Correcting your NSO Birth Certificate (3 Major Corrections Explained)

If you’re looking to correct or change information on your birth certificate, then this post is for you.

I provide an overview of all the administrative changes you can do including costs, timeline, process and requirements (with the exception of illegitimate children, which I do not handle here).

I also provide an overview of the cost, timeline, process and requirements should you need to go to Court.

So, if you want to know what you need to do to change most things on your Birth Certificate, you’ve come to the right place.

Contents

How We Got Our Information and Pro Tips from Local Civil Registrars

Why You Need to Correct Your Birth Certificate

Changes You Can Do Yourself: Administrative Proceedings

Changes You Cannot Do Yourself: Judicial Proceedings

How We Got Our Information and Pro Tips from Local Civil Registrars

I’ve based this post on the Philippine Statistics Authority Guidelines.

I’ve also added information from  6 first-hand accounts and 8 calls to various Local Civil Registrars.

In addition, I’ve called the Legal Department of the Central Civil Registrar.

In total, at least 78 hours were spent on research and writing.

I did this because I saw a need for fresh, new information that wasn’t directly copied from the Philippine Statistics Authority Website. I also saw the need for a post that summarized the different types of administrative proceedings.

There was some really great practical advice from the Local Registrars that I haven’t seen written about elsewhere.

    1. As much as possible, go to the Civil Registrar where your birth was recorded. You might also decide to give a relative a Special Power of Attorney and photocopies of IDs and ask them to do it.Otherwise, you will be billed a migrant fee (which is still a cost albeit a minimal one) and the process will take longer due to the coordination between the Local Civil Registrar of your Birth and your Current Local Civil Registrar.
    2. First, figure out which Administrative proceeding you need to do.There are three main administrative proceedings – Change of First Name, Correction of Clerical Error and Supplemental Report. Please note I don’t include illegitimate children in this post since that’s a bit more involved. Each has a different cost, timeline, set of requirements and process.It’s really important for you to know which one you fall under so that you don’t have many problems. (Check out our Quick Reference List.)
    3. A maximum of 2 Supplemental Reports can be filed. You’ll have to file for Correction of Clerical Error if there are more.
    4. If you are filing two requests together, you will only be charged the more expensive cost. In the example I discussed with the Muntinlupa Civil Registrar, the 1,000 peso charge for the Correction of Clerical Error petition was waived because the person was also filing a Petition for Change of First Name and this had a 3,000 peso charge.
    5. If you are correcting your sex from male to female or from female to male, you must go to the Local Civil Registrar yourself. This cannot be done by another. However, you’ll only have to file a Supplemental Report if the sex has been left blank or both sexes are checked. (reference is a call with the Quezon City Local Civil Registrar)
    6. Be prepared for variation. While there are PSA Guidelines, implementation is often uneven.
    7. I have written a general outline here only as I found enough difference in the processes that presenting more would be futile.I’d really urge you to call ahead.
    8. Bring photocopies and originals, and note that for some cases it is much better if you have more documents than strictly required.
    9. I’ve spoken to many Local Civil Registrars while doing this post but our experience is mainly in judicial proceedings relating to substantial Birth Certificate Changes.

I’d be happy to hear about other’s experiences and will absolutely add your experience and acknowledge your name in this post.

Why You Need to Correct Your Birth Certificate

Most people have no trouble with incorrect Birth Certificates till they start to interact with licensing bodies, the government or other countries.

For instance, people often correct their Birth Certificate to take the board exam. The PRC is pretty strict and it requires your name be exactly as it’s spelled on your Birth Certificate.

In addition, passports and visas require the exact name and a complete place of birth to be on a birth certificate.

Big or substantive changes require a court proceeding but are even more important to do. They affect inheritances, property rights or benefits and must be fixed as soon as possible.

As such, you should really fix any errors or omissions in your Birth Certificate as soon as you can.

This can really help to avoid problems down the line.

Things You Can Change Yourself: Administrative Proceedings

Thanks to RA 9048 and its amendment 10172, you can correct a lot of errors by yourself.

