Correcting your PSA (NSO) Birth Certificate from Abroad

by | Oct 6, 2018 | Family Law, Birth Certificates, Naturalization & Others

After receiving questions from Filipinos abroad on NSO birth certificate errors, I realized that a special post was needed for their particular circumstances.

OFWs or Filipinos abroad usually need to correct their birth certificates for passport renewal or immigration issues.

The passport law is very strict. Your name on your passport must be exactly the same as that which is on your birth certificate. Your passport renewal requires it and your immigration status might also be in trouble, especially if you wish to migrate by yourself or on a fiancée visa.

What I am presenting in this post is the process for correcting your PSA (formerly NSO) birth certificate if:

  • if you are a Filipino living abroad with your birth registered in the Philippines;
  • if you are a Filipino living in the Philippines with your birth registered abroad;
  • if you are a Filipino abroad with your birth registered abroad.

Since each case is different and there are countless possible errors, the research that I present here is from:

  • Conversations with Local Civil Registrars, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Legal Services Division of the Civil Registrar General.
  • Phone calls with consulates Hungary, Italy and California abroad
  • Experience with the process locally

What I hope you take away from this post is an idea of what to expect and the challenges you may encounter so you are better prepared when you engage with your consulate or your local civil registrar the first time.

Read this First

The information in this section is extremely important.

Please read this first as you’ll need this information to better understand how to correct your birth certificate:

  • Different registrars and consulates may recommend different correction processes. This is why sometimes advice may be conflicting. Always counter check.
  • Coordinating with the various government agencies on your own is really important. If your birth was reported in the Philippines but you are filing in a consulate, you really need to call the local civil registrar where your birth was reported so that their requirements – not just the consulate’s – are met.
  • Try to see if you can pay for a private courier to send your documents from one country to another. The DFA recommends that the person involved sometimes be the one to transmit the petition from one government agency to another. Philippine consulates often wait for several petitions or requests to be pooled before sending them to Manila so there is quite a delay. I spoke to one embassy that sent the diplomatic pouch only every quarter.
  • Collecting the documents may require you to be in Manila or may require authentication by the DFA.
  • After your correction is approved, you will still have to bring it to the PSA so that your record can be annotated, which can also take some time.
  • It will take months to years.
  • There are 3 errors that are often encountered: Supplemental Report, Change of First Name and Correction of Clerical Error. Each have different requirements.

What are the Usual Errors and what is the Correction Process Like?

There are 3 errors:

  • Supplemental Report is filed when there is blank or missing information
  • Change of First Name is filed when your first name has an error and is applicable to your Birth Certificate only
  • Correction of Clerical Error is filed when there is a typographical error

The local process for Philippine filing involves both the Local Civil Registrar and the PSA Main Office and requires anywhere from 5 visits (this is unusual) to 12 if the process is smooth. This increases if your petition is denied. This in-depth post will help you understand the local process and should be read first since the foreign process is based on it.

When there is a need to consult a Philippine consulate – for instance, when the birth was reported there or when the petition was filed there – the process is much longer as the consulate will now coordinate with Manila.

The process will also require you to submit proof of the correct information and you will need to gather several documents. The documents you’ll need to submit differ per process.

This may be a challenge if you are living abroad as some documents are only released in the Philippines. In addition, you may also need to have these documents authenticated by the DFA.

A Correction when a consulate is involved is:

  • Longer as there is coordination between the consulate and Manila
  • Difficult as the documents may only be retrieved from Manila and require authentication.
  • Complex as you must coordinate throughout.

Can you file for NSO Birth Certificate Correction at the Philippine Consulate if you were born in the Philippines and it was reported there?

Yes, you can.

RiyadhSouth Korea, and San Francisco mention it on their website as a service offered.

Additionally, the DFA in Manila confirmed that this was a consulate service when I called.

However, both the DFA and the local civil registrars recommend filing at the local Philippine civil registrar where the birth was reported instead of involving the consulate.

They suggest asking a family member or someone living near the local civil registrar to file the correction. This is a good idea since 5 (unusual) to 12 visits (or more!) will be needed. It is also much faster since the coordination is just between government agencies in the Philippines.

If you want to file a correction in your consulate and your birth was registered in the Philippines, take note of the below general process. This varies depending on the error, your consulate, and your local civil registrar.

What is the process for filing a Petition for Correction at the Consulate?

  • Consulate receives your documents.
  • Consulate forwards your petition to the DFA. Documents may be forwarded once a month to once a quarter.
  • DFA forwards it to the PSA.
  • PSA approves your correction which may involve coordination between the PSA Main and your local civil registrar coordinate.
  • PSA forwards it to the DFA.
  • DFA forwards it to the consulate.

