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 and most other countries, but you will also need a birth certificate to enrol your child in school, to apply for a passport and to make applications for social welfare benefits, such as child benefit.
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.
Birth Certificate Rules
A birth is registered in the registration district in which it took place. The district in which the birth is registered is determined by the location of the birth, i.e., the district in which the hospital or other building in which the birth took place is located. The staff of the hospital in which the birth of your child has taken place or your local health centre will be able to identify who the appropriate Registrar of Births is for any given place of birth.
A Birth Registration Information form 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 being discharged.
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, are encouraged to attend personally for the registration of birth. Where the parents do not act, the following individuals can also act as qualified informants:
– a designated member of the staff of the hospital where the birth took place
– any person present at the birth and
– any person who has charge of the child.
There are different options for registration, including the father’s details, where the mother and father are not married, as follows:
- Both the mother and father can attend the Registrar’s Office together, to sign the register jointly.
- The mother can complete a declaration form naming the father (SC1) and bring it, along with a declaration by the baby’s father acknowledging that he is the father of the child (SC3). The mother signs the register.
- The father may complete a declaration form acknowledging that he is the father of the child. (SC2), and may go to the Registrar’s Office himself, bringing with him a declaration by the mother naming the father (SC4).
- The mother or father may make a written request (Form S.C. 5 and S.C. 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 now 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 re-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.
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 in writing.
- Date and place of birth of the child
- Gender of the child
- Forenames and surnames of the child registered
- Forename and surname of the mother and all previously used surnames of the mother (if any) and her address and occupation – similar information is entered for the father.
If you have adopted a child, a baby, whether from Ireland or overseas, registration will be processed by the Adoption Board.
There is no fee charged for the registration of a birth if registered within the first twelve months. Fees are charged for Birth Certificates that are requested.
A birth certificate is issued for social welfare purposes at a reduced cost, otherwise the fees are:
– 6.98 euro for a full certificate (5.08 euro per extra copy)
– 4.44 euro for a short certificate (copies 2.54 euro) each)
– 10.41 euro for a full, short and social welfare certificate
How to apply
To obtain a birth certificate, you can go directly to the Registrar’s Office, Alternatively, you can apply by post, stating the child’s full names, date and place of birth, and enclosing a cheque or postal order for the relevant fees. Download an application form for a Birth Certificate (pdf format from the Irish government website OASIS ) here. This application form is also is available from the General Register’s Office
For details on obtaining a Birth Certificate Copy click here