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Registering the birth of your baby


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.

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. 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.

The Gender Recognition Bill 2014 (pdf) has been published by the Government. The Bill provides for someone to apply for a new birth certificate that would have their acquired gender.


A birth may be registered in the office of any Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths, regardless of where it took place. (Births which occurred before 5 December 2005 had to be registered in the Registration District where they took place.) The staff of the hospital where your child was born, or of your local health centre, will be able to tell you where you can register the birth.

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 Service 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.

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 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 Treoir's website.

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. For further information, please see Adopting a Child and Inter-country Adoptions.


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, 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. Download an application form for a Birth Certificate here. This application form is also 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.

Where to apply

Since 5 December 2005 a birth may be registered in the office of any Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths. You can view contact information for registrars here.

Further information is available from:

General Register Office

Government Offices
Convent Road

Tel:+353 90 663 2900
Locall:1890 25 20 76
Fax:+353 90 663 2999

Page updated: 29 January 2015



Related Documents

  • Registering a stillbirth
    It's possible to register the birth of a stillborn child in Ireland. Find out how and where to apply.
  • Domestic adoption
    An outline of the adoption procedure in Ireland.
  • Becoming a Parent
    Are you or is someone you know about to become a parent? A guide to State services in Ireland and overview of some of the issues that will concern you, whatever your situation.

Contact Us

If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.