Registering a Birth


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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, but you will also need a birth certificate to enrol your child in school, to apply for a passport and for many other purposes. (For Child Benefit, you will be contacted automatically as soon as you register the birth).

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. Please refer to Corrections of Errors and other Amendments.

If the parents of a child are not married to each other, there is no presumption in laws as to who is the father of the child, unless the father's name is on the birth certificate. You can read more about establishing paternity in the document Presumption of Paternity.

The Civil Registration Act, 2004 changed some of the rules about registering a birth. These changes took effect from 5th December 2005.

Rules

A birth may be registered in the office of any Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths, regardless of where it took place. The staff of the hospital where your child was born or your local health centre will be able to tell you where you can register the birth www.hse.ie
A birth should be registered not later than 3 months form the date of the birth.

A Birth Notification Form (Form BNF/01) will usually be completed with the parent(s) by Hospital Staff (in the case of hospital births) or by a doctor or midwife (in domiciliary births). This form outlines the information to be recorded in the Register of Births and should be completed with one or both of the parents to guarantee that correct and accurate information is registered. This 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 Service Numbers (PPSN).  In some cases, for example where a mother has been married previously, additional information 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

Re-registration of births

The re-registration of a birth may be effected only in either of the following two circumstances:

  • where the parents of a child are not married to each other wish to have the father's details included where these details were NOT registered initially, or;
  • Where the parents of a child marry each other after the birth of the child.

Enquiries should be made directly with Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths. The Registrar will advise you as to what documents and information will be required. The surname of the child may be changed with the agreement of both parents.

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
  • Sex 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 surname of the mother (if any)
  • The mother's normal occupation
  • The mother's normal address at the time of birth
  • The mother's date of birth
  • The mother's civil status at the time of the birth
  • The mother's personal public service number (PPSN)
  • Birth surname of mother's mother
  • Similar information is entered for the father.

The surname to be recorded for a child in the Register of Births should be carefully considered and the most appropriate surname assigned. In cases where the details of both parents of a child are registered, it is not possible to change the surname of a child once the birth has been registered unless the parents marry following the birth.

If you have adopted a baby, whether form Ireland or overseas, registration will be processed by the Adoption Authority of Ireland.

Unmarried Parents

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 may jointly request the registration (Form CRA9). Both attend the Registrar's Office together and sign the register jointly.
  • The mother may 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.
  • A 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 father signs the register.
  • 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.

Rates

There is no fee charged for the registration of 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
  • €1 for a copy for social welfare purposes (letter from Department of Social Protection required)
  • €4 for an uncertified copy of an entry in the Register
  • €10 to have a certificate authenticated (only available from the General Register Office)

How to apply

To obtain a copy of a birth certificate, you can go directly to any Registrar's Office. Alternatively, you can apply by post to the General Register Office or any Civil Registration 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.

You can also apply online for a copy of a certificate, including domestic adoptions and stillbirths that have been registered. www.hse.ie


Corrections of Errors and other Amendments

A birth certificate is a legal document and cannot be amended unless there are valid reasons to do so, as the Civil Registration Service has a duty to protect the integrity of the records held. In circumstances where the information given AT THE TIME OF BIRTH OR RE-REGISTRATION was incorrect or flawed, there are a number of provisions and procedures that must be followed in order to amend the entry.

In cases where an entry contains a misspelling, a juxtaposition of the particulars (e.g. surname and forename entered in the wrong order) or other clerical error, this can be addressed under the provisions of section 63 of the Civil Registration Act, 2004.

Any interested party (e.g. parent, relative, civil partner or the person to whom the entry applies (if an adult)) may apply in writing to any Superintendent Registrar (via any registration office) for the correction of a clerical error. An administrative form for this purpose is available at any local registration office, and must be completed and returned to the Superintendent Registrar, along with some documentary evidence of the correct spelling, etc. – (unless, of course, the error is self-evident). If the Superintendent Registrar is satisfied that a clerical error has occurred, the entry will then be corrected

N/B: Please note that these errors may be corrected locally and there is no need to contact the General Register Office (GRO) directly concerning them.

