Topics on this page:
- The general process
- New name
- Misspelled name
- Missing name
- Required documents
- Amending or correcting parent information
The general process
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’s Division of Vital Records (DVR). You can bring documents to DVR in person or you can mail them. You can find the DVR contact information, including the agency street address, on the Division website.
Changing the name on the certificate to a new name
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 to the Department of Health from both parents listed on the birth certificate. Both parents must also submit an affidavit (a sworn statement) that they are the true parents of the child and that they are making the request of their own free will. If only one parent is listed on the birth certificate, only the named parent must submit an affidavit. The affidavit must be sworn before a notary public. The affidavit is available on the Maryland Department of Health's website.
A second name change within a year, or a name change after one year, requires a court order.
Read the law: Health - General § 4-214
For more information on the process for getting a court order, please read:
If the name on a birth certificate is spelled incorrectly, you do not need a court order to correct the spelling. You must provide the required documents (listed below) to show the correct spelling.
If the first and last names are missing from the birth certificate, these 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 to 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- these are acceptable if:
- They are an original certificate or book record made at the time of baptism, or
- A copy of the certificate or book record executed under church seal by the custodian of the church record, or
- A notarized statement attesting to the baptism and signed by the custodian of the 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 of Health 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.
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 (same specifications as above)
- 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, depending on the exact documentation you provide.