The Vital Statistics Registry of Puerto Rico is responsible for all things related to the registration and preservation of the record of births in Puerto Rico. When a person wishes to change, add, or modify the first or last name with which they were registered, they must follow the procedure established under Law No. 24 of 1931, known as the “Vital Statistics Registry Act of Puerto Rico,” as amended.
Bear in mind that changes to last names refer to any correction related to order, or to having more than one last name, or to an error made when recording an entry in the Vital Statistics Registry. This procedure is not related to a change in last names as a result of a filiation proceeding.
Process for Change of Name
Who can request a name change in a Puerto Rico court?
Persons born in Puerto Rico and who have been registered in the Vital Statistics Registry.
What choices are available to someone who is interested in changing their name?
The process can be carried out in two ways:
- by filing a petition with the Superior Court of the Court of First Instance
- before an attorney-notary as a non-contentious matter under Law No. 282 of1999, known as the “Non-Contentious Notarial Matters Act,” which provides for procedures to change, replace, add, eliminate, correct, or modify a first or last name in the Vital Statistics Registry
How is a name change made in court?
A name change is a voluntary jurisdiction proceeding, which means that the person interested files a petition with the Court of First Instance and submits to the jurisdiction or authority of the Court without the need to bring an action against anyone. Therefore, the process is not contentious and is identified as an ex parte proceeding.
What documents do I need?
The person interested in changing their name must have two sets of copies of the required documents; one set is for the Court and another is for the District Attorney’s Office for the corresponding judicial region. The documents are:
In the petition, the person must state their legal name (first and last names), the name by which they are known and which they seek entry in the legal registry, their mailing address, telephone number, email address, and the reasons for changing their name. To do this, the person may use the Petition for Change of First or Last Name form (OAT 1896).
A sworn statement certifying that everything stated in the petition is correct and that their reasons for changing their name is not to evade civil or criminal liability. The oath may be taken at the Office of the Clerk of the Court where the petition is filed, free of charge, or before a notary. If you choose to use the Petition for Change of First or Last Name form (OAT 1896), the oath is already included.
Documents in support of your petition
- Birth Certificate (original)
- Copy of photo ID (an identification card issued by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, official passport, or identification issued by a foreign governmental entity with a photo and signature)
- Negative Certification of Debt for all items issued by the Municipal Revenue Collection Center (CRIM, by its Spanish acronym)
- Certificate of Criminal Record (if the petitioner, i.e., the party filing the petition, has lived somewhere other than Puerto Rico, they must also file a Criminal Record Certificate issued by the jurisdiction where they lived)
- Certification of Compliance with the Child Support Administration (ASUME, by its Spanish acronym)
- Negative Debt Certification from the Department of the Treasury
- Internal revenue stamps in the amount of $78.00
This is not an exhaustive list of documents. The judge may request additional documentation.
What is the process for filing documents?
All documents must be filed with the Clerk of the Court. That same day, a copy of all documents must be sent or delivered to the District Attorney’s Office of the corresponding judicial region, and attest to such delivery to the Court. Delivery of the documents to the District Attorney’s Office may be attested on the same Petition for Change of First or Last Name form (OAT 1896).
What should I expect from the process?
- The District Attorney’s Office, represented by prosecutors, has 10 days from the date of notice of service of the documents to file any objection.
- If the District Attorney’s Office objects, the Court will notify the person who requested the change of name and will let them know what the next step is. When this happens, the Court usually orders a hearing.
- If the District Attorney’s Office does not object or does not file an answer within 10 days, the case is taken under advisement. The judge will evaluate the petition and issue a resolution with the decision. The judge may decide the petition based on the documents or order a hearing.
- If the court decides the petition based on the documents, the judge will issue a resolution granting or denying the change. It is normally granted.
- If a hearing is ordered, the Court will notify both the petitioner and the District Attorney’s Office. On the day of the hearing, the petition must appear with at least two people who know them and can attest that they are known by the name they propose. After the hearing, the judge will issue a resolution granting or denying the change.
- The judge will issue a resolution deciding the petition.
- When the name change is ordered, the resolution will be notified to the petitioner and to the Vital Statistics Registry.
- When the change is denied, the petitioner will be notified of the decision and the reason why it was not granted.
What should the petitioner do after receiving the resolution granting the change?
- The petitioner must return to the Office of the Clerk of the Court and request a certified copy of the resolution. The cost of the copy is $6.00, for the file search and the first page of the resolution, and $0.60 for each additional page. The certification has an additional cost of $1.00.
- The certified copy of the resolution must be taken to the Vital Statistics Registry to change their name on the Birth Certificate. After obtaining the corrected Birth Certificate, the person must bring a copy of said birth certificate and of the Court’s decision to change their name on the identification documents at to:
- Social Security Office
- Department of Transportation and Public Works
- State Election Commission
- any other agency that has a record under their previous name