Factual Errors

Factual Errors, such as erroneous information concerning addresses, occupational descriptions, dates, etc. may also be addressed under section 63 of the Act.

As with clerical errors, an interested party may make an application in writing, in an administrative form for this purpose, which is available at any local registration office, and this form must be completed and returned to the Superintendent Registrar, along with some documentary evidence of the factual position.

In addition, a statutory declaration from a qualified informant (see section 3 for a list of qualified informants) must be obtained before the factual error can be corrected. If no qualified informant, with knowledge of the required particulars and who is capable of acting, can be found, two separate statutory declarations from two credible persons with knowledge of the facts may be accepted by the Superintendent Registrar (an example of credible persons would be siblings, relatives, neighbours, etc.)

If the Superintendent Registrar is satisfied that a factual error has been entered in the register and provided that a qualified informant or two credible persons have made the required declaration(s), the entry may then be corrected.

If neither a qualified informant nor two credible persons can be found, the case may be referred by the Superintendent Registrar to the Registrar General, who may deal with the application as an enquiry pursuant to section 65 of the Act.

With regard to errors concerning Parentage, only a Declaration of Parentage, made under section 35 of the Status of Children Act, 1987 may be used by a Superintendent Registrar to authorise the correction of an error of fact in the register of births. These declarations are binding on the State and are factual evidence as to parentage. Cases involving all other evidence (such as other court orders and DNA paternity test results) will be considered by the Registrar General under the provisions of section 65 of the Act (see 7.4 below)

Declarations of Parentage are issued by the Circuit Family Law Courts. The application must be made by the child (or, if a minor, by a parent or guardian acting as the child's next friend).

Once a declaration has been made and is issued, it should be brought to the Superintendent Registrar, who will make arrangements to have it implemented.

Enquiries under section 65 of the Civil Registration Act, 2004

Section 65 provides that the Registrar General may examine any entry to determine whether the particulars contained in an entry are correct and complete and, if this is not the case, to make arrangements to have the entry corrected and/or completed, as appropriate.

In general, only applications that cannot be dealt with under other provisions (such as section 63 above) are referred to the Registrar General, requesting an enquiry under section 65. The following are the main types of enquiry that are currently dealt with under section 65;

  • Cases involving the Paternity of a child, where there is evidence (such as the results of a DNA paternity test) that the man entered as the father in the register is not the biological father and/or that another man is the father of the child
  • Cases where the parent or parents of the child have used or were using assumed identities at the time of the registration or re-registration of the birth of the child
  • Cases that could otherwise be dealt with under section 25 (change, alteration, registration or addition of the forename of the child in the entry) but that the parents are deceased or incapable of acting for some other reason
  • Cases where the parents were married at the time of the birth and this was not registered or the civil status was registered incorrectly at the time.
  • Cases involving errors of fact that would otherwise be dealt with under section 63 but where neither a qualified informant nor two credible persons can be found

The specific procedures for dealing with the types of enquiries listed above are laid out in more detail in the following sections. Generally speaking, all requests for an enquiry under section 65 must be made in writing to the Registrar General.

If the Registrar General decides that it is in order to conduct an enquiry under section 65, all interested parties and/or any person that the Registrar General has reason to believe may be able to provide him with relevant information will be written to and will be requested to submit the relevant information, along with their views and any supporting documentary evidence. Persons will be given a period of 28 days to provide the information and make their submissions.

Submissions requested under section 65 are usually made by way of statutory declaration or affidavit.

When all parties have made their submissions, the Registrar General will conclude the enquiry and, if he is satisfied that the evidence and submissions so warrant, he will authorise the appropriate amendments to the entry. In certain cases, interested parties will be given an additional 28 days to make further submissions before the amendment takes place.

N/B Failing or refusing to co-operate with an enquiry under section 65, without reasonable cause, is an offence under section 69 (8) of the Act and a person guilty of such an offence shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €2,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both.

