July Birth Data News


Birth Data News

2013 statute changes - what they mean for you

The 2013 Minnesota legislative session made some additions, deletions and amendments to the Minnesota Statutes that will affect vital records – and your work.  Before these changes become effective on August 1, 2013, we want to share some best practice recommendations, and help you avoid some costly mistakes.

The length of time for free correction of birth records is both longer AND shorter, depending on the specific situation. Effective August 1, 2013, birth records can be corrected - at no cost! - for up to one year from the child’s date of birth, or until issuance of a certificate, whichever comes first. This means you can make corrections in MR&C for a whole year, unless a certificate is printed. As soon as a certificate is printed – even right after birth – all changes to certification items (anything that prints on the certificate) are considered “amendments” and fees and documentation requirements apply.

Therefore, it’s now even more important for parents to review and verify their child’s birth record information before buying a birth certificate. Please use the “Verification of Birth Facts” form printed from MR&C to help ensure the certificate will print correctly.

If a certificate is printed, but it contains an error, the certificate cannot be exchanged. In addition to the $40 fee to amend the birth record, a new certificate will have to be purchased after amendment; so verification is essential. We are recommending that the local issuance offices print a verification copy or Parent Notice prior to printing certificates. We cannot provide this service to mailed/faxed requests, nor can we be responsible if verification does not occur.

Obviously, proofreading at the hospital will help prevent unnecessary errors and expense!

Statutory language was added about the security of the vital records system which actually describes features already built into the MR&C system. Users may not immediately notice any changes to their practice, although we may require that birth registrars sign user agreements at infrequent intervals to maintain user access.  Staff members from MDH’s Office of Vital Records will be available to help train and monitor user access and data integrity.

Effective August 1, “Civil Marriage” will be defined to include and recognize marriage between persons of the same sex. Because the spouse of a married mother is the legal parent of any child born during the marriage, her spouse (male or female) should be entered on the birth record. However, establishing parentage for married male couples is not changed.  To name both parents on their children’s birth records, married male couples should continue to use the Minnesota Voluntary Recognition of Parentage (ROP) form or an ROP in combination with the Husband’s Non-Paternity Statement (HNPS) form, or adoptions and/or court orders. It is also important to note that proof of marriage is still not required and the ROP form is only for biological fathers and not appropriate for unmarried female couples. 

Also on August 1, the “Office of the State Registrar” will be renamed the “Office of Vital Records” which better describes the work we do.  Watch for changes to appear on forms, websites and other publications.


When entering information in the mother’s or father’s country of birth field, please do not use ‘other.’  All countries recognized by the United States should be found in the drop down menu.   If you are unable to find the country using the drop down menu please call the Office of Vital Records for assistance. 

A listing of independent states in the world can be found on the U.S. Department of State’s website:  http://www.state.gov/s/inr/rls/4250.htm.

Some common geographic areas that have been entered as ‘other’ in error are:

Puerto Rico - because Puerto Rico is a United States territory, it will be found listed with the fifty states in the drop down menu for the United States.  This is true of all of the U.S. territories (which consist of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa). 

Africa/West Africa – the African country where the parent was born should be entered instead of entering the continent or a region in Africa. 

Palestine – Palestine is not a country recognized by the United States.



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