I’ve compiled them into a Quick Reference List below:

  1. Change of First Name
  • First Name Used is Different from First Name on Birth Certificate
  • First Name on Birth Certificate is Baby Boy, Baby Girl, Boy or Girl and the Child was Born 1993 onwards (Quezon City Local Civil Registrar stated this was Supplemental Report but PSA guidelines state otherwise).
  1. Correction of Clerical Error
  • Blurred First, Middle or Last Name
  • Mother’s Middle Name is Wrong and Child’s is Correct
  • Child’s Middle Name is Wrong and Mother’s is Correct
  • Wrong Spelling of First Name, Middle Name, Last Name
  • Interchanged Middle and Last Name
  • Middle Initial Entered Instead of Full Last Name
  • Wrong gender checked (Muntinlupa Civil Registrar)
  1. Supplemental Report
  • No First Name, No Last Name, No Middle Name if Legitimate or No Middle Name if Illegitimate and Acknowledged by the Father
  • First Name on Birth Certificate is Baby Boy, Baby Girl, Boy or Girl and the Child was Born before 1993
  • No check mark for gender or both genders checked (as per Muntinlupa Civil Registrar)
  1. Illegitimate Child While this is an administrative proceeding, this is under RA 9255 and I do not cover this in this post. It allows the child to use the surname of his father but does not change the child’s status to legitimate or illegitimate. Changes to status require a court proceeding.

If you don’t see the correction you need in this list, remember that administrative proceedings correct entries.

This ranges from things as mundane as two letters being interchanged, or to the insertion of a missing syllable in a child’s last name while the other last names were correctly spelled.

As long as the error is clearly an encoding error and you’ve got supporting proof, a petition filed directly with your Local Civil Register will succeed.

If you don’t find your change here, take a long hard look at your Birth Certificate.

If you objectively think that it’s so clear it was an encoding error was made, then you’d likely fall under a simple administrative proceeding.

Still not sure where you fall under?

Call the Legal Department of the Philippine Statistics Authority at +632-938-5273 and they’ll be happy to talk to you. I’ve spoken to them and they were remarkably helpful.

Or you might want to send a physical letter to Atty. Lourdines C. Dela Cruz, Director III, 4/F PSA-TAM Bldg., East Avenue, Quezon City, 1101.

Do not send email – they’ve told me this sometimes gets lost.

(And yes, always follow up.)

If you don’t fall under any of these things and you’ve checked with the legal Department of the Philippine Statistics Authority, check out our section on judicial proceedings.

Administrative Proceeding 1: Change of First Name

A Change of First Name Petition is really only to correct the first name on your birth certificate if it’s different from what you habitually use or if it’s Baby Boy, Baby Girl, Boy or Girl and you were born after 1993 (As per PSA Guidelines, but Quezon City Local Civil Registrar classifies it as a Supplemental Report).

A Change of First Name Petition requires the most documents and is the longest and most expensive administrative proceeding.

Timeline: 4 to 7 months (or longer!)

Cost: 7,000 pesos or higher (3,000 for the petition, 1,200 to 2,500 for publication, and notarization and other fees related gathering other requirements)

Requirements: Bring originals and several photocopies of the information required below. As far as I can tell, you’ll really need to have all the documents, since this is one of the more stringent administrative cases. All documents should show the correct entry.

  • Petition for Change of Name, notarized. You’ll get this at your Local Civil Registrar
  • Philippine Statistics Authority Birth Certificate (SECPA)
  • NBI Clearance
  • PNP Clearance
  • Certificate of Employment or Affadavit of Non-Employment
  • Community Tax Certificate
  • Baptismal Certificate
  • School Record Form 137 / Diplomas and Transcripts
  • Medical Certificate
  • Any 2 Valid IDs: SSS, GSIS, Philhealth, Pag-ibig, Voter’s ID, Company ID, Drivers ID, PRC License, Land Title/Certificate of Transfer of Title, Bank Records and also Marriage Certificate
  • Just a note. In my conversations with the Local Civil Registrars, they told me that it is best to present as much proof as you can. The proof you present must show the correct information for the entry that you wish to have fixed. This helps your petition succeed.