Paternity Cases

In cases where it appears that the man named as the father of a child in an entry is not the biological father or that another man is the father, an application in writing must be made to the Registrar General. This application should provide the name, date and place of birth of the child (so that the entry can be located) and should outline the particulars that require change (i.e. removal of the father's particulars, replacement with those of the biological father (if appropriate) and any amendment to the child's surname). Any documentary evidence (such as DNA Paternity test results or findings of the Courts in relation to parentage) in support of the application may be enclosed with it.
Following receipt of the application, the Registrar General will decide whether to conduct an enquiry under section 65. If he decides to do so, the applicant will be contacted in writing and requested to provide the following;

  • A statutory declaration (form will be enclosed) from the mother of the child, stating that the man named as the father in the entry is not the biological father and (if appropriate) stating the identity of the biological father and consenting to the deletion of the particulars of the man registered as the father and (if appropriate) consenting to the inclusion of the biological father's details and citing the evidence upon which her declaration is based (e.g. DNA test results).
  • A statutory declaration (form will be enclosed) from the man named as the father in the entry, stating that he is not the biological father and (if appropriate) stating the identity of the biological father and consenting to the deletion of his particulars and (if appropriate) consenting to the inclusion of the biological father's details and citing the evidence upon which his declaration is based (e.g. DNA test results).
  • (Only if appropriate) A statutory declaration (form will be enclosed) from the biological father, stating that the man named as the father in the entry is not the biological father and confirming that he himself is the biological father and consenting to the deletion of the particulars of the man named as the father in the entry and consenting to the inclusion his own particulars and citing the evidence upon which his declaration is based (e.g. DNA test results).
  • Evidence of Paternity – the results if a DNA paternity test of Court Evidential Standard. This means that the chain of control of the DNA samples provided must have been maintained at all times by an independent third party, who can certify that this was the case. Test results based on so-called “home testing” kits are not be acceptable, as there will be no independent evidence that the samples taken were from the named persons and/or that the integrity of the samples taken was maintained at all times.

    DNA paternity test samples should be taken from the subjects either by a qualified person attached to a clinic/laboratory, or by a medical practitioner, who personally submits the results for testing and receives the results. In all cases, the qualified person or medical practitioner must certify that the chain of control was maintained at all times.

    A Court Order, containing findings as to parentage or non-parentage will also be considered as evidence.
  • Administrative forms (will be enclosed) requesting the particulars of the parent or parents, for the purpose of updating the register
  • If appropriate, a consent form (will be enclosed) requesting the consent of the parent or parents to any change to the child's surname that formed part of the original application.
  • Any other relevant views, opinions or evidence that the parties might wish to furnish for consideration by the Registrar General

When all parties have made their submissions, the Registrar General will conclude the enquiry and, if he is satisfied that the evidence and submissions so warrant, he will notify all parties of his decision. All parties will be given a period of not less than 28 days in which to give their views on the decision and to furnish any additional or supplementary evidence for consideration. If all parties signify their acceptance of the decision before 28 days have elapsed, the amendment will proceed. If, after 28 days, one or more of the parties has not been heard from, they will be informed in writing that the amendment will be made, without further correspondence, after an additional 28 days have elapsed.

All parties will be notified once the amendment has taken place.

Note #1; The above procedures were put in place on foot of legal advice received by the Registrar General. It was advised that parentage of a child is a matter of fundamental and constitutional importance at that the utmost care and evidence of the highest standard is required in order to amend details of paternity in an entry.

The Registrar General was also advised that the consent of all parties to the requested amendment should be obtained. Where consent is withheld or not forthcoming, it may not be possible to authorise the amendment of the entry. In such cases, the applicant will be advised that a Declaration of Parentage (see section 7.2 above) may be sought in order to effect the amendment requested, as such declarations are binding on the State, irrespective of the lack of consent from any of the parties.

