Accurate birth records are a primary function for the Division of Vital Records. Our staff works very closely with hospitals and families to assure that information on a birth record is correct. Occasionally, an error needs to be corrected or amended to make sure that birth records are accurate, and the process differs slightly depending on when the error is identified.
Birth records contain a lot of information but only few items are eligible to be corrected or amended in North Dakota. These items include an individual's:
- First, middle, and last name
- Date of birth
- Sex (hospital error)
- Place of birth (name of hospital or facility, city, county, state)
- Parent's names (first, middle, last)
- Mother’s maiden name at birth (mother’s last name before first marriage)
A parent or legal guardian may correct any item listed above within one year of the birth simply by contacting our office and making the request in writing. All parents listed on the birth record must agree to the correction and each item can only be corrected once. If an item needs to be corrected for a second time, a court order is required.
As a parent, you should have been given the opportunity to review the information that the hospital entered into the electronic birth registration system. The parent's verification form should show all the items listed above and needs to be reviewed for accuracy by the parents at the time of birth. If you received a Parent's Verification form from the hospital, you may use this form to make corrections to the incorrect information simply by crossing it out and writing the correct information above or beside it and then send that corrected form to our office. Again, all parent's listed on the birth record must agree to the correction.
Hospitals can make changes to the record up until the time they submit the record to our office for filing. After the record has been filed, only the Division of Vital Records has the authority to correct birth record information. No fee is required to make a correction.
Before a correction can be made to a birth record, you must return any certified copies that have been issued. If this process is completed within 30 days, the updated certified copies will be replaced at no additional charge.
To contact our office about a correction, simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you notice that something needs to be changed on a birth record and it is more than one year after the birth, you must follow these steps:
- Make a request for a certified copy of the birth record needing to be changed using our Birth Request Form with the information as it is to appear on the birth record along with the $15 fee and a copy of your ID as explained on the form. If you have made a request in the last 90 days for a birth record and found an error, you do not have to request another copy.
- Contact our office by phone at (701) 328-2360 or by email at email@example.com.
- If it is determined that the amendment can be made, follow the instructions provided by our office.
The amendment process is very similar to the correction process, but because the record has been on file for more than one year from the original date of birth, our office requires additional documentation to support the requested change.
The Division of Vital Records does have walk-in service; however, due to the time required to review a request and make the changes, same-day service is not available. It takes approximately 3-5 business days to update a birth record before the amended certified copy can be issued.
Who can request an amendment to a birth record?
- If you are the individual named on the record, you must be 18 or older to request an amendment.
- If you are a parent, your name must be listed on the birth record.
- If you are a legal guardian or legal representative of the individual named on the record, you must include a certified copy of a U.S. court order with the application. The court order must name you as the legal guardian or list you as the legal representative.
- Amendments cannot be made to the birth record of a deceased individual.
Does the birth certificate look different after an amendment?
Yes. There will be amendment notes near the bottom of the birth information that explains what item was changed and what document(s) were used to substantiate the change.
For amendments the following example note or some similar language would be printed on the certificate:
“Middle name changed from Peter to Paul based on 2017 baptismal record and 2018 hospital record".
If you have questions about amending a birth record after reading this information, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.