Process:

  • Your process would be to first get the form at the Local Civil Registrar of your Birth to get the checklist and make sure you are filing the right kind of petition.
  • You would then submit a notarized copy with your attached documents.
  • Pay your fees.
  • Present your receipt, secure the notice of publication, and wait for the Local Civil Registrar to prepare your petition.
  • You will then have to wait for your documents to be posted for ten days and for your petition to be published in a newspaper for two weeks. This can happen at the same time.
  • You will get this proof of publication and your endorsement from the Local Civil Registrar of your Birth and then send it off to the Office of the Civil Registrar General in Manila.
  • It takes 1-3 months for the Central Civil Registrar to process this. It is advisable to follow up.
  • After the Office of the Civil Registrar General affirms your petition, you will send it back to your Local Civil Registrar for certification.
  • You will need to get the certified copy from your Local Civil Registrar and have it forwarded to the PSA for them to annotate it and send you your annotated Birth Certificate.
  • The going back and forth takes even longer if you do not start the process at the Local Civil Registrar of your Birth since they are really the ones who will make the adjustment.

First-hand Accounts and Websites that Help:

  1. Change of First Name – Added a second first name
  2. Philippine Statistics Authority

Administrative Proceeding 2: Correction of Clerical Error

Timeline: 2 to 5 months but this can vary

Cost: 1,000 for the petition but notarization and other document processing fees may bring it up to 2,000.

Requirements: Documents needed are the Philippine Statistics Authority Birth Certificate (SECPA) and at least 2 of the following:

  • Voter’s Affidavit
  • Employment Record
  • GSIS Record
  • SSS Record
  • Medical Record
  • Business Record
  • School Record
  • Driver’s License
  • Insurance
  • Civil Registry records of ascendants
  • Land Titles
  • Certificate of Land Transfer
  • NBI/Police Clearance
  • To be honest, given what I’ve seen of the Local Civil Registrars, I would prefer to present as many documents that support my case. Some petitions do get disapproved, mostly for lack of convincing evidence.

Process:

  • Go to the Local Civil Registrar and verify that a Correction of Clerical Entry is what you need to file. Also ask for the documents required.
  • You’ll need to fill up the form, attach your documents, and submit this during your interview with the Local Civil Registrar.
  • Pay the fees at local treasury office.
  • Present your receipt at the Local Civil Registrar.
  • Return to pick up your approved petition.
  • Mail your approved petition to the Office of the Civil Registrar General and make sure you keep the receipt of the forwarder/courier together with the duplicate copy of the mailed documents.
  • Follow up with the Local Civil Registrar for the decision of the Office of the Civil Registrar General. An approved petition will allow you to get a Certificate of Finality.
  • Mail your Certificate of Finality to the Office of the Civil Registrar General along with additional records such as the Endorsement letter, etc.
  • You can then get your annotated Birth Certificate from the PSA

First Hand Accounts and Websites that Help:

  1. Philippine Statistics Authority
  2. Manila Civil Registrar
  3. Makati Civil Registrar

Administrative Proceeding 3: Supplemental

A Supplemental report is the fastest, cheapest and easiest way to address an omission on your Birth Certificate.

You can do a maximum of 2 changes through a Supplemental Report but more would require you to file a Correction of Clerical Error Report.

Timeline: A month (usually)

Cost: 1,000 pesos approximately although it can be less.

Documents: Bring originals and photocopies of your NSO Birth Certificate and any 2 (although I know Makati requests 3) official documents that show the correct entry.

Depending on what you are trying to prove, the documents will change. Ask your Local Civil Registrar what is pertinent to your case before you go.

Documents needed are the Philippine Statistics Authority Birth Certificate (SECPA) and at least 2 of the below:

  • Voter’s Affidavit
  • Employment Record
  • GSIS Record
  • SSS Record
  • Medical Record
  • Business Record
  • School Record
  • Driver’s License
  • Insurance
  • Civil Registry records of ascendants
  • Land Titles
  • Certificate of Land Transfer
  • NBI/Police Clearance
  • These are general requirements but I think these are the same for many others. Still, please check with your local Civil Registrar.

Process:

  • Go to the Local Civil Registrar and verify that a Correction of Clerical Entry is what you need to file. Also ask for the documents required.
  • Fill up the Supplemental report and attach all your documents.
  • Pay the fee.
  • Submit the receipt.
  • Your Local Civil Registrar will need to process your report, which you will need to pick up after a few days.
  • Mail or personally submit the Supplemental Report to the Office of the Civil Registrar General.
  • You can then already apply for your amended Certificate of Live Birth.

