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Can a birth certificate be updated?

Very few circumstances exist whereby a birth certificate can be amended. This is because they are considered historical documents which were correct at the time of issue. In most cases you will not be able to have your birth certificate amended and if you wish to legally change your name, you will have to apply for a deed poll.

Changing a child's forenames

You may apply to the register office where the birth certificate was originally registered to have your child's forename amended on his birth certificate providing the new name was given to him either in baptism or by regular use within twelve months of the birth being registered.

Change of forename in baptism

If your child was given their new forename in baptism, you must obtain "Form 13" from your local registry office and then take it to the Vicar or Minister of the Church where the child was baptised. They will complete the form (for which they will usually require a fee) and then you can return it to the registry office where the amended names will be inserted into space seventeen of the birth certificate.

Change of forename by use

If you are applying to change the forename on your child's birth certificate because the new name has been in general use within the first twelve months of his life, you must obtain and complete "Form 14" from the registry office where the birth was originally registered.

If you are completing the form within the first twelve months after the birth was registered, you do not need to provide any evidence, but if you're applying after the first twelve months, you'll need to provide some documentary evidence that the new name has been in general use within the first year of the child's life. The documentary evidence can be in the form of a dated bank statement, NHS letter, medical card, etc.

Changing a child's surname

Although more difficult to achieve, it is possible to have a child's birth certificate amended to show a new surname.

If the mother and father of the child were not married at the time, and the child's birth was registered without the father being recorded, you can apply to the registry office at any time to include the father's details and change the child's surname to that of its father.

If the natural mother and father of a child marry each other at any time after the registration of their child's birth, they can apply to the registry office to re-register the birth to change both the mother's and child's surname to that of the father/husband.

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