North Carolina

Family: How to make changes to a Birth Certificate

Authored By: Legal Aid of North Carolina LSC Funded

Quick Facts


Changes to a birth certificate that DO NOT require a court order But DO require PROOF

The following corrections to a birth certificate can be made by written requests on forms provided by the State Registrar:

1. Birth place of parents;

2. County of birth;

3. Spelling of given name of child after four (4) years of birth;

4. Spelling of father’s or mother’s name;

5. Age of parent;

6. Sex of child if incorrectly recorded;

7. Date of birth;

8. Hour of birth.

These corrections, except #6 and #7, will result in the birth certificate marked "Amended".

The request must be supported or proved by at least one document. The request must be signed by at least a parent or guardian of the minor child, if the name to be changed is that of a minor.

The information in support of correction to the birth certificate should not be conflicting or inconsistent with the correction. This could result in denial of the amendment.

Examples of documentary proof submitted to change a birth certificate:

1. Early school records;

2. Census records;

3. Marriage certificate;

4. Birth certificate of family members;

5. Rolls of federally or state recognized Indian tribes;

6. Baptismal records;

7. Medical records.


Changes to a birth certificate that DO NOT require a court order AND DO NOT require proof.

Minor corrections to a birth certificate can be made by a written application on forms provided by the State Registrar.

1. Any obvious clerical error;

2. Addresses;

3. Occupation;

4. Birth order;

5. Spelling of informant’s name;

6. Spelling of child’s name within four (4) years of birth.

These changes do not result in the birth certificate being marked as "Amended". 

Changes to a birth certificate that REQUIRE a court order

The following changes to a birth certificate require an order from court:

1. Change in the surname (last name);

2. Changes in parentage (adding or changing who is the father).

If you are trying to change the surname in the birth certificate (ADD or CHANGE the FATHER’S last name), you need a court order. YOU NEED TO CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY.


Adding a Name

If the birth certificate does not indicate a name, the name can be added without a court order for a minor who is five (5) years of age or less. To add a name for a minor who is five (5) years of age or less, the change can be made by completing a form provided by the State Registrar. If the child is not in school, proof of the name does not have to be provided.

To add a name for a minor who is over five (5) years of age, the request for the change MUST include proof of the name. School and medical records showing the name of the child is sufficient proof.


Adding a Surname (Last Name)

If the birth certificate does not indicate a surname, the State Registrar should add the surname upon written request by both parents.

  • If the child was born out of wedlock, the mother’s signature is enough.

  • If the child is six (6) years old or older, proof of the surname is required.

REMEMBER: The instructions above do not apply to changes in the father’s last name. To add or change the surname (last name) of the father, you need a COURT ORDER.


N.C. General Statute 130A-118 Amendment of birth and death certificates


Procedures to Change a Birth Certificate

1. A representative of the State Registrar evaluates the evidence presented.

2. The representative may accept or reject the amendment. If rejected, the applicant will be informed, in writing, of the reasons.

3. The applicant may then request to meet with the State Registrar. (The applicant may be represented by counsel.)

4. Within 45 days, the Head of the Vital Records Section shall review all the evidence and render a decision in writing.

5. The applicant may request a hearing pursuant to North Carolina Administrative Act.

North Carolina Vital Records
225 N. McDowell Street
Raleigh, NC (919) 733-3000


The office of the North Carolina Vital Records is on the first floor of the Cooper Memorial Health Building at 225 N. McDowell Street, Raleigh, N.C. Their hours of operation are between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday – Friday, except on state government holidays. Parking is available on the north (Lane Street) side of the Cooper Building.


Amendments, Corrections, Legitimations, and Paternities

These services are available only by mail or by appointment by contacting Vital Records at 919-733-3000. The processing fee for amendments, corrections, or changes to a certificate is $15.00. Vital Records does not charge a processing fee for paternities. A copy of the new certificate costs $24.00 with an additional $15 expedite fee charged for same-day service.

Processing Fee............................................................



Certificate Fee (if a copy is desired).....................................................








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