PSA Certificate of No Record: Why it happens and what to Do
A PSA Certificate of No Record appears when the birth, marriage or death certificate is not in the PSA database.
There may be a negative certification from PSA when the document is too old, too new or was never registered.
You might still be able to get a copy of the official Philippine PSA document elsewhere but you will have to check at different government offices and it will take a lot of work and time.
What are PSA documents?
PSA documents are personal records of the people issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority.
PSA documents are:
- Certificate of Live Birth / Report of Birth if born abroad of Filipino parent/s
- Certificate of Marriage / Report of Marriage if married abroad
- Certificate of Death / Report of Death if died abroad
- Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR)
- Certificate of No Result / No Record
All major life events are recorded in the PSA, and you need them for major events – working at a job abroad or getting immigration papers completed.
Is the PSA the same as the NSO?
Many Filipinos think that the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) is just a renamed government agency formerly known as the National Statistics Office (NSO).
Well, not quite.
There are differences between the two, mainly in structure and function.
Let’s talk about the NSO first.
The NSO, formerly National Census and Statistics Office (NCSO) is the product of Commonwealth Act No. 591 that came into effect on August 19, 1940.
The main function of this first version of the NSO was similar to the current PSA until a series of reorganizations were made by past administrations.
The NSO was also decentralized in 1999, by virtue of the Executive Order No. 05.
The decentralization created four major statistics offices:
- the National Statistical Coordination Board,
- the National Statistics Office,
- the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, and
- the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics.
Policy-making was removed from the NSO and was transferred to the National Statistical Coordination Board but retained as an independent single general-purpose statistical agency.
The devolution proved to be challenging to the government. There was redundancy in function and position. There was also a demand for more infrastructure to address the changes.
This was the rationale of the RA 10625 or the Philippine Statistical System (PSS). This created the Philippine Statistics Authority.
The PSS merged back all the statistics offices back into a single agency now known as the PSA. It also created the Philippine Statistical Research and Training Institute out of the former Statistical Research and Training Center.
In summary, the NSO was one of several statistics offices while the PSA is the only statistics agency in the Philippines.
Why do I have a PSA Negative Result?
A PSA negative result is due to many factors such as the age of the document, clerical errors or the destruction of the record itself.
For example, a record may be too old.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) holds all the personal records of every Filipino except those who lived before 1945.
For requests before 1945, the Civil Registrar General only issues a Certificate of No Result.
Aside from the document being too old, a Certificate of No Record may also happen if the event:
- Happened before 1946 in the province
- Happened before 1951 in Metro Manila
- Happened in the last 2 years
So, an event might be too new to get a PSA certificate.
It is common for Birth Certificates.
You might get a Negative Certification of birth if you order it a few weeks after you reported the birth, since there hasn’t been enough time to transmit and upload into PSA Main.
PSA Certificate of No Record: Provincial records before 1945
A PSA Certificate of No Record may occur if the record is from the province and before 1945.
To explain why, I’ll have to give you some history.
The Civil Registry System in the Philippines began during the Spanish colonization.
Back then the civil registry was run by the priests.
Vital civil registry records (mostly of Illustrados) were registered and kept by the Catholic parish and diocesan archives.
Registration was optional until 1889 when it was given importance.
However, the first half of the 20th century were unstable times.
Even with the emphasis on keeping and maintaining a civil registry, war made things difficult. During World War II, Japanese invaders destroyed and burned down buildings. Important public records were not spared.
This is why it is difficult to find records before 1945 in the provinces – and why you might have a Certificate of No Result.
PSA Certificate of No Result: Records in Manila before 1951
You might also have a PSA Certificate of No Result for records from Manila before 1951.
War is also the reason.
Manila was devastated in WWII.
Eventually, things stabilized but many records were destroyed.
Recorded events like births, marriages, and deaths in Manila after 1951 are retrievable.
However, earlier events are stored and preserved at the National Archives of the Philippines, not with the Philippine Statistics Authority.
So, if you are requesting a civil record dating before 1945 and for events that happened in Manila in 1951, the National Archives is the place to be. PSA will only issue a Certificate of No Record or a Certificate of No Result if they cannot find it.
