Information for New Parents
Congratulations on the birth of your child!
To congratulate you on the birth of your child, the Pennsylvania Department of Health is pleased to present you with your child's birth certificate. This is your child's first official identification, so please keep it in a safe location. Your child will use this birth certificate for future milestones, like registering for school, applying for a driver's license, getting a passport and verifying their U.S. citizenship for their first job.
If you need additional copies of your child's birth certificate, please visit Ordering a Birth Certificate page.
Please review your child's birth certificate to make sure everything is accurate and spelled correctly. If your child's birth certificate contains an error, it is easiest to correct the error prior to your child's first birthday. The following information provides direction on how to correct errors on your child's birth certificate.
If your child is over one year of age and a correction to their birth certificate is needed, please refer to the Amending a Birth Record for more information.
Correcting Typographical Errors and Adding Missing Information
The information listed on your child's birth certificate is based on the Report of Live Birth submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. If you delivered your baby in a licensed Pennsylvania birth facility, you likely were provided with a Birthing Parent's Worksheet which is used to collect information to be included on the Report of Live Birth. The birthing facility then entered information from the Birthing Parent's Worksheet into an electronic Report of Live Birth which is submitted directly to us. While most Reports of Live Birth are submitted with 100% accuracy, sometimes typographical errors do occur.
To correct this type of error, complete the Request to Modify an Infant’s Birth Record. Do not use this form to add a parent to a child's birth record.
Based on national standards, all parent's names as printed on a birth certificate list the parent's legal name prior to first marriage (also referred to as a maiden last name).
All parents listed on the birth certificate must sign the Request to Modify an Infant’s Birth Record. The form also needs notarized if one of the following applies:
- You are changing the last name of your child.
- You are changing a parent's last name.
Request to Modify Parentage on a Birth Record
To modify parentage on a child’s birth record, complete a Request to Modify Parentage on a Birth Record form. Any removal of a parent from a child’s record requires a court order or an approved cancellation of an Acknowledgement of Paternity. Please note that a maximum of two parents may be listed on a child’s birth record in Pennsylvania.
This form may not be used to modify a birth record due to adoption.
If you were married at the time of your child's birth, then the birthing parent's spouse is the child's legal parent unless a specialized registration process has been used to list a biological parent on your child's birth record.
- If your spouse is the child's biological parent, then complete a Request to Modify Parentage on a Birth Record. This form may also be used for couples who marry after the birth of the child where the spouse of the birthing parent is also the biological parent of the child.
- If you are married and had a child with someone other than your spouse, contact our office at 724-656-3100, option 4, for further assistance. As required under legislation, we must notify your spouse of this child's birth prior to adding the biological parent to your child's birth record.
- If you are an unmarried couple and both the birthing parent and the biological father agree to be listed on the child's birth record, please complete an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) form which must be filed with the Department of Human Services (DHS). If you completed the AOP at time of your child's birth but the birth certificate does not list the father, please follow up with DHS at 800-932-0211 . Once you have verified that DHS has processed your AOP, complete a Request to Modify Parentage on a Birth Record. Please note that the AOP must first be processed by DHS before we can add the father to your child's birth record.
- If you are the biological parent of a child and unable to file an AOP, we can list you as the parent of your child once we receive an appropriate court order that demonstrates your parentage. While we receive most of these court orders directly from the courts, you may also submit a Request to Modify Parentage on a Birth Record and provide us with a certified copy of the court order (which must include the raised seal of the court).
Removing a Parent from a Birth Record
To remove a parent from a birth record, we must receive a court order that provides appropriate detail on why the parent's name is being removed. At no time will we add a third parent to a child's birth record. Therefore, if the courts have determined that someone other than the individual(s) listed on a birth record is a parent of the child, then the court must issue a court order to first remove the individual who is not the parent of the child.
If you have a certified copy of a court order to remove a parent from your child's birth record, you may submit a Request to Modify Parentage on a Birth Record along with the certified copy of the court order (which must include the raised seal of the court).
Amending a Birth Record Due to Adoption
Please see the Adoption Information on My Records page for more information.
Please see the Processing Times page for details.
Applying for a Corrected Birth Certificate
Receiving a Free Birth Certificate
To receive a corrected birth certificate free of charge, please return your child's original birth certificate along with the Request to Modify Parentage on a Birth Record before your child is six months old.
Applying for a Birth Certificate
If you submitted a Request to Modify Parentage on a Birth Record and you indicated on the form that you want an updated birth certificate, you do not need to do anything further.
If you submitted a Request to Modify Parentage on a Birth Record but did not indicate that you wanted an updated birth certificate, please do not order a new birth certificate until we notify you that your child's birth record has been corrected. Once you receive this notification from us, you may apply for a new birth certificate. Once you receive this notification from us, you may apply for a new birth certificate. See ordering a birth certificate for details on how to apply.