Correcting or changing the name on a birth certificate

There are many reasons you might wish to change the name on a birth certificate. There are rules for each type of change. This includes changing from one name to another, correcting a misspelled name, adding a missing name, or correcting a parent’s information.

To change a name on a birth certificate, contact the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Division of Vital Records. You can bring documents to the Division in person or you can mail them. The Division’s address and phone number can be found on the web at http://dhmh.maryland.gov/vsa/SitePages/contact.aspx.

Changing the name on the certificate to a new name

The parents may change the name of a child born in Maryland one time within the first year, without a court order. This requires a written request from both parents listed on the birth certificate, and an affidavit from both parents that they are the true parents of the child and that they are making the request of their own free will. The affidavit must be sworn before a notary public. A second name change within a year, or a name change after one year, requires a court order.

Misspelled name

If the name on a birth certificate is spelled incorrectly, you don’t need a court order to correct the spelling. You must provide the required documents (listed below) to show the correct spelling.

Missing name

If the first and last names are missing from the birth certificate, they can be added without a court order. If the first name is missing, and the last name on the record is different from the last name the person uses, the last name on the record will be updated when the first name is added. You must provide the required documents (listed below) to show the name that is in use.

Documents required to correct a misspelled name or add a missing name

For a child under 7 years old, you must submit one or more of the following documents to the Vital Statistics Administration:

  • A notarized letter from a parent citing the correct name;
  • A notarized letter from the hospital citing the correct name;
  • A notarized letter from the attendant at birth citing the correct name;
  • A notarized physician's office record of the birth citing the correct name.

For a person 7 years of age or older, you must submit two or more of the following documents citing the correct name:

  • Baptismal or other church records;
  • Insurance policy;
  • Hospital or clinic record;
  • Physician's office record of birth;
  • Pre-kindergarten record or grade-school record;
  • Family Bible record;
  • Record of employment;
  • Record of military service;
  • Marriage license;
  • Record from federal census;
  • Birth certificate of a child of the subject of the vital record;
  • Social Security Administration record of the subject of the vital record's original application for a Social Security Number;
  • Other pertinent records which meet the Secretary's approval and corroborate the name of the subject of the vital record.

The Department will only agree to correct the record if it is satisfied that the documents submitted prove the person's name. The Department may require additional documents. Baptismal and church records have additional requirements.

Amending or correcting parent information

Parent information on a birth certificate can also be corrected without a court order. At least two of the following documents must be submitted:

  • Parent's birth certificate;
  • Parent's baptismal or other church records;
  • Parent's pre-kindergarten or grade school records;
  • Other pertinent records which meet the Secretary's approval and corroborate the parent's data.

The Department will only agree to correct the record if it is satisfied that the documents submitted prove the necessary facts. The Department may require additional documents. Baptismal and church records have additional requirements.

Read the law: COMAR § 10.03.01.03, Md. Code, Health - General §4-214(c)

Is this legal advice?

This site offers legal information, not legal advice.  We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information and to clearly explain your options.  However we do not provide legal advice - the application of the law to your individual circumstances. For legal advice, you should consult an attorney.  The Maryland State Law Library, a court-related agency of the Maryland Judiciary, sponsors this site.  In the absence of file-specific attribution or copyright, the Maryland State Law Library may hold the copyright to parts of this website. You are free to copy the information for your own use or for other non-commercial purposes with the following language “Source: Maryland's People’s Law Library – www.peoples-law.org. © Maryland State Law Library, 2013.”