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Correcting a Birth Certificate in the UK

June 1, 2020

Normally, it isn’t possible to change the name, date, or any other details on a birth certificate in the UK. That’s because a birth certificate is a historical record that states a set of facts as they existed at the time of the certificate holder’s birth. Though it is possible to change your legal name, typically, this process involves a Deed Poll and a process that does not actually change the name on your birth certificate, but rather, overrides it (with the new name).

There are, however, situations that allow the birth certificate holder or a parent to correct the name or other details on the birth certificate. In these instances, a new birth certificate will be issued by the Register Office and there is no need to go through the Deed Poll process. This new birth certificate functions just like the original one and the holder can use it to change all records such as passports and a driving licence to the new name.

After you make corrections to an original birth certificate, the original information never goes away. It is always shown in the register and a note is added in the margin of the newly issued birth certificate that explains what information was corrected and when the correction was registered. The application cost for the correction of a birth certificate is between £75 and £90.

Changing a Mistake on a UK Birth Certificate

Occasionally, errors are made during the registration of a birth certificate and in these cases, changes can be made. The person who originally registered the birth should apply for the correction at the same Register Office that issued the original birth certificate. Be prepared to supply documentary evidence of the child’s actual name. Bring certified documents such as the ones listed below that show the use of the correct name from the earliest possible date:

●       Bank statement

●       NHS letter

●       Medical card

Who can change the information on a UK birth certificate?

Changing the date, location, or name on a birth certificate is not a privilege that’s extended to just anyone in the UK. Only the guardian (or a person who has parental responsibility for the child), mother, or father of a child can apply to have a child’s forename changed on the birth certificate. In order to make a correction to a birth certificate in the UK, it must be clear that the name was originally recorded incorrectly during registration. The process involved in making a correction to a UK birth certificate varies depending on whether the child has been baptised or not.

Correcting the Birth Certificate of a Baptised Child

Guardians or parents of children who are given a new forename through baptism will have to contact the minister who oversees the baptismal register and have the minister fill out Form 13 (or Form 13W for births that were registered in Wales). The process is detailed below:

●       Provide Form 13 or 13W to the vicar or minister of the church with the baptismal record and ask that it be filled out.

●       There will be a small charge for this service.

●       Bring the completed form to the Register Office.

●       The new, corrected name will be written in space 17 located at the end of the original birth certificate.

Correcting the Birth Certificate of an Unbaptised Child

A different form is used to change the name of an unbaptised child when a correction needs to be made to a birth certificate. Use Form 14 (or Form 14W for births that were registered in Wales) to make the necessary changes and then return it to the Register Office.

In the UK, if the birth certificate correction is made after 12 months or more have passed since the birth was registered, you will have to provide some kind of evidence that the new forename has been in use over the 12 months following registration. Below are example documents that could be used to prove the use of a forename in the UK:

●       Bank statements

●       Immunisation cards

●       NHS letters

Be sure to send in certified documents or documents that have been certified as authentic copies of the original.

If you no longer reside in the same district where the birth registration was originally made, you can visit a different Register Office in either England or Wales and have it forwarded to the proper office. Adding a new name to the birth register costs nothing, but there is a charge to show a new forename.

Correcting a Spelling Mistake on a Birth Certificate

Though it doesn’t happen all the time, the Register Office does sometimes make spelling errors on birth certificates. When this happens, the original applicant for the birth certificate (the guardian or parent of a child) should go to the same Register Office that registered the birth and apply for the correction in person. Take documents with you to demonstrate the error on the birth certificate. Ideally, you should bring the earliest dated documents you can find to demonstrate the correct spelling of the name. A bank statement, medical card, or NHS letter are good examples of documents that can be used to show that an error exists on the birth certificate.

Changing the Surname on a UK Birth Certificate

The surname of a child can be changed if the child’s parents weren’t married at the time of the birth registration and the father was not a part of the registration process. In instances such as these, it is possible to alter the birth certificate to include the father’s name and details. However, both parents must agree to make the amendments to the birth certificate.

On the other hand, if the parents were unmarried when the birth was registered and the father’s details were listed on the birth certificate and his surname was given to the child, the birth certificate can’t be changed. In a situation like this, if the mother wanted to change the child’s surname she would only be able to do it through a Deed Poll.

If the child’s parents marry after the birth has been registered, the birth should be registered anew to show that the child is the product of the parent’s marriage. During re-registration, the child’s surname can be changed to that of the father. The mother’s name can also be changed at this time, if she takes the father’s surname, to reflect her new name after marriage. If the parents double-barrel their surnames, or combine them in some other way after marriage, this name can be used on the re-issued birth certificate. Both parents have to agree to the changes that are made at re-registration following marriage. The easiest way to re-register a birth is for both parents to go to the Register Office together.

Changing the Forename on a UK Birth Certificate

In the UK, it is possible to either add or amend a forename on a birth certificate as long as the new forename was given either through baptism or through regular daily use within the first year after the birth was registered. A forename change can only be made once! Children who have been baptised within 12 months of their birth registration may only have their baptismal forename(s) added to the register.

Changing the Gender on a UK Birth Certificate

To change the gender on your birth certificate, you must have your legal gender confirmed by the Gender Recognition Panel. Once you receive your Gender Recognition Certificate, your amended birth certificate will be issued with your new gender as well as a new name, if desired. To apply for a gender change you must fulfill certain requirements and prove the following:

●       You have been living as your acquired gender for the previous 2 years.

●       You wish to permanently remain as your new gender.

●       You either currently suffer from or have suffered in the past from gender dysphoria.

How can I correct my birth certificate online?

Contact the General Register Office at grocasework@gro.gov.uk or by textphone (1-8001-0300-123-1837)  to find out if you can make the birth certificate correction remotely, the cost, and how to pay for the correction. Or call 0300-123-1837 to talk to someone directly about your situation. Typically, it takes about 25 days to get a reply after the application has been submitted to the Register Office.

Can I change my name without going to court?

If you’d like to legally change your name (as opposed to making a correction) without going to court in the UK, a Deed Poll will be necessary. Once you’ve applied for a Deed Poll through the online application system, you will be able to change your name on all of your official documents including the following:

●       Passport

●       Tax records

●       Bank Accounts

●       Driving licence

●       More...

To begin the application process for a Deed Poll, click here.

How much is a replacement birth certificate UK?

If you lost your birth certificate or if you need a certified copy of your birth certificate, the cost will be £11 if you have your GRO index reference number. If you don’t have this reference number, you must pay an additional £3 for each search. Replacement certificates are issued after 4 days when the application includes the GRO index reference number. When the GRO index reference number is not included, certificates are issued after 15 days. If you do not have the GRO index reference number and you need expedited service, you can pay an additional £35 to receive it sooner.

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