Filipinos who work or reside abroad whose PSA birth certificates have corrections need to have these addressed as soon as possible. Inconsistencies in the details of your birth certificate can greatly affect your passport, immigration status, and validity of issued visas or travel permits. When this happens, you might not be able to travel back to the Philippines or worse, you could get deported and have difficulty securing travel permits in the future.
We came across an article written by Joanne Go, a paralegal and office manager of FCB Law Office, published by Rappler last April 13, 2019. She presented the 21-step process needed in order to apply corrections to a Pinoy migrant’s defective birth certificate. This applies to Filipinos who are working or residing abroad but were born in the Philippines. Since the process is quite long, we summarized it in this blog for everybody’s information and guidance:
OFW Birth Certificate Corrections (Migrant Corrections Through the Embassy)
According to Go, the Philippine embassy in the country where the Pinoy migrant is staying is the best option if the birth certificate needing correction is registered at that embassy. However, if your birth certificate is registered in the Philippines, the embassy can only act as a middleman between the OFW or Pinoy migrant and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
So if this happens to you (or your relative who is abroad), here’s what you can do:
- At the Embassy and the DFA
The birth certificate owner needs to submit the documents needed to support the correction he is requesting for, along with the fees that need to be paid. The petition for correction will be posted and the applicant will be issued a Certificate of Posting. The Consul General of that embassy shall forward the petition to the DFA in Manila and the DFA forwards the same to the Local Civil Registrar (LCR) where the birth certificate was originally registered.
2. At the Local Civil Registrar
As soon as the LCR receives the petition (from DFA Manila), they shall get in touch with the birth certificate owner for further instructions, including any additional fees he or she needs to pay. A certificate of posting is likewise issued after all requirements have been fulfilled and the birth certificate owner receives the approved petition. The approved petition is either claimed by the owner himself or by a duly authorized representative (if the owner could not personally appear at the LCR).
The LCR mails the petition to the Office of the Civil Registrar General (OCRG) in Manila.
3. At the Office of the Civil Registrar General
The OCRG acts on the petition and then forwards the decision back to the LCR. The LCR then issues the Certificate of Finality.
If the petition is approved, the LCR shall mail the OCRG all the supporting documents. However, if the petition was denied, the LCR shall file a motion for reconsideration along with the new documents from the petitioner.
Tips when filing a petition for correction when the birth certificate owner is abroad:
- Find someone who can file the petition at the LCR on your behalf.
You must provide the person with a red-ribboned Special Power of Attorney (SPA). This person shall now be authorized to represent you before the LCR and file all the necessary supporting documents that will be required depending on the error that needs to be corrected.
- Have your birth certificate and supporting documents reviewed and assessed by the LCR for completeness and veracity.
You (or your authorized representative) must proactively seek the LCR’s advise on the strength of the documents you submitted and how these documents can help support your petition for correction. According to Go, if you follow the LCR’s advice, your petition has a better chance of getting approved.
- Follow up.
You can do this from abroad or have your representative regularly check with the LCR (as it is cheaper to call locally). Probe for any progress on your filed petition and find out if there are other documents that are needed to help expedite the case.
When the petition is approved, bring it immediately to the PSA so that the necessary corrections would be annotated on your birth certificate. If you fail to do this, your birth certificate will remain uncorrected.
We hope this article would be of help when you find yourself in a situation where you need to have some entries in your birth certificate corrected. If you need a copy of your PSA birth certificate, you could actually order online and have it delivered to your preferred address (home or office). Visit www.psahelpline.ph for more details.