The Type of Corrections You Can Make
There are several reasons why parents might choose to apply for a birth registration correction. One of the most common occurs when the wrong information got recorded (e.g. the father’s occupation).
Even so, there are some restrictions on what information you can correct.
As a rule, a correction must be to amend original information after you registered the birth.
The process does not usually apply to new information due to a change of circumstance. So for example, changing your name after remarrying would not be a valid reason to correct a birth certificate.
Note: There are certain situations when you can apply to re-register the birth. Examples include adding a father’s name to a birth certificate or if the natural parents decide to marry at a later date.
Removing the Wrong Father’s Name
You must apply to the General Register Office to remove the wrong father’s details. Even so, you must be able to prove the man named on the certificate is not the natural father of the child. As a rule, this would need to involve a DNA test or a court order.
Getting a Gender Change Approved
You would need approval to order a new birth certificate if you change your gender. The new registration would show your new gender once the change gets approved.
What a Birth Registration Correction Looks Like
You must get any application approved before a correction can occur. After approval, the office corrects the local register in the area where the child was born.
Even so, the register will always show the original information. The office staff will add a note to the margin of the register after the authorisation of the correction.
Note: It explains what the correct information is on a full birth certificate and the date of the correction. A note is not added to the margin of a short birth certificate. It would only show the correct new details of the child.
Who Can Apply to Correct a Birth Registration
Unlike, correcting a death registration, only certain people can apply to make a correction on a birth certificate, and they are:
- The mother of the child.
- The father of the child (providing his details have been stated on the certificate).
Note: Both parents must sign the application form (if they are both named on the birth certificate) when applying to change the name of a child. In some cases, a child named on the certificate can also apply for a correction if the parents are not available to do so.
Removing the Details of the Wrong Father
The named father does not always need to take part in the birth certificate correction process. In fact, the General Register Office can correct the entry if two of these people apply to get it changed (and at least one signs it):
- The mother of the child.
- The natural father of the child.
- The man who is named on the birth certificate as the father of the child.
You would need to provide the contact addresses for the mother, the man named as the father on the certificate, and the true biological father (if he participated in a DNA test).
How to Apply to Correct a Birth Certificate
Depending on the actual application, the cost to apply to correct a mistake to a birth registration is £75 or £90. Use the most relevant application form for your situation:
- Application form to correct details on a birth registration
- Application form to remove the wrong father’s details from a birth registration
You should locate the register office that actually registered the child’s birth. They will confirm how to send in the application, the exact cost, and a method of payment.
How to Prove the Original Registration is Wrong
You must be able to show how the information given during the registration was wrong. So, you will need to send in some documents with your application.
The documentation should show what the correct information should have been. The documents should either be valid or dated around the time the child was born.
The typical kind of documents used to prove wrongness can include:
- A bank, Building society, or credit card statement.
- A letter from a doctor or a hospital (or a government department).
- A passport (or photocard driving licence).
Note: In most cases, failure to send in documented proof means the corrections cannot usually be carried out. They will destroy all certified copies sent with an application unless you ask for a return.
Proving the Wrong Father is Named on the Certificate
You must be able to prove that the man named on the certificate is not the child’s natural father (e.g. through DNA testing). When you get a DNA test the record must come from an approved tester or via a court order that states (either):
- The man named on the birth certificate is not the father of the child.
- The name of the person who is the true biological father of the child.
Sending Certified Documents
They will not accept certain kinds of documents. So, make sure you send in certified documents as true copies of the originals.
Witnessing the Correction
You should arrange an appointment if the correction to a birth registration is being made at your register office. You will then be able to witness the correction and sign the note made in margin of the birth register.
The process differs if you are applying to the General Register Office. You should state that you want to witness the correction on the application form instead.
Making a Statutory Declaration
The GRO can ask you to send a ‘statutory declaration’ to them about the change to a birth certificate. As a rule, it happens most when someone applies to correct a serious mistake (e.g. a person’s name).
If so, it means you would need to make a legal statement in front of someone such as a judge or a solicitor. They would need to sign the statement. This process for witnessing a statutory declaration is often called ‘attesting an oath’ in legal terms.
Note: Make a statutory declaration means you would not need to witness the correction. Even so, there may still be a fee to pay.
How Long will the Applications Take to Process?
There is no set time given for the process of correcting a birth registration. As a general rule, you should allow up to four weeks to get a reply.
Further Help and Advice
You can contact either your local register office or the General Register Office (GRO). They can offer you further advice on applying to make a birth certificate correction in England and Wales.