Your name is an important part of your identity. It differentiates you from others and gives a sense of who you are. But, what if the name in your birth certificate was incorrectly written?
In a legal document like a birth certificate, a correct name is crucial in having an accurate record. For instance, if you need to obtain a driver’s license or process marriage requirements, you may need to present your birth certificate. An error in your name can lead to confusion.
Luckily, it’s possible to correct a mistake in your birth certificate concerning your first name. You only need to file a petition for correction of clerical error under the provisions of the amended Republic Act (RA) 9048.
However, before we get to the steps on how to change the name in your birth certificate in the Philippines, let’s first understand RA 9048, the corrections allowed under it, and the eligibility requirements for filing a petition.
What is Republic Act 9048?
RA 9048 allows the civil registrar to correct clerical or typographical errors in the petitioner’s birth certificate without the need for a judicial proceeding. This law amended Articles 376 and 412 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, which state that any correction of entries or change of a person’s name or surname in a civil register requires a judicial order.
5 Corrections Allowed Under RA 9048
In 2012, RA 9048 was amended by RA 10172, further authorizing the civil registrar to correct clerical or typographical errors in the birthdate or sex of a petitioner without the need to file a petition in court.
RA 10172 defines clerical or typographical errors as harmless mistakes made during the clerical work of writing, copying, transcribing, or typing an entry in the civil register. Some examples include having your name written as “Ma.” in your birth certificate instead of “Maria,” your sex as “female” rather than “male,” or your birthday written a month off.
As long as the error doesn’t involve changing the petitioner’s nationality, age, or status, the civil registrar can simply correct these clerical or typographical errors.
Here are the instances in which entries in the birth certificate can be changed or corrected by the civil registrar:
- Correction of misspelled first or last name
- Correction of misspelled birthplace
- Correction of a mistake in the day or month of birth
- Correction of sex
- Change of first name or nickname
Regarding the change of first name or nickname, you can’t file for a petition just because you want to. There are three valid grounds enumerated in Section 4 of RA 9048.
- Your first name or nickname is ridiculous, tainted with dishonor, or extremely difficult to write or pronounce
- You habitually use your new name and are publicly known by that name in the community
- The change will avoid confusion
Who May File a Petition for Correction of Clerical Error?
Anyone who has a direct and personal interest in correcting the clerical or typographical errors in an entry or changing their first name in the civil register may file a verified petition. You can only file a petition once, and the civil registry office will keep the previous record that was changed or corrected.
To file a petition, you have to proceed to the local civil registry office of your city or municipality. If you’re living abroad, you can file a petition at the nearest Philippine Consulate.
Filing a Petition for Correction of Clerical Error
The law prescribes a particular format for the petition for correction of a clerical error. Here are the basic requirements.
- Contents of the petition
- Facts establishing the merits of the petition
- Information showing that you’re competent to testify about the matters stated in the affidavit
- The erroneous entry or entries to be corrected and the proposed correction(s)
- Supporting Documents
- A certified true copy of the birth certificate or of the page of the registry book containing the entry or entries you want to be corrected or changed
- At least two public or private documents showing the correct entry or entries, which will serve as the basis for the correction or change
- A certification from appropriate law enforcement agencies showing that you have no pending case or no criminal record
- Other documents that you, the city or municipal civil registrar, or consul general may consider relevant and necessary for the approval of the petition
- Distribution of the petition documents
- First copy - the concerned city or municipal civil registrar or consul general
- Second copy - the Office of the Civil Registrar General
- Third copy - your copy
- Filing fee
- P1,000 - for correction of clerical or typographical errors
- P3,000 - for change of first name or nickname
- $50 - for correction of clerical or typographical errors
- $150 - for change of first name or nickname
The petition should be in the form of a notarized affidavit. It should contain the following:
To support your petition, you must attach the following documents to the affidavit:
You should file three copies of the petition and its supporting documents to be distributed as follows:
If the petition you filed is for a change of first name or nickname, it should be published at least once a week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation. This is in compliance with Section 5 of RA 9048.
The city or municipal civil registrar or the consul general shall collect a reasonable fee for the processing of the petition. Here are the current rates:
If you’re filing with the consul general, the fees to be collected are as follows:
If you’re an indigent petitioner, you’re exempted from paying the filing fee.
Examination of the Petition Documents
Upon receiving your documents, the civil registrar or consul general will evaluate your petition and the supporting papers. If the affidavit passes the required format and contents, the office will post the petition in a public place for 10 consecutive days. After the posting and/or publication requirements have been complied with, the office will decide if your petition is granted. This usually takes five working days.
Correct Errors Without Going to Court
Before RA 9048, you have to file a petition in court if you want to correct a clerical or typographical error in your birth certificate or change your first name or nickname. Now, you can file a petition for these changes and corrections without having to secure a judicial order, thanks to RA 9048 and RA 10172.
If you need a copy of your PSA birth certificate, you can process it in person through the nearest Census Serbilis Center. If you prefer to order a copy online, PSAHelpline.ph offers a hassle-free online application process!