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  • Vital Records - Frequently Asked Questions

    Paternities, Name Changes and Corrections:

    Q: If we are not married, how do we put the father's name on my child's birth certificate?
    • Unmarried, natural parents of a child may sign voluntary paternity paperwork to establish paternity on child's birth certificate in the hospital at the time of the child's birth for no charge.
    • If the mother was married anytime within the 10-months preceding the child's birth, the mother must submit a divorce decree stating the child was not the husband's child OR a notarized waiver of paternity completed by the husband with the Acknowledgment of Paternity signed by both natural parents.
    • To submit Acknowledgment of Paternity for a child born in 1997 to present after the child's birth, unmarried, natural parents need to make an appointment with our office call (520) 724-7932 or mail the paperwork in. Parents must submit the Acknowledgment of Paternity, pay $25 (the fee for processing a paternity with the Pima County Vital Records Office which includes a copy of one, certified birth certificate) and provide a completed application form and valid identification of the parent signing the application form (or if sending through the mail, a copy of valid identification).
    • Parents must fill out the Acknowledgment of Paternity in black ink, neatly, with no cross-outs, white-outs or "write-overs" and have their signatures either witnessed by an adult who is 18 years or older and who is not related to either parent by blood or marriage OR have their signatures notarized.
    • If one of the parents does not want to sign voluntary paperwork and the other parent wants the father's name on the certificate, the parent who wants to establish paternity must submit a certified court order from a Superior Court stating that the Office of Vital Records is ordered to add the father's name as the father on the child's birth certificate. To contact Pima County Superior Court call 520-740-2310. Fee waivers at the court are available. When submitting a court order to the Vital Records Office, send a completed application, a copy of the applicant's valid ID and correction fee with the certified court order (we will return your original court order).
    • People wishing to establish paternity for registrants under 18 years old who were born before 1997 must submit their paternity paperwork, an application, fee and copy of applicant's ID to the State Office of Vital Records. For updated fees and forms for the State Office, visit the State Office of Vital Records' website.
    Q: How do I obtain a name change or correction for a birth certificate?
    • The Pima County Vital Records Office only takes in name changes and corrections for people born in 1997 and after by appointment call (520) 724-7932 or through the mail. Please see instructions page of Affidavit to Correct for details. Along with your Affidavit, possible supporting documentation or court order, submit a completed application, a copy of the applicant's valid ID and correction fee (which includes one, certified birth certificate).
    • People wishing to obtain a name change or correction for registrants born before 1997 must submit their correction paperwork (see Affidavit to Correct instructions), an application, fee and copy of applicant's ID to the State Office of Vital Records. For updated fees and forms for the State Office, visit the State Office of Vital Records' website.
    • If the child was adopted abroad by US citizens, they may contact the State Vital Records Office to inquire regarding the foreign born adoption process.  The phone number is (602) 364-1300.

    Additional Note:
    For corrections or amendments to parents' information, the Pima County Office of Vital Records only accepts certified birth certificates for parents born in North America. If a parent has a foreign language birth certificate and was born in Mexico or Canada, a certified translation with a notary seal along with the original, certified birth certificate is required (see www.najit.org/ or www.atanet.org for a translator near you). If a parent has a non-English birth certificate from a country besides Mexico or Canada, their international passport may be used for the correction instead.

    Other Common Questions:

    Q: Can I use my birth certificate for dual citizenship or immigration purposes?
    Birth certificates purchased through the Pima County Vital Records Office for people born from approximately 1990 to the present can generally be used for dual citizenship/immigration purposes. For dual citizenship/immigration you need a certificate that has no blank spaces. Certificates for people born from approximately 1968 to 1989 will usually have some blank spaces on them (not all of the information will be filled in). To get a certificate for dual citizenship/immigration purposes for people born before 1990, apply for "the long form" or "original" birth certificate through the State Office of Vital Records in Phoenix.
    Q: Why does my birth certificate have blank spaces?
    When the State entered all the data from the original birth certificates from 1950 through approximately 1989 into a computer database for all the counties to use, they entered only the information thought to be critical at that time. An effort to scan all of the original documents into a database so they can be issued electronically by all of the counties is underway.
    Q: What is the difference between "an electronic birth certificate" and "an original birth certificate" or "long form"?
    Electronic birth certificates are legal, certified birth certificates that can be used for all official purposes including requesting a passport. We print electronic birth certificates from the computer and you receive an actual paper certificate with a government seal. Pima County only issues electronic birth certificates. Original birth certificates refer to the hard copy certificates stored at the State Office. Only the State office can issue original birth certificates. Since 1997 all birth information has been entered directly into the computer database for issuance, so "original" certificates are not available. People born before 1950 cannot purchase electronic birth certificates because their originals have not been entered in the computer database yet. They can only purchase original birth certificate through the State. "Long form" is another name for an original certificate.
    Q: Can I bring my notarized application to your office if I don't have an ID?
    According to Arizona administrative code R9-19-402, notarized applications are only permitted by mail. We do not accept notarized applications in person in the office.
    Q: Why does my child's certificate have our old address on it?
    The box for "mother's usual address" and "mailing address" always show the address(es) where the mother lived and/or received mail when she gave birth to her child. The county uses this information for statistical purposes. The Office of Vital Records does not update this field if the mother moves or her address changes in any way.
    Q: How do I obtain an apostilla/apostille?
    You will need a recently issued birth certificate with Assistant State Registrar, Patricia Adam's signature on the bottom in order to request an apostilla/apostille. Once you have a recently issued birth certificate, an apostilla/apostille can be purchased for $3 at the Secretary of State, Tucson Office, 400 W Congress St., 2nd floor, Suite 252 in person, Monday-Friday 8 am-5pm or by mail (download an application and find detailed instructions at: http://www.azsos.gov/business_services/notary/Apostille.htm) For more information by phone, call 520-628-6583, press 1 for English, 2 for Spanish, then press 2, 3, 6.
    Q: How long does it take after a person is born for the birth certificate to be available for issuance?
    Hospitals have 7 business days after the newborn's date of birth to electronically transmit birth certificate information to Vital Records. Certificates for newborns are generally available for issuance 7-10 business days after the hospital transmits the information to Vital Records. However, if paternity paperwork was completed at the hospital, the waiting period is generally 21 days from the day the paternity paperwork is mailed out. Please call the hospital to find out when the hospital transmitted your newborn's birth certificate information and/or mailed your newborn's paternity paperwork to Phoenix.
    Q: How long does it take after a person passes away for the death certificate to be available for issuance?
    Death certificates are generally available for issuance 7-10 business days after the death certificate was registered. Please call the funeral home or Willed Body Program to find out when the death certificate was registered.

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    Health Department Office of Vital Records

    3950 S. Country Club Road, Suite 100
    Tucson, AZ 85714
    (520) 724-7932

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