It may also be that it is in the Local Civil Registrar and National Archives but not transmitted to the PSA. In this case, you must have the record transmitted to the PSA.
PSA Negative Result: Records in the last two years
A PSA Negative Result also happens if the event is too new.
Computerization is one of the government’s priorities to serve the people better.
Despite this, getting documents from the PSA can still be slow.
The structure of the bureaucracy plays a huge role in this delay.
Registration is easy but the transmittal from the LCR to the PSA takes some time.
For example, if a baby was born and registered in the last month, you might get a No Record of Birth Certificate from the PSA.
This is because transmitting records between government offices can be very slow and take months, to years. It is that bureaucratic.
This is due to a lack of equipment and infrastructure.
PSA receives more than 10,000 registrations a day and digitalizing them is not an easy task. This problem is further amplified by COVID19 lockdowns.
That is why you might get a Negative certification of birth for my example of a newly born baby.
It also takes some time for the PSA to digitize your record because digitalizing new records are not easy.
For some weeks the hard copies of newly recorded events will be stored in the archive of the civil registry system.
Then, slowly, one by one, the registries will be processed and uploaded in their database to be scanned and digitalized.
Only when the record is digitalized can you get a certificate in a one-day process (but note also that there is a limit to the number of certificates you can request).
You have to wait for 10-15 days before you receive a certificate for any vital event that happened in the last 2 years (or as in my birth certificate example, you might be given a PSA Certificate of No Record).
What do I do if I still get a PSA Certificate of No Record for the event that was reported in the last 2 years but was recorded in the Local Civil Registrar?
If after 10-15 days of waiting, you still receive a PSA Certificate of No Record, it could have been lost or not included in the LCR during the transmittal.
You will need to coordinate with the LCR where the event was reported.
You will first need to provide documentary proof of the recorded event such as the Certified True Copy of the Certificate of Registration Form issued by the Local Civil Registrar and the Certificate of No Record from the PSA along with a photocopy of your valid ID.
You can always authorize a person to do it on your behalf if you are abroad or far away.
You will need to give your authorized representative a notarized Special Power of Attorney with the photocopy of your valid ID and the valid ID of the authorized representative.
The process is like this:
- Armed with your documents, visit the Local Civil Registrar concerned.
- Submit the papers and explain your situation.
- The officer will verify if such record is in their database.
- Once verified, they will tell you that this needs re-endorsement and you need to pay the fee.
- Pay the 150 pesos fee to the cashier (take picture of the receipt for future reference) and submit it back to the receiving officer.
- You will then be given a claim stub with the releasing date of your endorsement letter. (Endorsement Letter is written by the LCR to be submitted to the PSA Main)
- When you get the Certified True Copy of the endorsement letter after a few weeks of waiting, this will then be transmitted to the PSA main. The LCR will transmit it to the PSA main via courier of their choice (this sometimes takes weeks to reach PSA main).
- Once received and assessed by the PSA you will need to pay the 155 pesos fee for the issuance of your Certificate. The releasing date of your certificate will be given to you after the payment.
- Go to the releasing day and claim your document
If you’ve been counting, this is something like 4 to 6 trips or days of work.
(And note that there are several days of waiting in between, so it can take months to address this issue.)
It is a lot of logistics and legwork to do, so be prepared to take several days off of work and to spend time coordinating with the LCR and PSA.
What if you have a PSA Certificate of No Record and the Local Civil Registrar also cannot find the event?
If you have a PSA negative result and you’ve done the work at the LCR, then you might have to go to the National Archives.
This is usually the case when the event was recorded way beyond 1945.
Some people may wonder why you need such an old record but there are a variety of reasons such as:
- Corrections of birth details of the heirs in their birth certificate, that requires old PSA records
- Settling an estate
- Transferring property
It is frustrating if you have a negative result from PSA and the LCR.
Don’t give up just yet (but be prepared to put in more work) because you can still try your luck with the National Archives of the Philippines.
Going to the National Archives takes patience.
You will need to go to the archives and file a request.
You will then need to wait and then go back to check periodically.
However, you really should try this if you really need the record.
Assuming you were able to retrieve the record in the National Archives, you may have to go to the PSA to get them to recognize this result.