Legally Changing The Name On Your Birth Certificate

Dear Atty. Duran-Schulze,

Hello. I found your blog post when searching from New Zealand on how to change a first name in the Philippines:

My Filipino partner has all her documentation in her used name, Sena. This includes NBI Clearance, Passport, Singapore Police Clearance and New Zealand bank accounts and tax department.

However, Sena was born Zena, as found in her birth certificate, and that is the only official document that bears this name. Her baptismal uses Sena, and the Philippine authorities used the baptismal as identification in the issuance of her passport. They were presented with the birth certificate, but for some reason didn’t use it.

Sena is applying for residence in New Zealand. The authorities here require that her passport and birth certificate match. Clearly this is not possible.

Having read your blog post, it seems the easiest and most practical way to address this is to correct her name in the birth certificate so Sena can be officially recognised.

Please advise how you can assist in this matter, and also provide a fee estimate. Her passport is attached.


Hi Bruce,

The first name of “Zena” appearing in the birth certificate may be changed to Sena by filing a petition for change of name under RA 9048. This should be filed in the local civil registry office of the city/municipality where the birth is registered.

Section 1 of RA 9048 provides that “no entry in a civil register shall be changed or corrected without a judicial order, except for clerical or typographical errors and change of first name or nickname which can be corrected or changed by the concerned city or municipal civil registrar…”

A “clerical or typographical error” is defined under RA 9048 as “a mistake committed in the performance of clerical work in writing, copying, transcribing or typing an entry in the civil register that is harmless and innocuous, such as misspelled name or misspelled place of birth or the like…”

Considering the case of Sena, this is only a clerical or typographical error on her birth certificate. She may proceed with the local civil registry office of the city/municipality where the birth is registered and present the supporting documents containing the entry to be corrected.

We hope we are able to answer your query. Please be informed that the foregoing legal opinion is based solely on the facts that you have provided us and our appreciation of the same. In case you need further assistance, our firm is open and ready to assist you. Thank you.

One Response

  1. I personally consulted to this firm about my issues on last name and their team is nothing but helpful. They have provided all the help and assistance that I need even the very small details that I need to know. I sent an email and got timely responses and feedback. All of my questions were answered, concerns were attended with supporting facts/labor law articles. I would definitely recommend this firm and would prefer to go with them if in case I will need to in the future. Shout out to Atty. Mary who has been helping me out. Thank you, team.

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