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How do I handle a birth certificate with a wrongly spelled name?

by Richard
(Port Orange Fl)

Question: As an adult returning from Military Service in 1974, my stepfather who was my Dad since I was 6 was finally able to adopt me after my birth father passed while I was in the Army. The adoption was done and I had the court papers. I went to Social Security office and changed my name, went to Drivers license bureau and changed name and went about my business for the next 35 years.

Last year, my wife and I decided that maybe would be nice to take a cruise or go to the islands or something so I needed to get a passport. So, I had the court papers but when I asked New Jersey for my new birth certificate, well, the papers were never sent to the state so I did not have a birth certificate in the name I was using for the past 35 years.

I sent paperwork in and discovered that the paperwork misspelled the family last name, so I have a birth certificate with a misspelled name. Every other document or form of identification I have, driver's license, marriage certificate, children's name, my social security card, bank accounts, all have the correct name. My birth certificate from the state of New Jersey does not contain the 2nd "W" in my last name.

To make matters worse, I was born 9/20/1951, in Hudson County, New Jersey, which I understand is a source of the documents for the 911 pilots. UGH.

I live in Florida for the past 28 years anyway and still live in Florida. What is the best way to proceed? If I get a legal name change here in Florida, do I send that document with the birth certificate to you and will I get a Passport?

I am almost 60 and good Lord I can't believe this. Any advice would be appreciate.

Answer: You are required to submit evidence of U.S. citizenship when applying for a passport. The most frequently submitted document is a birth certificate.

According to the New Jersey vital records office, "individuals born prior to 1/1/1993 must obtain a court ordered legal name change to amend the surname, in most cases." You can contact the NJ Bureau of Vital Statistics and Registration by calling 1-866-649-8726 toll-free.

It would probably be easier to change the name on the birth certificate than to request a legal name change to match the name on the current birth certificate, requiring you to change the name on all other documents such as driver's license and Social Security card.

Return to Supporting Documents for Passports FAQ.

Getting a Passport without a Birth Certificate

Question: Born in 1929 at home with a mid-wife. no birth certificate available. How can i get a passport?

Answer: If you cannot submit a certified birth certificate, then you are required to submit a Letter of No Record and a combination of early public records.

The Letter of No Record must be state-issued and include the following:

* Your name
* Your date of birth
* The years for which a birth record was searched
* Acknowledgment that no birth certificate was found on file

Early public records should show your name, date of birth, place of birth, and preferably be created within the first five years of your life. Examples of early public records are:

* Baptismal certificate
* Hospital birth certificate
* Census record
* Early school record
* Family bible record
* Doctor's record of post-natal care

The following documents are not acceptable as evidence of citizenship.

* Voter registration card
* Army discharge paper
* Social Security Card

Return to Supporting Documents for Passports FAQ.

How do I get a passport with a birth certificate that was filed more than a year past the birth date?

Question: My birth certificate was filed more than a year past my birth date due to an adoption. The only supporting documentation of my adoption is not dated. My birth certificate has a date by the Health department which coincides with the adoption. Am I able to get a passport with just this information? If not, how would I secure this information.

Answer: According to State Department regulations, a Delayed U.S. Birth Certificate filed more than one year after your birth may be acceptable as evidence of U.S. citizenship if it meets the following two criteria.

1. It lists the documentation used to create it (preferably early public records) and

2. It is signed by the birth attendant or lists an affidavit signed by the parents.

If your Delayed U.S. Birth Certificate does not include these items, you need to submit it along with as many Early Public Records as possible.

Early public records should show your name, date of birth, place of birth, and preferably be created within the first five years of your life. Examples of early public records are:

* Baptismal certificate
* Hospital birth certificate
* Census record
* Early school record
* Family bible record
* Doctor's record of post-natal care

As a general rule it is best to submit as much possible evidence as you can. However, in such circumstances, it is common for passport services to contact applicants with requests for more documents.

How do I get a passport with a birth certificate that was filed more than a year past the birth date?

Unsure about Birth Certificate
by: Jaden

Question: I was born 10/27/92. On my long form birth certificate (I have the original) it says Filing Date: 02/23/93. The certificate has a certified stamp with a signature of the director of public health. Is this considered a delayed birth certificate? And would I need to provide additional evidence?

Answer: A delayed birth certificate is any birth certificate not filed within one year of the date of birth. Since your birth date and filing date are just 5 months apart, you do not have a delayed birth certificate. You should not have to provide additional documents when you apply for your passport.

Birth Certificate filed late, Please read

If your Birth Certificate was filed years after your birth, please look into whether or not you were adopted. Unfortunately, I found this out too late in life and I'm determined not to let anyone else go through my pain. Please look into it.

Return to Supporting Documents for Passports FAQ.

Birth Certificate of Child for Passport

by Deborah
(Miami, FL USA)

Question: Do you have to have an original Birth Certificate or will a copy of the certificate be sufficient? Please advise.

Answer: The birth certificate that you submit when apply for a passport must be a certified copy.

