Getty Images/Yana Paskova
A participant waves a flag in the annual Puerto Rico Day Parade, June 8, 2008 in New York City.
The Puerto Rican government has launched a new online application process for Puerto Ricans stateside to acquire their birth certificates.
The new site was created as a result of officials last year discovering hundreds of birth certificates stolen from schools during raids.
Officials say that the new certificates are aimed at upgrading service for Puerto Ricans living stateside.
The Puerto Rican Federal Affairs Administration stated that the new security enhanced certificates would begin being issued on July 1, 2010. Until then, old certificates will remain valid.
New York has historically had a large population of Puerto Ricans living within the five boroughs. To people like Vilma Delgado, who came to the United States from Puerto Rico in 1986, the birth certificate situation is cause for concern.
“I don’t know if I need one, but I think I want one,” says the 50-year-old teacher from the Bronx.
The trouble facing many in the city is figuring out if they “need” to get a new one.
“You may not need a new certificate," Luis Balzac, the Regional Director at the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration told NBCNewYork, "But there are instances in which you are required to have the new version.”
And Balzac stressed, “Only those who need a birth certificate for a transaction or official purpose need to apply right away.”
On-line applications for the new certificates are being accepted at www.pr.gov.
The site allows anyone who wants the new certificate to complete the application, in English or Spanish. It also acts as a hub that allows you to upload the necessary identification documents, such as a scanned copy of a driver’s license or U.S. passport, and pay for the new certificate via Visa or Master Card. The site also allows you to download the form and send it in by mail.
The service will run you $5, but special consideration has been taken and the fee has been waived for people over 60 and veterans
Once you punch in all of the relevant information you will receive a receipt of payment and information on how to check the status of their order. The orders are processed as they are received. You can expect your certificate to ship as of July 1, 2010.