DEAR MRS MACAULAY,
My uncle would like to file for his mother to live in the USA with him. He is having trouble doing this because his mother's name on his birth certificate is spelled differently than her name on her ID and passport. Her ID and passport have the incorrect spelling, which happened when my uncle's mother went to get an updated birth certificate. The government officials told her that her name was actually spelled ending in LIN, and she didn't argue with them and got her documents. She assumed they'd change the name on her children's updated birth certificates, but they did not do this. So now the US Government is saying that this isn't proof she is my uncle's mom because her name on the passport is different.
What is the best way to fix this? How does she get her name changed on her passport and ID? Is there a way to call them and explain that she is old and did not realise the mistake made?
This is a very unfortunate situation for your uncle and his mother as it has delayed the processing of his filing for her to join him in the United States.
You say that in your uncle's mother's passport and her ID (national?), her name differs from that on her birth certificate, which has the correct spelling of her name. Her name was clearly entered incorrectly in her passport and on her ID. You stated that the misspelling became apparent when she applied for a certified copy of her birth certificate in the current form. So, if I understand you correctly, the birth certificates of your uncle and his mother have her name correctly spelt thereon, but her name is incorrectly spelt in her passport and on her ID.
You say that the US Government has stated that there is no proof that she is your uncle's mother because of the different names in her birth certificate on the one hand, and her passport and ID on the other hand. I do not understand your statement that when it was explained to her at the Registrar General's Department (RGD) that her name actually ends with “Lin” that she did not argue with them and took her documents, assuming that they would change the name in her children's “updated birth certificates”. I do not understand this at all, because you make it quite clear that the incorrect spelling is in the passport and on the ID and the correct one is in her birth records and appear on the current certified copy of her birth certificate. So why would she expect that they would change the spelling in her children's birth records and certificates?
You have asked what is the best way to fix this. The best way to get her name changed in her passport and her ID, is to go and apply for a new passport and a new ID. I hope you will accompany her and assist her throughout both processes. She must take the current certified copy of her birth certificate with her and explain that she is making the application for a new passport because of the mistake in her name, which she had not noticed at the time it was issued to her, and that having her name in her birth certificate differ from that in her passport is causing her and her children difficulties as it raises questions about the authenticity of her claim of being their mother. If the passport office will agree to issue a corrected passport in place of the one bearing the incorrect name, then all would be well and good, as it would have been the fault of that office in preparing the passport for issue. I, however, believe that it would be less troublesome to just obtain a new passport in her correct name. When it is collected, do not forget to check the name entered therein and all other entries before you leave the office with it. If there is any difficulty raised about her getting a new passport when her current one has not expired, you must assist her to explain that this is of no use to her and it was their fault by not entering her name correctly and ask for the officer in charge of applications for new passports. The same should be done in relation to the ID.
To make assurance doubly sure for the US Government and your uncle's filing for her, they could also do a DNA test and add that to the filing documents with her current certified copy of her birth certificate and her new passport with her correct name and ID. With all these in proper order there can be no grounds for doubting her as the mother of your uncle.
I trust that I have explained what can be done clearly and that success will be attained in the very near future so that your uncle's filing for his mother is allowed, so that they can enjoy some years living together.
All the best wishes.
Margarette May Macaulay is an attorney-at-law, Supreme Court mediator, notary public, and women's and children's rights advocate. Send questions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org ; or write to All Woman, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5. All responses are published. Mrs Macaulay cannot provide personal responses.
The contents of this article are for informational purposes only, and must not be relied upon as an alternative to legal advice from your own attorney.