First-hand Accounts and Websites that Help:

Changes You Cannot Do Yourself: Judicial Proceedings

If your case doesn’t fit in anywhere or your petition has been denied, you might have to think about going to court.

Judicial Proceedings cover the below items:

  1. Changes in birth year
  2. Substantial changes to your mother’s or father’s last names
  3. Nationality
  4. Anything affecting legitimacy such as whether your parents were married.
  5. Additionally, the law does not allow you to completely change your name as it only addresses encoding errors.

Essentially, when you start to hit things that have a profound bearing on your legal or inheritance rights or want to completely change last names, then a court proceeding is necessary.

What are the documents you need?

As with any court case where you are trying to prove anything, the more pertinent information you present the better.

So if you’re trying to prove that your father was an American citizen, you’ll have to present documents that prove that.

Your father’s passport and your siblings’ Birth Certificates would be great supporting information in that case. There will definitely be other documents that you should prepare, but you get the picture.

Take note that all persons who may have an interest in these proceedings will need to be informed of this process.

This is a very firm requirement under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court and it cannot be waived. The case may not succeed otherwise.

What is the Court Process?

After gathering your documents, you’ll need to engage a lawyer to draft your Petition. The Petition will be signed by the lawyer and sworn to by the Petitioner.

It will then be filed in appropriate branch of the Regional Trial Court with its supporting documents. It will be raffled to a branch of the Regional Trial Court.

The Petition will be published in a random newspaper once a week for three weeks.

The lawyer will present to the Court the proof of publication and proof of notice to the required parties on the first hearing date. These will then be marked into the court’s record.

The evidence will be presented on the subsequent hearing dates.

The witness can be a relative or yourself and often may only require a written affidavit to attest to the authenticity of the documents.

All persons who have a claim or interest need to be formally informed of the court process.

For instance, if you want to change the name of your father on your birth certificate, you are going to have to inform your father, your siblings, the Civil Registrar, etc.

Additionally, this type of proceeding can even be done while you are abroad so long as you have the documents and someone to attest to their authenticity.

How long does it take?

You should expect a case to take about a year to a year and a half, although it may take longer should the case be more complicated and especially if one of the respondents opposes the case.

The reason that the case may take this long is that all the parties interested must be notified and that the petition must be published in a newspaper.

The process of raffling to the newspaper, arranging publication and then presenting this proof in court takes up time. The simple act of informing all parties interested in the case also takes up time.

In addition, a Petition for Change of Name requires that a hearing not take place within 4 months after the last Publication Notice, further extending the process.

You may have also have heard that Philippine Courts are very clogged. This is unfortunately very true. Hearings may be months apart.

Due to this and other side issues, the Court process is expected to take up the entire year or year and a half.

You should present the full case and all facts to your lawyer to ensure that the process is as quick as can be.

Your lawyer can then minimize side issues and plan the work effectively so as to get it done in the least amount of time.

How much does it cost?

You will have to prepare a certain amount for court fees.

These may include the initial filing fee and sheriff’s fees. There are photocopying costs, postage and notarization fees.

You will also have to prepare for newspaper fees to comply with the three week publication requirement.

Your lawyer’s professional fees will include an acceptance fee, where he commits to study the case, provide advice on what evidence to present and forgo other cases for your case. Often, this will depend on how complicated a case may be. Some cases can really be quite involved.

Subsequent fees are pleading fees and Court appearance fees. The cost for this depends on how involved the pleadings are or how far the Court is and are often agreed upon when you initially consult with your lawyer.

References

Personal Accounts

  1. Change of First Name – Added a second first name
  2. Corrected Gender
  3. Supplemental Report – Missing Place of Birth
  4. Supplemental Report – No Middle Name
  5. Supplemental Report – Missing Gender
  6. Supplemental Report – No First Name

Government Websites

  1. Philippine Statistics Authority
  2. Manila Civil Registrar
  3. Makati Civil Registrar

Local Registrars I’d like to thank:

  1. Muntinlupa Civil Registrar
  2. Quezon City Civil Registrar
  3. Legal Department Office of the Civil Registrar General
  4. Makati Civil Registrar
  5. Pateros City Civil Registrar
  6. Antipolo City Civil Registrar
  7. Pasig City Civil Registrar

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