Registering the birth of your baby
The HSE's Civil Registration Service registers all births, deaths and marriages in Ireland.
You must register the birth of your child within 3 months of their birth, where possible. However, you have up to 12 months to register the birth in some circumstances. If you need to register a birth after 12 months, contact the Civil Registration Service for advice.
You do not have to bring your baby to the registration office when registering their birth.
Once the birth is registered, your baby will be given a PPS number and you can get a birth certificate (which you will need to enrol your child in school, to apply for a passport and for many other purposes).
The birth certificate contains information about the child and the parents given at the time of registration, so it is important the information you give is accurate. This record is a very important legal document. It is difficult to change the details after the initial registration. (See 'Correction of errors' below.)
Gender Recognition Certificates
You can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate in order to have your preferred gender recognised by the State. This is set out in the Gender Recognition Act 2015. The Act also provides for you to apply for a certified copy of an entry in the Register of Gender Recognition. A certificate issued from the Register of Gender Recognition is the same as a birth certificate and satisfies all requirements where you are asked to provide a birth certificate.
Historical Irish birth records
The General Register Office is responsible for storing and maintaining records relating to births, stillbirths, adoptions, marriages, civil partnerships and deaths in Ireland. The General Register Office holds all official records of Irish births, deaths and marriages from 1864 and of non-Catholic marriages from 1845.
The General Register Office maintains a family research facility known as the GRO Research Room at Werburgh Street, Dublin 2, where you can search the indexes to the registers and purchase photocopies of records. You can order certified copies of entries from the General Register Office in Roscommon (see contact details below).
The Research Room currently has a walk-in service on Tuesdays only, from 10am – 12.30pm, and from 2pm – 4.30pm. An email service is available 5 days a week at GROResearchRoom@welfare.ie.
You can also see historic church and civil records online. Birth, marriage, adoption, civil partnership and death certificates are public records, meaning anybody can access or apply for them.
When your baby is born
A Birth Notification Form (Form BNF/01) is usually completed with the parent(s) by hospital staff (in the case of hospital births), or by a doctor or midwife (in home births), to guarantee that accurate information is recorded.
The Birth Notification Form outlines the information to be recorded in the Register of Births. If your child is born in hospital, the form is sent to the Registrar's office, letting the Registrar know that a birth has occurred.
If your child was born at home with the support of a healthcare professional, they should give you the signed Birth Notification Form. It must include their registration and PIN. Bring this with you to your appointment to register your child's birth.
In all cases, you must still attend a Civil Registration Service, in person, to officially sign the Register of Births to complete the process of registering your child's birth.
How to register a birth
You can register your child’s birth in any Civil Registration Service, regardless of where the birth took place. For convenience, most people will choose their local office.
To register a birth, complete a Birth Registration Application form (pdf) and post or email the completed form to your chosen Civil Registration Office. All births can be registered using this form but you also must attend the office to sign the Register of Births to complete to process of registration. Your child's birth will not be registered until you sign the register. The Registrar will let you know when you can attend to sign the register.
You do not have to bring your baby to the registration office when registering their birth.
Alternatively, you can complete the Birth Registration Application form (pdf) and bring it with you to your appointment at the Civil Registration Office. Depending on the Civil Registration Service you chose, you may be able to book an appointment online or by phone. Walk-ins are available in some offices at certain times. Use the HSE’s Find a Civil Registration Service to find out how to contact your local office.
There is no fee for registration of a birth.
After you register the birth, you can get your baby’s birth certificate. There is a €20 fee for a full standard birth certificate.
When to register a birth
You must register the birth of your baby within 3 months of their birth, where possible. However, you have up to 12 months to register the birth in some circumstances. If you need to register a birth after 12 months, contact the Civil Registration Service for advice.
If a birth is registered within 3 months, the information will be automatically sent to the Department of Social Protection, and Child Benefit forms and a PPS number will be sent automatically to the qualified informant, usually the parent(s).
If you register your baby’s birth after 3 months, you will have to contact Client Identity Services and the Department of Social Protection to arrange the PPS number and Child Benefit.
If you had a hospital birth, you should wait 3 weeks after the birth before booking an appointment to register the birth (for a hospital birth only). If your baby was born at home, you can book an appointment at any time.
Who can register a birth?
The parent(s) of the child usually register the birth. This is because they are the main qualified informants. For a list of other qualified informants, see ‘If the parents cannot register the birth’ below.
You must bring photo identification, for example, a passport or driving licence, and your PPS Number to the appointment to register the birth. In some cases, you may need to provide additional information, for example, where a mother has been married previously. Contact the Civil Registration Service to find out more.
If the parents are in a recognised marriage to each other, only one parent needs to attend. However, both can attend if they both want to sign the register. If the parents were married in another country, they should bring the original marriage certificate (and a translation, if required).
Unmarried parents (registering the birth for the first time)
There are different options for registering the birth of a child where the parents are not married. You can get the different forms from the Registrar's office. The options are:
- 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 can complete a declaration form acknowledging that he is the father of the child (Form CRA 2), and can 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 can 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.
It is also possible to enter the father's details if the mother is (or was) married to someone else. As well as a sworn declaration from the father stating he is the father, one of the following is required:
- A sworn declaration by the mother's husband stating he is not the father, or
- A sworn declaration by the mother stating she has been living apart from her husband for more than 10 months before the birth of the child and a deed of separation/decree of divorce (not all foreign divorces are recognised under Irish law), or
- A certified copy of a court order which names the person to be registered as the father
If the parents of a child are not married to each other, there is no presumption in law as to who the father of the child is, unless the father's name is on the birth certificate. However, having the father's name on the child’s birth certificate does not give the father any legal rights in respect of their child. You can read more about Legal guardianship and cohabiting couples, and about establishing paternity in our page Presumption of paternity.
