Correction or Change of Certificate
What is the procedure: via the Agency or the Court?
Each case is different. To analyze your case, it is necessary that you first send us an inquiry through our contact form and choose the "Certificate (Corrections)" option. In that query, you will need to upload or attach the current Certificate, if you have one, and specify exactly what change is required. Our analysis will include the possibility to verify initially with the Demographic Registry, free of charge, and then confirm the procedure to follow.
If you have already received any previous communication from the PR Demographic Registry, you should include that letter in your inquiry to us. Sometimes, when there are errors from the Demographic Registry itself, they can be corrected via the agency. For example, when the Certificate originally had the correct date of birth and then, because of some internal agency error, it was changed by mistake.
In general, for most corrections, it is necessary to go to the court court. This is because, at the time of registering a newborn, the parent is the one who certifies with his or her signature that the information provided is correct. Therefore, if more than 30 days have passed since the original registration, and the error was not due to the agency, then the court is the only one who can order the Population Registry to make the change. Without a doubt, going to court always involves more work, which is why the cost is higher.
Correction or Change of Certificate: Via the Court
If your issue is 1) a correction, or, 2) a name change, you will have to go to court, as summarized here:
1. Correction: for the Birth Certificate to officially show that the person's name is "also known by" another name. This legal procedure is known in Latin as "Ad Perpetuam Rei Memoriam".which means "information that is made judicially and preventively, so that it will be recorded in the future". This is the most common type of name change as it helps to preserve the tract of names previously used.
However, when it comes to correcting the date of birth, approval will depend in part on evidence you have. In such an example, the record from the hospital where you were born, indicating the correct date of birth, would be the best evidence, if you can obtain it. In this way, the prosecutor who will evaluate the case will be able to give his approval and the judge will issue the final decision. Each case is different and everything will depend on the evidence you have.
2. Name change: less common. This option is available when the person wishes to completely change his or her name, for example, from John to Richard. However, under this alternative, any previous use of the original name would be completely eliminated.
Do I have to be present in Puerto Rico?
No, that is what legal representation is for. In the vast majority of cases we can work the case completely online. online. However, in a few situations, the judge may require your physical presence in PR, although since the COVID-19 pandemic, court cases have almost all been virtual (via Zoom®). However, this will depend on several factors, such as: if you live and work outside of PR, your age, if you have any health condition, etc.
What if I already have a U.S. court order?
Generally, corrections to vital records certificates are supposed to be made in the same state or country where the person was born. For example, if the person was born in California, then a Puerto Rico court cannot order the Los Angeles Vital Records Office to correct an error on a Certificate there. This is because a PR court does not have jurisdiction over an agency or entity of another state.
The same happens the other way around. That is, if a person is born in PR, then he/she has to make any corrections to his/her Certificate here on the island. The only exception is that if the person has already obtained an order from a U.S. court, then he/she can validate it through another judicial procedure known as "exequatur". However, that process is somewhat complicated and tedious, so it is easier and more advisable to make the correction or change completely from a court in PR.
How long does the whole process take?
It depends. If the correction could be done within the Demographic Registry itself, that is, via the agency, the process would take only 30 days.
However, if the correction is via the court, then it is about 90 days. In addition, we have an express service express service (45 days), for an additional cost at the time of payment. The time frame will depend on several factors, for example, how quickly you can email us the evidence needed for your case, in addition to signing an affidavit that we will then send you.
The shipping cost will be automatically calculated depending on the address you enter when finalizing your order.
What does the cost include?
The cost of a correction or change of certificate includes all work to be performed by the attorney, either "via the agency" or "via the court". For court cases, if necessary, we can offer you a payment plan, with a 50% deposit, and the balance to be paid at the end.
When it is via the court, we take care of preparing the petition to be sworn and get some additional certifications required. For example, the negative certification of alimony from PR and the negative certificate of criminal record, even if you live abroad. Again, these certifications will be processed by the attorney on behalf of the client.
It is important to note that correction through the court cannot be made by a person convicted of perjury or fraud.
To obtain the new, corrected certificate at the end, you must also add the new Certificate to your order, as this is a different procedure.
The shipping cost of your Certificate once corrected will be automatically calculated depending on the address you enter when paying for your order. We ship anywhere in the world. Shipments to the U.S. or PR are via federal mail and international shipments via FedEx® or UPS®.
What if I still have doubts or questions?
If even after reading this you have any doubts or questions, you can visit our FAQ section. You can also send us a brief message through our contact form, choosing the "Certificate (Corrections)" option.