This process is a general outline since I have heard different processes from different people.

The process for corrections is not standard, although there is a general process that everyone follows.

There is also some difficulty that you will encounter since input from the civil registrar of your birth was reported is important. There may need to be processing at the civil registrar of your birth as well as per PSA Main.

It is best to consult with your consulate and also with your local civil registrar before submitting any petition since civil registrars may not be automatically included. It may be that your petition will be sent back without any approval in such a case.

What are the documents needed when filing a Petition for Correction at the Consulate?

You will need to submit several documents:

  • Your PSA (formerly NSO) birth certificate
  • Your petition
  • 2 public or private documents showing the correct entry, such as your baptismal certificate, your school records, your marriage certificate, your government-issued IDs, bank documents and land titles, etc. You might be asked for other documents. Just a note here – I’d present more than the required documents and prioritize documents from institutions. I’d also check to see what the PSA requirements are since they will approve your petition and it is ultimately them you’ll have to satisfy. This post explains the documentary requirements and process when no foreign element is involved and gives a good idea of what is needed.
  • A Change of First Name requires the most documentary proof so you may need to prove you have no pending cases against you by requesting certification from your employer, the NBI and the PNP. You’ll also need to submit an Affidavit of Publication and a copy of the newspaper clipping.

Your Philippine documents likely need to be authenticated by the DFA before being used abroad.

Note also that you might have to pay a processing fee to the consulate abroad when they receive your petition. You will have to coordinate with the consulate involved and also ask how they accept payment.

What are my thoughts on filing at the consulate when your birth was reported in the Philippines?

I strongly advise that you file your petition for correction where your birth was reported.

Filing at the consulate is possible but it takes a long time and can be difficult to accomplish due to misunderstandings on requirements. Petitions can be sent back.

If your birth was reported in the Philippines, the process is much faster if you file it there. If not, your correction will be processed in the consulate and then again at the local civil registrar of your birth. This takes a lot of time.

I suggest you empower a representative with an SPA so that he can file for you in the Philippines.

I also suggest that you explain to him that the process will take considerable commitment – at least 5 (this is unusual) to 12 days of coordinating between all the government agencies involved. It can take much longer if your petition is denied.

Expect the process to still take several months even though it is filed in the Philippines.

Document gathering might also slow you down. There are some documents such as the PNP that are hard to get if you are currently living abroad. DFA authentication might also be required.

These often take special handling and can be confusing so call the Legal Department of the PSA if you have questions.

Can you file for NSO Birth Certificate Correction at your Local Civil Registrar if you were born in the abroad and it was reported there?

Yes, you can.

A Migrant Petition is a petition filed in different civil registrar from the civil registrar your birth was reported to.

So, for instance, you were born in Riyadh but now live in Pasig.

If you file a correction in Pasig, this is a Migrant Petition.

What is the process for a Migrant Petition?

The Migrant Petition is below:

  • Your petition for correction will be filed at the Local Civil Registrar after assessment, filing your petition, and your payment.
  • Your petition will be posted, published or complete other requirements needed.
  • Your petition will be sent to the consulate where your birth was registered.
  • Your petition will go through the same process it underwent in the Local Civil Registrar and then be approved.
  • Your petition will be sent to the Philippine DFA office.
  • Your petition will be sent to the PSA Main Office.
  • Your petition will be approved.
  • Your petition will be sent to the DFA.
  • Your petition will be sent to the consulate.

What are the documents for a Migrant Petition?

In addition to knowing the process, you will need to prepare several documents.

The documents you prepare depend on the error that you want to correct.

Since a migrant petition’s documents follow the local civil registrar requirements, please see this post for the documents you will need. The documents differ depending on the error and cannot be summarized here.

An example of some of the documents accepted by the local civil registrar are:

  • Philippine Statistics Authority Birth Certificate
  • Baptismal Certificate
  • School Record Form 137 / Diplomas and Transcripts
  • Employment Record
  • Medical Certificate
  • Land Titles, Business Records.
  • IDs such as your driver’s license, voters license, etc.

This is a partial list. The complete explanation of the errors and documents should be referred to for clarity.

If you are going to file a Migrant Petition, these tips should really help you:

  • Please call your Local Civil Registrar in advance and have them assess your case to double check that you have the correct documents.
  • Ask your local civil registrar if you can send it to the consulate yourself or pay for a private courier such as DHL.
  • Call your consulate, the DFA and PSA Main when your document arrives and coordinate with them.
  • There may also be payment at the consulate for processing when your petition arrives there.

What are my thoughts on a Migrant Petition?

I advise against filing a migrant petition.