Parents of a donor-conceived child
From 5 May 2020, the birth mother and the other parent (the mother's spouse, civil partner or cohabitant) of a donor-conceived child – born as a result of a donor-assisted human reproduction (DAHR) procedure – can register as parents with the Registrar for Births, Deaths and Marriages, and get a birth certificate for the child which reflects this. These provisions apply to:
- Opposite sex couples
- Female same-sex couples
- Single women undergoing a donor-assisted human reproduction procedure.
The process of registering the child’s birth will vary depending on the date the baby was conceived (not the date the child is born).
Baby conceived after 4 May 2020
If the baby is conceived after 4 May 2020 (in a DAHR facility in Ireland using a traceable sperm donor), the DAHR facility will give the parents a certificate. The certificate will contain various details in relation to the DAHR procedure and a record of the consent of the parent(s) to the parentage of the child. This certificate will need to be submitted with an application form to the General Register Office.
Baby conceived before 4 May 2020
If the baby is conceived before 4 May 2020, the birth must first be registered as a non-DAHR birth. After the birth has been registered, a court order naming another person as the parent of the child (a Declaration of Parentage) is required prior to the re-registration of the birth. Find out how to apply for a Declaration of Parentage on the Courts Service website.
If the DAHR procedure satisfies the requirements of the 2015 Act, the parents can then apply to re-register the birth using a BRR1 application form (pdf) and attach a certified copy of the court order. Parents can email the completed BRR1 form and the court order to email@example.com or post to DAHR Section, General Register Office.
If the parents cannot register the birth
Where the parents do not register the birth, or it is not possible for them to do it, the following people 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
What information is recorded in the Register of Births?
The following information is recorded in the Register of Births:
- Surname of the child. The surname registered must be the surname of either or both of the parents. If you want your child to have a surname other than the surname of either or both of the parents, you must apply to the Registrar General or a Superintendent Registrar (pdf) to assign a different name.
- Time, date and place of birth of the child
- Gender of the child
- Personal Public Service Number (PPS Number) 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 (PPS) number
- Birth surname of the mother's mother
Similar information is entered for the father or other parent.
Re-registration of a birth to include name of the father
A birth can be re-registered to include the name of the father if any of the following situations apply:
- The parents of a child are not married to each other but wish to have the father's details included and these details were not registered initially.
- The parents of a child marry each other after the birth of the child.
Contact a Civil Registration Service to make an appointment to re-register the birth and find out what documentation you need to bring with you.
Re-registration of a birth to include other legal parent
You can re-register a birth if your child was conceived before 4 May 2020 as a result of a donor-assisted human reproduction (DAHR) procedure and the mother is recorded as the only legal parent in the Register of Births. See ‘Parents of a donor-conceived child’ above.
Changing a surname or forename on the birth register
If the birth has been registered, the child's surname cannot be changed unless:
- The birth is being re-registered at a later date to include the father's name, or
- Both parents were not married to one another at the time of registration but marry one another at a later date and apply to re-register the birth under Section 24 of the Civil Registration Act 2004
In these circumstances, you can apply for the child's surname can be changed (pdf) (at the request of both parents) when re-registering the birth. There is no fee charged for re-registration to include a parent's details.
Contact the Civil Registration Service to find out what documentation and information is required.
Changing a child’s forename (first name)
Parents can apply to have their child’s forename registered, added or changed. There is a fee of €5 for insertion or alteration of a child's forename.
Contact a Civil Registration Service to find out what documentation is required.
Correction of errors
A birth certificate cannot be amended unless there are valid reasons to do so. Contact the General Register Office for information on what and when amendments can be made.
If you have adopted a child, whether from Ireland or overseas, registration is processed by the Adoption Authority of Ireland. For further information, see our pages on Adopting a child and Inter-country adoptions.
How do I get a copy of a birth certificate
You can get a copy of a birth certificate when you are registering the birth. If you want to get a copy of a birth certificate at a later stage, you can go directly to any Registrar's office or make an application by email or apply online.
You can also apply for a copy of a birth certificate by post by sending a letter with your request to your local Civil Registration Service stating both parents' full names, the child's full names, date and place of birth, a return address, a contact phone number and enclosing payment. Payment of the relevant fees can be made by cheque or postal order.
Adopted children's birth certificates are only available from the General Register Office.
Fees for birth certificates
You can register a birth for free. However, you must pay a fee for birth certificates.
The fees for a certificate are:
- €20 for a full standard certificate
- €5 for an uncertified copy of an entry in the Register
- €10 to have a certificate authenticated (only available from the General Register Office)
- No fee for a Multilingual Standard Form. Since 2019, you can request a Multilingual Standard Form (MSF) for birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates. The purpose of an MSF is to provide a translation of the public document when presenting certificates to authorities in another EU member state. You must choose which EU language you require for the MSF, and it must be requested at the same time as when you apply for the certificate.
You no longer need to provide copies of birth certificates for social welfare purposes if you were born in Ireland and your birth is in the Register of Births.
The Department of Social Protection can access this information directly. If you want a copy of your birth certificate for any other reason, see the fees set out above.
There is no charge for a birth certificate for a deceased child at the time of registration if the deceased child was less than 12 months of age on the date of death, and the birth and death are registered at the same time.
You can get more information about registering a birth from your local HSE Civil Registration Office or the General Register Office.