Requirements for changing the name on a Birth Certificate

Here’s the thing with birth certificates – they are a lot more important than some people seem to believe. It is not just a piece of paper, it is a record that carries a lot of weight on an institutional level. That is why, when you want to change it, the process is usually a bit more tedious and difficult than you would initially assume. 

However, it is still something that you can do if necessary. You will need to have a valid reason for that, though. And in addition to that, you will need to have a couple more things if you want the entire process to go smoothly and hassle free. That being said, let’s take a look at those things and see the requirements and rules that surround the process. 

Copyright: Pixabay | CC0 Public Domain

Before we get into the requirements, we believe it is a good idea to mention how things go when you want to change birth certificate. There are only a few limited circumstances when this is allowed. You might be wondering why, and the reason is simple – a birth certificate is a historical record. As such, it was correct when the birth was registered, and can’t be “just changed”.

And before you start the process, there’s one question that you should answer to yourself.. Do you just want to legally be known by a name that differs from the one on the birth certificate, or do you have a valid reason to have the document itself corrected? If it’s the first one, you don’t have to change the birth certificate – you can change your name by deed poll. Your deed poll document will let you change all your official documents and records to your new name.

If, however, you do need the birth certificate itself changed, there are a few circumstances that allow you to do so. You can change your name or your child’s name, and consequently, get a new birth certificate issued that shows the name. 

A full birth certificate will include a note in the margin that explains the change and has a date on which it was made. A short one will only include the corrected information.


What Are the Rules for Changing Your Name on Your Birth Certificate?

In the UK, the rules differ depending on whether the birth was registered in England or Wales, Scotland. Let’s take a look at both scenarios.

In England, you can change a child’s forename, provided the new forename was either given in Baptism. This should be done within 12 months of the birth being registered. Or, you can do it by regular use, again within 12 months of the birth being registered. 

You can also change the surname from the mother’s surname to the father’s surname if the parents are not married, and the father didn’t attend the registration. Note that for this to be done, both parents must agree, and the father’s info will be added to the birth certificate. This is also possible if the parents have married each other since the birth was registered, and the child will be a child of the parents’ marriage. 

Last but not least, you can change the child’s forename or surname, if you can provide sufficient evidence that the father on the birth certificate is not the biological father.

Copyright: Pixabay | CC0 Public Domain

In Scotland, you can change a child’s name or surname, if it is done in infancy (within a year of birth). You must have everyone with parental responsibility sign the application, and you should know this is a lengthy process. 

A person’s forename or surname can also be changed at any age. For a person under 16, this requires everyone with parental responsibility to sign. Also, if the person is below 16, only one change of forename and one change of surname can be done. To add to this, if a change of forename has been recorded in infancy, no other changes may be recorded until the age of 16. 

For a person that’s 16 or older, one change of forename, and up to three changes of the surname are allowed. However, a minimum of five years should pass from one surname change, to the next one.

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