Puerto Rico extends deadline for birth certificate changes

Providence, R.I. – Rhode Islanders born in Puerto Rico will be able to use their current birth certificates to apply for licenses for a few more months while the Puerto Rican government switches to more secure forms of identification.

Puerto Rico will begin issuing new birth certificates on July 1 as part of a fraud-reduction initiative. But the current birth certificates will still be valid for official transactions until September 30, officials said after extending the original deadline by three months.

Luis Balzac, regional director for the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, says the government made the extension to ease the transition for Puerto Ricans living in the states.

"Those of us that live here stateside, by adding these 90 days, it gives a window, so that you have a valid birth certificate while you can go ahead and do a transaction to get the new one, for those that need it," he explained.

Not only will Puerto Rican birth certificates look different after this summer, but it will also be illegal for both public and private entities in Puerto Rico to retain original birth certificates.

"The issue is, those organizations don't necessarily have the security measures in place to protect those types of documents," Balzac said, explaining that it was common practice for Puerto Rican schools, sports teams and government agencies to collect original copies of birth certificates, not just photocopies.