U.S. residents born in Puerto Rico need new birth certificates

The governor of Puerto Rico signed a new law recently which requires all U.S. residents born on the island to obtain a new certified birth certificate.

The move is a way to cut down on identity theft, which has been widespread because of overuse of birth certificates on the island, according to information from the U.S. Department of State. Birth certificates are commonly misused to apply for school enrollment, employment, driver’s licenses, loans and even children’s sporting programs, and subsequently are stored in unsafe areas. The law, which went into effect Jan. 1, also will prohibit public and private entities from retaining certified birth certificates.

Birth certificates of Puerto Ricans are the source of 40 percent of the more than 8,000 cases of passport fraud being investigated, according to the state department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

Elizabeth Johnston, the parish secretary at Our Lady of the Americas, verified contact information staff members found to let parishioners know how to get the process started to obtain a new birth certificate. She said the staff was able to confirm that the certificates are available once native Puerto Ricans complete their paperwork.

"We think this is too important to let go by without us mentioning it to help people get the information they need," she said. "We will also be mentioning it in our bulletin soon."

EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information on how to obtain a new birth certificate, call visit 787-767-9120 ext. 2402 or visit Puerto Rico’s Department of Health Web site

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