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HUD   >   Press Room   >   Speeches, Remarks, Statements   >   2010   >   Statement-061810

June 18, 2010

PUERTO RICO TO STRENGHTEN ISSUANCE OF BIRTH CERTIFICATES
Starting July 1ST, new online process of issuing birth certificates to ensure security and privacy

In an effort to combat fraud and protect the identity and credit of those born in Puerto Rico, a new law will take effect on July 1, 2010, that will strengthen the process the Commonwealth uses to issue birth certificates for its citizens. The new law requires that Puerto Rican citizens replace their old birth certificates through a more secure online system that will better protect their privacy and reduce the risk of identify theft.

The new law, which is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the government of Puerto Rico, will also address the fraudulent use of Puerto Rican birth certificates to unlawfully obtain U.S. passports, Social Security benefits, and other federal services, like those offered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

For example, persons may present Puerto Rican birth certificates to establish eligibility for public housing or other HUD rental assistance programs. HUD, along with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, wants to ensure that the identities and rights of all U.S. citizens are protected, and that those citizens continue to be able to obtain all the benefits and services to which they are entitled.

All birth certificates issued before July 1, 2010, will remain valid until that date, when they must be replaced with new, more secure documentation. Puerto Rican-born individuals can apply for a new, more secure birth certificate after that date. For more information, visit www.pr.gov.