In fact, when I spoke to the DFA, their first question was whether my client still knew someone who could file it at the consulate his birth was registered at. The local civil registrars suggested this as well.

The reason is that when you file a migrant petition, your request is processed at the local civil registrar and then processed again at the consulate.

This “double processing” is avoided when you file at the consulate itself. Filing at the consulate completely avoids the first step in the process mentioned above. It is much faster.

Also, the coordination between the local civil registrar and the consulate can take a long time.

If your birth was registered at the consulate, you’d be better off filing at the consulate or asking someone to file for you.

If you are going to ask someone to file at the consulate, you will need to do the following:

  • Ask the consulate if it is possible to send it to the DFA on your own instead of waiting for them to send your petition on their schedule.
  • Provide a Special Power of Attorney to the person who will file your petition.
  • Ask your consulate if they require your documents to be authenticated by the DFA.
  • Coordinate with the consulate, the DFA and PSA Main before and during the process.

Without a doubt, the process can take some time and will require patience and following up.

Can you file for Correction of your Birth Certificate if you are a Filipino currently living abroad and your birth was reported abroad?

Yes, you can.

If you live near the consulate where your birth was filed, you can file for correction there. Remember that they will still be coordinating with the PSA in the Philippines and so the process will take time.

What is the process for filing in the consulate your birth was registered at?

  • Your petition will be processed by the consulate and will be posted, published or complete other requirements. Your petition will then be approved.
  • Your petition will be sent to the Philippine DFA office.
  • Your petition will be sent to the PSA Main Office.
  • Your petition will be approved.
  • Your petition will be sent to the DFA.
  • Your petition will be sent to the consulate.

What are the documents you will need for filing in the consulate your birth was registered at?

According to the consulates, the documents needed are the following:

  • Petition
  • PSA (formerly NSO) Birth Certificate
  • At least 2 public or private documents with the correct entry and any other requested documents. Just a note here. The information presented to you is the information officially stated by the consulates but I would present more documents than necessary because the PSA (formerly NSO) is the ultimate approver and it is their requirements that you should follow (I’ve written about the proof required for local Philippine processing here). In addition, your petition has a better chance of success with more documentary proof.
  • A Change of First Name petition has the most documentary requirement. You will need to have more documents such as clearance that you have no cases against you from your employer, the NBI, the PNP, and you will also have to present an affidavit of publication and a copy of the newspaper clipping.

What are my thoughts on filing for correction abroad?

If your birth was registered at a Philippine consulate abroad, it is must better to file at the same Philippine consulate.

This is the preferred method of correction and is strongly recommended.

The DFA and the PSA are used to handling cases of correction where the petition and the birth were registered abroad. They are easily able to handle this even if it takes some time due to distance.

Filing where you birth was not registered is a sure cause of delay.

If you file in Manila, then there is a lot of coordination between Manila and the consulate and it will take longer. If you file at a Philippine consulate that was not where your birth was registered, it will take even longer.

In addition, filing where your birth was not registered is not unusual. In some instances, there may be requirements and documents that are required that are not immediately apparent. You petition can be sent back without being approved.

You should also check to make sure that the documentary requirements at the PSA approval stage is the same as that which is required at the embassy. I always prefer to include more proof than that which is strictly needed since it reduces risk that the petition is rejected.

Summary

Correcting your NSO Birth Certificate if you are a Filipino living abroad or if your birth was registered abroad is possible.

However, remember that:

  • I strongly suggest that you file where your birth was reported. If you were born in Riyadh and your birth was reported there, file in Riyadh. Likewise, if you were born in Quezon City, file in Quezon City. Equip someone with a Special Power of Attorney to file it on your behalf if you cannot do it yourself.
  • Document gathering can be tough if you are living abroad since some documents such as PNP clearance are only released in the Philippines.
  • Documents need to be authenticated by the DFA if you are filing at a consulate.
  • Assessments of what needs to be done can differ depending on which local registrar or consulate you ask. As I’ve found, you really need to call in advance.
  • You really must coordinate with all the agencies involved. You need to call your consulate, your local civil registrar, the DFA and PSA Main if you want to ensure that your request is processed.
  • If you file from a consulate but your birth was registered in the Philippines, you need to coordinate with your local civil registrar since they hold your record. Some of the requirements for approval can only be carried out by the local civil registrar prior to submission or will require them to process it also.
  • It takes a lot of time.

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of the process and the documentary requirements you need to correct your birth certificate when a foreign element is involved.

saw the need for this because beyond a few consulate pages and new bytes saying that it could be done, there was barely any information discussing it in more detail.

I found many stories but there is variation and in all cases, you will really need to coordinate.

Hopefully, this helps you understand what path you want to take and what you need to do to get your PSA Birth Certificate corrected.

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