A certified birth certificate has a registrar's raised, embossed, impressed or multicolored seal, registrar's signature, and the date the certificate was filed with the registrar's office, which must be within 1 year of your birth. Please note, some short (abstract) versions of birth certificates may not be acceptable for passport purposes.

If you prefer not to send the original birth certificate or no longer have it, you can order a certified copy from the vital records office of the state where you were born. Click the link below for more information.

Where to Write for Vital Records

Birth Certificate of Child for Passport

return of brth certificate
by: Summer Adams

Question: I was told that when applying for a passport for my daughter whom I adopted from China that the original raised seal birth certificate would be returned to me, That was my last certified copy . She needs it to get her drivers license and I am sure she will need it for many other situations.

How do I get it back? They sent the new passport and other documents that were required but not the only birth certificate I had. How do I get it back.

Answer: Suppoting documents are mailed separately from the new passport. The birth certificate should arrive soon. If it does not, call 1-877-487-2778 to speak with a customer service representative.

Return to Supporting Documents for Passports FAQ.

How could I get my birth certificate back?

by Linda
(Bonita, CA)

Question: I've just received my passport but did not get my birth certificate returned to me. When applying for my passport, I was told it would be returned to me, along with the passport.

Answer: You should receive your birth certificate in the mail shortly. Frequently, documents that are returned to applicants are sent separately from the passport. If your birth certificate does not arrive within a few days, contact the National Passport Information Center concerning this issue.

Return to Supporting Documents for Passports FAQ.

Need a passport but name on birth certificate and current name do not match

by David

Question: I have been in the US Military for the past 13 years, and currently need a Military Passport (Brown Passport) for an upcoming deployment. My issue is that my certified birth certificate has a different last name than I currently use.

My mother never legally changed my name, instead she used my birth certificate, along with her marriage certificate with my step father, and through a notary, she enrolled me into the California school system under my step fathers last name. My social security card, California State Drivers License, and my military identification card all have my current last name.

I enlisted in the military, got commissioned in the military and obtained a security clearance all under my current last name. I still anticipate issues when I attempt to obtain a Military passport under my current last name, since it does not match my birth certificate. I do not have time to do a legal name change, as I deploy in six weeks.

Answer: First of all, you need to contact your Installation Travel Office concerning the application for a military passport. They will assist you with this.

If you think that you might travel during the time you are deployed to any country other than the U.S. for non-official purposes, you should apply for a tourist passport before you leave. Military passports can only be used for official military travel. Depending on the location of your deployment, regular passports may be difficult to obtain.

Concerning your name, you can submit 3 or more public records that show exclusive use of your current name for at least 5 years as evidence of your legal name. The documents should also show your date and place of birth.

Return to Supporting Documents for Passports FAQ.

Can I use my child's birth certificate with my name and birth date to get my passport?

by Paulette
(Detroit, Michigan USA)

Question: I cannot locate my birth certificate, but my name, birth place and birthday are on my child's. Can I use my child's birth certificate to get a Passport Card?

Answer: You cannot use your daughter's birth certificate in order to obtain a passport. You must submit your own birth certificate or other evidence of United States citizenship. If you were born in the U.S., you can get a certified copy of your birth certificate through the vital records office of the state in which you were born.

Along with the birth certificate, you need to submit form DS-11, proof of identification (such as a valid driver's license), copy of ID and two passport photos. You can submit the application and supporting documents at the nearest Detroit passport office.

If you need to get your passport in two weeks or less, you can do that by scheduling an appointment at the Detroit Passport Agency or through a competent passport expediting service.

Need a passport but name on birth certificate and current name do not match

Help with getting passport
by: nancy

Question: Please help. You said I can submit 3 documents showing my name being used , but the letter I received from us passport that says I have to submit 3 documents showing the PLACE I WAS BORN! There is NOTHING that shows the place I was born.

I am a female, and many years ago when I got divorced I dropped my married last name and didn't want to go back to that so I use my middle name as my last name. I have been doing that since 1997/98.

I applied for a passport, mine had expired. When I sent everything in, my birth certificate etc, and drivers license , work IRS forms and all that but while they are all in my current name, they do not have my PLACE OF BIRTH.

The US Passport letter says 3 documents showing your name, date of birth and PLACE Of birth. nothing shows that except for my birth certificate.


Answer: It is usually quite difficult for applicants to identify 3 acceptable documents that contain the name they wish to use as well as their date and place of birth.

Probably the easiest way to resolve this issue is to apply for a court order to change your name. A court order serves as acceptable evidence of a legal name change. A court order basically officializes the name you have chosen to use.

The process of applying for a name change involves filling out court forms and appearing before a judge. You may also be required to involve third-parties. Contact the District Court in the county where you live for further assistance.

Return to Supporting Documents for Passports FAQ.

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About the Author: For over 20 years, the U.S. Passport Service Guide team has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers with their travel document questions and shared advice about how to make traveling abroad simpler, safer, and more enjoyable.

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