Note #2; In addition to amending the entry to remove (and add, if appropriate) the father's particulars, the surname of the child may be amended, if that surname is that of (or part thereof) the surname of the man whose particulars are being removed from the entry. The surname of the child will be determined by the mother, or the mother and the father (by mutual consent) as appropriate. Where the child has established an identity in the existing surname, the Registrar General will consider requests to allow the existing surname to remain. Where the child is old enough to have a view regarding his/her surname (14 years or over), these views will be requested in writing and will be considered.

Assumed Identities

For a variety of reasons, a parent or parents may have registered the birth of a child using an assumed identity and the child may have been given the assumed surname.

In such cases, an application must be made in writing to the Registrar General, detailing the particulars that require amendment.

As the circumstances vary in such cases, the procedures for dealing with these applications may vary also, as may the information required by the Registrar General. In general, the following details are required in most cases;

  • A statutory declaration or sworn affidavit from the parent or parents, outlining the circumstances in which the assumed identity came about and was used.
  • Original (Birth and Marriage Certificates (translated and authenticated, if necessary)
  • Original passports and/or other visual identification – in assumed names and true identity (translated and authenticated, if necessary)
  • Documentary evidence that the names used relate to one and the same person – especially useful are letters from independent third parties, such as Gardai, Immigration, and Clergy etc.
  • Documentary evidence that the parent or parents maintained their true identity during the period of usage of the assumed name(s)
  • All other evidence or views in support of the application that the applicant wishes to submit for consideration
  • Administrative forms (will be enclosed) requesting the particulars of the parent or parents, for the purpose of updating the register
  • If appropriate, a consent form (will be enclosed) requesting the consent of the parent or parents to any change to the child's surname that formed part of the original application.
  • In certain circumstances, it may be desirable that the parent or parents provide evidence (such as DNA test results) that they are the biological parent or parents of the child

Forename cases

These are applications for addition of or amendment to the forename of the person to whom the entry refers. There are provisions under section 25 of the Act that allow the parents of a child to add, amend or alter the forename of a child and this may be done locally in Registration Offices. Where the parents are deceased, or otherwise incapable of acting, the matter may be dealt with under section 65.

Application must be made in writing to the Registrar General. The following will be required in order to process such applications

  • Administrative forms (will be enclosed) requesting the required particulars, for the purpose of updating the register
  • Proof of usage of the name in childhood, such as a baptismal certificate, or primary school records
  • Evidence of current usage of name

N/B: The Registrar General can only amend, add or alter a forename in order to reflect the forenames that were chosen by the parents in childhood and used since then in connection with the child. The provisions of section 65 cannot be used to update an entry in order to reflect a forename that has been chosen or amended in adulthood. In such cases, persons are advised to swear out a deed poll as evidence of the change (see s. 12 below for contact details)

Civil Status

Where a birth is registered, and the civil status of the parents at the time of registration could not be established (either because the parent or parents were unable to produce a copy of a civil marriage certificate, or because the position in relation to legal recognition of the marriage was unclear).

In such circumstances, the civil status of the couple is left blank in the entry by the registrar. In some cases, because the father is unable to attend to register the birth, or to give a statutory declaration that he is the father, his particulars would not have been entered at the time of registration.

Upon an application in writing from the parent or parents, the Registrar General will require;

  • Administrative forms (will be enclosed) requesting the particulars of the parent or parents, for the purpose of updating the register
  • An original copy (not a photocopy) of a civil marriage certificate (translated and authenticated, if appropriate)
  • In circumstances where the legal recognition of the marriage is uncertain, either a letter from the civil authorities in the country where the marriage took place or a court declaration, made under section 29 of the Family Law Act, 1995, recognising the marriage
  • If the application contains a request to assign the father's surname to the child, a mutual consent form may be required.

No Qualified Informant

Cases that would fall to be dealt with under section 63 of the Act, but that neither a qualified informant, nor 2 credible persons with knowledge of the required particulars can be found, may be referred to the Registrar General.

All such cases will be dealt with on their merits and the applicant will be written to detailing any additional requirements or information required by the Registrar General.

Last modified:21/10/2013
 

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