You will need to register the birth of your child no later than three months after his/her birth. Registration is a legal requirement in Ireland.
The birth certificate will contain the information on the child and the parents that is given at the time of registration, so it is important that the information given is accurate. It is difficult to change the details after the initial registration. If the parents of a child are not married to each other, there is no presumption in law as to who is the father of the child, unless the father's name is on the birth certificate.
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A birth may be registered in the office of any Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths, regardless of where it took place.
A Birth Notification Form (Form BNF/01) outlines the information to be recorded in the Register of Births and should be completed by one or both of the parents to guarantee that correct and accurate information is registered. This form is given to mothers in hospital and should be completed and returned to hospital staff before the mother is discharged. The form will be forwarded to the Registrar's Office letting the Registrar know that a birth has occurred. This is not enough, however, to register the birth.
The registration of the birth is carried out based on information provided by a qualified informant who is required to attend at the Office of the Registrar to sign the Register of Births. The mother and father of the child are the main qualified informants and, where possible, must attend personally for the registration of the birth. They must bring photo identification, for example a passport or driving licence, and their Personal Public Security Numbers (PPSN). In some cases, for example where a mother has been married previously, additional material may be required and they are advised to contact the Civil Registration Service to find out more.
If the parents are in a recognised marriage only one parent need attend, however if both wish to sign the register they should both attend. If the parents were married in another country, they should bring the original marriage certificate and a translation if required. Where the parents do not register the birth, or it is not possible for them to do it, the following individuals can also act as qualified informants:
- a designated member of the staff of the hospital (or other institution, organisation or enterprise) where the birth took place
- any person present at the birth
- any person present in the dwelling where the birth occurred
- any person who has charge of the child
- a person appointed guardian of the child
- a person found to be the parent of the child by order of the courts.
There are different options for registration, including the father's details, where the mother and father are not married. (The forms used are available from the Registrar's Office.)
The options are as follows:
- Both the mother and father can jointly request the registration (Form CRA 9). Both attend the Registrar's Office together and sign the register jointly.
- The mother can complete a declaration form naming the father (Form CRA 1) and bring it, along with a declaration by the baby's father acknowledging that he is the father of the child (Form CRA 3). The mother signs the register.
- The father may complete a declaration form acknowledging that he is the father of the child (Form CRA 2), and may go to the Registrar's Office himself, bringing with him a declaration by the mother naming the father (Form CRA 4)
- The mother or father may make a written request (Form CRA 5 and Form CRA 6 respectively) on production of a certified copy of a court order which names the person to be registered as the father. The parent making the request will be required to attend at the Office of the Registrar to sign the Register of Births.
If you marry after the birth of your child, and if the father's name has not already been entered in the Register of Births, you may re-register the birth. Under the Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2002, it is possible to change the surname of the child where a couple are re-registering a birth in order to add the father's details, if the registration took place between October 1997 and the commencement of the legislation in October 2002. However, it is not possible to change the surname of the child in the Register of Births if the father's details were recorded in the original registration. The child's surname can only be changed at the joint request of both parents. It is also possible to enter the father's details if the mother is married to someone else.
For births on or after 5 December 2005, parents who marry each other after the birth may re-register the birth to reflect their marital status, and may change the child's surname.
A leaflet on Birth Registration of Children (pdf) is available on www.treoir.ie
The following information is recorded in the Register of Births:
- Surname. Since October 1997, a surname for the baby is registered when the birth is being registered. The surname registered must be the surname of the father or mother or both. If you want your child to have a surname other than the surname of the father or mother or both, then an application must be made to the Registrar General or a Superintendent Registrar in writing.
- Time, date and place of birth of the child
- Gender of the child
- Personal Public Service number (PPSN) of the child (allocated at registration)
- Forename(s) and surname of the child
- Forename(s) and surname of the mother
- Birth surname of the mother
- All previously used surnames of the mother (if any)
- The mother's normal occupation
- The mother's normal address at the date of birth
- The mother's date of birth
- The mother's marital status
- The mother's Personal Public Service number (PPSN)
- Birth surname of the mother's mother
- Similar information is entered for the father.
- If you have adopted a baby, whether from Ireland or overseas, registration will be processed by the Adoption Authority.
There is no fee to register a birth or for re-registration to include a parent's details. There is a fee of €5 for insertion or alteration of a forename.
Fees are charged for Birth Certificates. A birth certificate is issued for social welfare purposes at a reduced cost. Evidence it is for social welfare purposes is required, such as a note from the Department of Social Protection.
The fees for a certificate are:
- €20 for a full standard certificate
- €4 for an uncertified copy of an entry in the Register
- €1 for a certificate issued for social welfare purposes. (note: you must have a letter from the Department of Social Protection to qualify fo the reduced fee certificate)
- €10 to have a certificate authenticated. This service is only available from the General Register's Office, Government Buildings,Convent Road, Roscommon.
How to apply
Apply on line at www.certificates.ie
Apply at any Registrar's Office.
Apply by post to any Registrars Office, stating the child's full names, date and place of birth, and enclosing a cheque or postal order for the relevant fees in euro.
Adopted children's Birth Certificates are only available from the General Register Office, Government Offices, Roscommon.