Both houses of the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico have approved an amendment that will extend the life of birth certificates that have not been replaced by the more secure version being implemented.
The deadline originally scheduled for July 1st has now been extended for three months.
Nicole Guillemard, a spokesperson for the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA) said “The purpose of the extension is to provide for those Puerto Rico-born -- who may need a birth certificate for an upcoming transaction."
Last year, Puerto Rico passed a law which called for new, security-enhanced certificates to be issued beginning July 1, 2010.
These certificates address the unlawful use of Puerto Rico-issued birth certificates to commit identity theft and fraud. The law was passed in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It addresses a concern specific to Puerto Rico, where in the past, many common official and unofficial transactions unnecessarily required the submission, retention, and storage of birth certificates.
These documents were stored without adequate protection leaving many Puerto Ricans easy targets for identity theft, ruined credit, stolen Social Security benefits, and increased "random" security checks at airports.
The law also prevents any public or private entity in Puerto Rico from retaining an original birth certificate.
Earlier this year, the PRFAA launched an information outreach campaign aimed at states with large Puerto Rican populations. The Government launched an on-line application process through the website - www.pr.gov - to provide convenience and ease-of-use for those applying for the new certificate late in May
The Puerto Rican Government has recently hired 47 temporary workers to join the agency's personnel to work on new birth certificate applications, and the agency is extending its hours, and adding Saturday hours, to speed processing of applications.
Guillemard wants Puerto Ricans living in the states to know, “That only those who need a birth certificate for a transaction or official purpose need apply right away. Those who want to obtain a copy for their records can do so at a later date to avoid an unnecessary rush of applications.”
You can read the new law and apply at: www.prfaa.com/birthcertificates and www.prfaa.com/certificadosdenacimiento/.