Can You Legally Change Your Birthday? (Yes, But You Probably Won’t)

  • Time to read: 5 min.

Yes, there are procedures to make changes to a birth certificate to change the birthdays of babies, children, and adults in every jurisdiction in the United States.

That being said, you can’t legally change your birthday in every circumstance.

In general, you can only change your birth date if the stated date is wrong, or there is a compelling circumstance.

Can You Legally Change Your Birthday? (EXPLAINED)

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Why Changing Your Birth Date Without Justification Is So Hard

Your name (and social security number) are applied to you, given to you, after you are born.

Your date of birth, on the other hand, is not given to you.

It is a fact, just like the place you were born (city, state, facility), as well as the person who birthed you.

These facts, in addition to the name and numbers applied to you, are the ways that our identity is established and proven in the United States.

This factual date is a major way that government agencies differentiate people with the same names, who live in the same towns, who even look alike.

The most likely justification for succeeding in a birth day change petition is that the date on the birth certificate (and with subsequent government agencies) is not correct.

This is correcting the documentation to bring the paperwork in line with the facts.

Not with what people want the information to be.

For this reason, if you want to change your birthday from September 7th to October 31st is because it would be cool to celebrate your birthday on Halloween, your request is likely to be denied.

You Would Probably Be In Trouble If You Just Started Using A Different Birth Date

There’s nothing wrong with throwing a birthday party on a day of the year that is not the date of the year you were actually born on.

But you will have a problem if you purposefully put the wrong date on paperwork.

You could find yourself at the wrong end of a perjury, fraud, theft, or civil misrepresentation court case (among others), depending upon how much you benefited from your lie about your birthdate.

The result could be fines or even jail time.

(not recommended)

Good and Compelling Justifications For Changing A Birth Date

In general, the most compelling reason is that an error was made in the creation of the documentation that confirmed the factual details of someone’s birth.

This is why many agencies don’t require testimony or a court order to update a birth certificate, as the facts of the birth are easily confirmed with the birthing facility.

Another situation that often produces a change to a birth date information is an international adoption, where the information represented during the adoption obviously doesn’t match the age of the child.

This can happen in many circumstances, such as with young children, children who do not know the year of their birth, children who are unable to communicate the year of their birth because of a physical, mental, or emotional impairment, or when the birth date was misrepresented to convince the parents to adopt a child.

In general, it is in the best interests of the child to get a birth date that is closest to the age that a doctor or dentist can establish for them, so that the child will be able to attend school, graduate, work, and drive when it is developmentally appropriate for him to do so.

Another compelling justification is that the individual is in a witness protection program administered by the government.

In this case, the government would file and assist with the paperwork necessary to obtain the updated/changed information for the witness.

Depending on the situation (which obviously goes beyond the scope of this article), the witness could receive alternative identify paperwork to use for a short period of time, or actually have all of their records updated.

There could also be other fact specific justifications that could convince a court to allow a birth certificate change.

But these situations will be individual and few.

Correcting The Record: Rules and Procedures Will Vary (Check Your Specific Location)

If you are looking to correct an error upon the initial filing of a baby’s birth certificate, the process might be a lot different than someone who doesn’t like the fact that their birthday falls on Christmas Day (December 25).

Each state will have its own laws and rules for who can request that the birth date be changed, as well as the grounds for making such a change.

Each state will also have its own procedures for doing so.

In some states (like Oregon), the process for correcting the birth date error on a certificate is as simple as filing a request, and the records division will verify the correct date of birth by contacting the birth facility to verify it.

In some cases, a correction can be made to a birth certificate with paper documentation (such as sworn affidavits).

In other cases, the change can only be made by a court order, after live testimony has been presented to a court of record.

Further, each court or agency in each state will have its own procedures for how you will actually file that paperwork.

You’ll definitely want to get state specific information (in the United States, we can’t speak for the rules or laws in other countries).

Once you have a general idea of what the rules are, find out what the procedures are in your local court or agency.

Again, how to file paperwork in a court in one town could be different from how you’d go about it in another town.

The Corrected Birth Certificate Is Usually The Gateway To Updating Other Records

In most cases, the updated birth certificate (once things have been corrected and the official paperwork has been mailed to you) is what you’ll need to correct your birthday with other government agencies or companies.

You’ll need to take certified true copies of that birth certificate with you (or mail it to) the social security administration, the DMV, the school, to your credit card companies, basically everywhere.

Wrap Up

Does it make it a better justice system when all the judges are former prosecutors? That’s another question entirely.

Want to learn more about your criminal justice system?

Browse our free legal library guides for more information.

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