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Birth certificate issuance process receives an upgrade

Published September 20. 2010 05:04PM

Starting Oct. 1, PennDOT can no longer accept birth certificates issued by the Puerto Rican government prior to July 1, 2010, as acceptable proof of identity when applying for a driver's license or photo identification card, the agency announced.

The change is due to a law passed by the Puerto Rican government last year, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, invalidating all Puerto Rico-issued birth certificates issued prior to July 1, 2010. The law aims to strengthen the birth certificate issuance process to combat the fraudulent use of Puerto Rico-issued birth certificates to unlawfully obtain U.S. passports, Social Security benefits and other federal services.

Individuals born in Puerto Rico who were issued a birth certificate prior to July 1, 2010, may obtain a new, valid copy of their birth certificate from the Puerto Rico Vital Statistics Record Office. Puerto Rico's government advises Puerto Rican-born individuals living stateside that only those who need a birth certificate for a transaction or official purpose need apply as soon as possible; those who want to obtain a copy for their records can do so at a later date.

In order to assist the Puerto Rican-born community living in the U.S., the Puerto Rican government has launched an online process for individuals to apply for the new birth certificates available via For more information about the new law and instructions on how to apply by mail, visit

For additional information on the identity and residency documentation needed to obtain a Pennsylvania driver's license or photo ID card, visitthe Identity/Security Information Center on PennDOT's Driver and Vehicle Services website,

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