Puerto Rico Birth Certificates
The Real ID act has been in effect since 2005. It requires states to update their state issued identifications and driver's licenses to newer more advanced security standards. For 13 years, there have been delays in implementing the full spectrum of the law and, thus, some states have not fully implemented the change in their state issued identifications. Recently as reported by Bloomberg News, a recent announcement by the Trump administration requires that all states be in compliance by October 2018. If not, flight restrictions will go into effect, preventing travelers with outdated licenses to not be able to travel to their place of destination. This means that potentially if you don't have a new driver's license or an updated form of identification you will not be allowed to travel.
The new rules under the "Real ID Act" state that driver's licenses must align or match with your birth certificate. This posses a problem for people that either have an incorrect birth certificates or those who have made a change of name that is not reflected on their birth certificate. In Puerto Rico, this is a major obstacle. Puerto Rico does not freely change names on birth certificates issued by the Puerto Rico Department of Health: Demographic Registry or "Registro Demográfico". The courts in Puerto Rico need to order the Demographic Registry to make any changes that are done outside of the Department of Health, (internal errors). This means that people that had their names changed because of marriage, or locally in their state, will have to go to court in Puerto Rico to finalize their name change.
In most cases, this is the only way you will get your birth certificate changed or corrected. It can be very frustrating. Dealing with the "Registro Demográfico" is very cumbersome and time consuming. Litigating a case in Puerto Rico is also very time consuming and expensive. In many cases, several agencies need to be notified, including the State Attorney's office in order to give them an opportunity to intervene. You also need to request a criminal background-check in Puerto Rico and in the state that you reside in. In cases involving minors the Puerto Rico department of children and families can often get involved and appear in court to oppose the proceedings or to request to be heard. This happens quite often with adoptions. When a baby born in Puerto Rico is adopted in the United States, after the adoptions process takes place in the state where the adoptive parents live, they must bring a law suit in Puerto Rico, called "Exequatur", to register the out of state order. This can substantially add to the cost of adoptions and a baby born in Puerto Rico.
As you can see, there are many obstacles involved in updating or changing a birth certificate in Puerto Rico. This issues can add up in terms of costs and in terms of time. Given the new policy by the government and the short window of time given how slow things tend to move in Puerto Rico, it is important for people that need to correct a Puerto Rico birth certificate or change their name to move quickly to start the process. Unfortunately, there is often no other way around this. So it is best to plan.
Our Puerto Rico lawyers can help you every state of the way with name changes, correcting your birth certificate or changing your name in Puerto Rico. Call us now for more information and to get the process started.