Birth certificates are important legal documents that prove identity and citizenship. So, if you have changed your name, it’s important to update your birth certificate. Otherwise, you will not be able to use it for any official purposes.
However, you should be aware that you do not have to change your name on your birth certificate if your name has changed due to marriage or divorce. You only need to update your birth certificate if you have legally changed your name through a court order.
You will, of course, have to update all of your IDs after changing your name. However, if you change your name on your birth certificate first, it will make the process much easier. Since you will have a valid, official document showing your new name.
Requirements to change your name on your birth certificate
Before you can change your name on your birth certificate, you must have your name legally changed. To do this, you must petition the court and have a valid reason for the change. This process varies by state, however, you will generally have to:
- File a petition with your local county court
- Pay the required processing and court fees
- Go before a judge and explain why you need to change your name
- Present any evidence to support your case
If the judge grants your request, then your name will be legally changed. They will present you with a court order that you can use as evidence of your new name to update your birth certificate.
However, if you are changing the name of your child, the process may be different. Parents can change their infant’s name just by filling out a few forms and submitting them to the vital records office. But, if the child is over one year old, their parents or legal guardians must petition the court on their behalf for a legal name change. A minor cannot request a legal name change on their own.
Applying to change your name on your birth certificate
Once you have your court order granting your legal name change, you can update your birth certificate. You can do this by filing for an amendment with the vital records office in your birth state. It must be done through the state you were born in, since each state keeps their own birth records separately.
You must submit:
- An completed and signed amendment application
- A certified copy of the court order
- A certified copy of your current birth certificate
- Payment for the processing fees
If you don’t have a certified copy of your current birth certificate, you can go in person to a vital records office in your birth state to apply for one. However, a more convenient option is to apply online using a trusted application assistance service, like Birth Certificate Copy.
Depending on your state, the vital records office will either issue a brand new birth certificate or amend your current birth certificate. Either way, they will change your name on your birth certificate and send you an updated copy by mail.
You may want to order additional copies as well. Since you will need to use your updated birth certificate to change the name on all of your other IDs. Your new certified birth certificate copies will be legally valid to use as proof of identity, age, and citizenship.