of paternity to undo the establishment of the father’s legal rights as a parent to the child. There is no fee for amending a birth certificate in the first year, except in the case of a rescission or mistake in a birth record, such as a rescission of a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity.

Common Changes to Birth Certificate

How to Correct Common Mistakes on a Birth Certificate

Type of Mistakes on Birth Certificate

Items Needed to Correct

Given name (first name) or middle name is spelled incorrectly.

Typically, a court order.

Name was legally changed.

1. An original, certified copy of the court order effecting the name change.

2. A check or money order for the required amendment fee.

3. An additional fee for a copy of the corrected certificate.

Date of birth is incorrect.

1. Signed and notarized affidavit showing the full name and date of birth as shown on the certificate and the date of birth as it should be correctly listed.

2. Documentary evidence supporting the correct date of birth.

3. A check or money order for the required amendment fee.

4. An additional fee for a copy of the corrected certificate.

Sex is incorrect.

1. Signed and notarized affidavit.

2. Documentary evidence showing the correct sex of the person.

3. A check or money order for the required amendment fee.

4. An additional fee for a copy of the corrected certificate.

Parent's name, date of birth or place of birth is incorrect.

Typically, a court order.

In many cases, a court order, notarized affidavit or other acceptable documentary evidence is required to correct a mistake on a birth certificate. A person should request a court order from the court clerk’s office in their county of residence.

Preparation of a Notarized Affidavit

A notarized affidavit is a written statement that a person makes under oath and signs in the presence of a notary public. The notary public places their seal on the legal document to verify that the signature is authentic. The affidavit submitted to the Tennessee Office of Vital Records must be signed by either the:

  • Registrant (the person making the statement under oath) if they are over 18.
  • Parent listed on the birth certificate or the legal guardian of the child listed on the certificate, if the registrant is under 18. If the legal guardian signs, they must include a copy of the guardianship papers.

The affidavit should contain the name of the person making the request and the date; the incorrect information as listed on the certificate; and the data as it should be listed.

Acceptable Documentary Evidence

Acceptable documentary evidence submitted in support of an amendment should be the oldest document available. Such evidence must provide:

  • Support for the facts of the amendment request. For example, if the person requests that their name be changed, they must show their name as they wish it to appear on the certificate.
  • Date on which the document was created.
  • Registrant’s full name and date of birth or age.

The documentary evidence must be at least five years old. Sometimes older documents are required. If the amendment is for a child under 5, the document must have been created as close to the date of birth as possible.

Examples of acceptable documentary evidence include:

  • School Record.‌ This is obtainable from the Board of Education in the county or district where the person attends or attended school.
  • Marriage Certificate.‌ If the marriage occurred in Tennessee during 1951 or later, the person should provide the names of the parties who were married and the date of marriage. The Tennessee Office of Vital Records will retrieve the certificate.
  • Birth Certificate.‌ If the birth occurred in Tennessee within the past 100 years, the person should provide the child’s name and date of birth. The Tennessee Office of Vital Records will retrieve the certificate.
  • SSN.‌ Social Security number, obtainable from the Social Security Administration.
  • Federal Census Record.‌ This is obtainable from U.S. Government Archives.

Request a Copy of a Birth Certificate

The necessary items a person needs to get a copy of their birth certificate in Tennessee are:

  • Completed and signed application for a certified copy of certificate of birth.
  • Acceptable form of identification.
  • Payment of appropriate fee. The fee for a birth certificate, a replacement, first copy or each additional copy, is $15 per copy.

The fee for amending a certificate more than one year after the date of the event is $15. The fee for preparing a new birth certificate due to adoption, legitimization (legalizing the status of a child born out of wedlock), or order of parentage is also $15.

If the Tennessee Office of Vital Records cannot locate a birth certificate, it will send the requesting party a letter certifying that no record was found. The fee for a “no record found” letter is $15, the same as for a certified copy.

Tennessee Identification Requirements

These documents are acceptable forms of identification:

  • Photocopy of a government-issued identification card that includes the signature of the requester, such as a driver’s license.
  • Notarized application for a certified copy.
  • Mother’s copy of the birth certificate issued at the hospital at the time of birth may be used for identification when obtaining a newborn’s birth certificate. The mother’s copy must be dated within the last two calendar years.

Entitlement to Request a Birth Certificate

If a person requesting the birth certificate is not a qualified applicant, meaning the person themselves or the parent, child or spouse of the person named in the birth certificate, the requester must present documents that support their right to the certificate.

Entitlement documents include custody orders, insurance policies denoting the beneficiaries, and letters of testamentary, which are certified documents granted by the probate court authorizing the executor of a will to collect and distribute the assets of person who died. The fastest way for a person to get their birth certificate in the state of Tennessee is in person at their local county health department.

Issuance of Birth Certificates by County Health Departments

All county health departments are able to issue birth or death certificates registered statewide with Tennessee vital records. A county office may limit the time period for which it will issue birth certificates. For example, the Shelby County Office of Vital Records issues birth certificates only for births dated after 1924.

A certificate of birth for a newborn child may not be available from a county health department for approximately 45 days after the department receives the original certificate from the hospital or birthing facility.

Other Ways to Obtain a Tennessee Birth Certificate

Other ways to get a birth certificate in Tennessee include:

  • In-person request at the Office of Vital Records, open Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. First floor, Andrew Johnson Tower, 710 James Roberston Parkway, Nashville, TN 37243.
  • Mail

birth certificate application form

to the Office of Vital Records in Nashville.
* Order online through VitalChek, the company contracted to provide this service for the state of Tennessee.

VitalChek charges an additional fee of between $11 and $26.50 for its service. This fee does not include the cost of shipping the record to the requesting party.

With an online order through VitalChek:

  • For the UPS Next Day Air Saver option, the agency (Office of Vital Records) processing time is three to seven days business days; delivery time is overnight.
  • For the USPS option, the agency processing time is five to 21 business days; delivery time is seven to 10 business days.

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