Registering the birth of your baby
You need to register the birth of your child no later than 3 months after their birth. Registration is a legal requirement in Ireland and 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 contains the information on the child and the parents given at the time of registration, so it is important that the information you give is accurate. It is difficult to change the details after the initial registration. (See 'Correction of errors' below.)
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. You can read more about establishing paternity in our document Presumption of paternity.
The Civil Registration Act 2004 changed some of the rules about registering a birth.
The Gender Recognition Act 2015 came into effect on 4 September 2015 and provides that a person can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate in order to have their preferred gender recognised by the State. The Act also provides for them 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 equivalent of a birth certificate and satisfies all requirements where a person is asked to provide a birth certificate.
Parts 2 and 3 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 came into effect on 4 May 2020. It provides a legal framework for the regulation of donor-assisted human reproduction in Ireland for the first time. It also allows for both intending parents of a donor-conceived child to register as the legal parents on the child’s birth certificate in certain circumstances.
Registering a birth or death during the COVID-19 pandemic
The requirement to attend a civil registration service to register a birth or death has been suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can find out how to register a birth or how to register a death in Ireland during the COVID-19 pandemic on gov.ie.
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 of your local health centre, will be able to tell you where you can register the birth. The birth should be registered not later than 3 months after the date of the birth.
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 correct and accurate information is recorded. This form outlines the information to be recorded in the Register of Births. The form is forwarded to the Registrar's office letting the Registrar know that a birth has occurred. This is not enough, however, to register the birth.
Registering the birth
The registration of the birth is carried out based on information provided by a qualified informant who is required to attend at any office of the Registrar to sign the Register of Births. The parents 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 (PPS Number). 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 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
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, 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 (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
There are different options for the registration of the birth of a child where the parents are not married. The different 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 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.
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
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 with the Registrar for Births, Deaths and Marriages, as parents and get a birth certificate which reflects this. These provisions apply to opposite sex couples, female same-sex couples and 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).
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 (GRO).
If the baby is conceived before 4 May 2020, the parents can re-register the birth if the DAHR procedure satisfies the requirements of the 2015 Act.
A birth can be re-registered if:
- 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.
- The child was conceived before 4 May 2020 as a result of a donor-assisted human reproduction (DAHR) procedure that meets the requirement of the Act and the mother is recorded as the only legal parent in the Register of Births. The parents can re-register the birth if they wish to register the second intending parent as the other legal parent on the child's birth certificate. A Declaration of Parentage will be required from the court setting out that second intending parent is a legal parent. Contact the General Register's Office for more information on the process and documentation required.
The child's surname can be changed at the joint request of both parents when re-registering the birth.
Contact the Civil Registration Service to find out what documentation and information is required.
Under Section 25 of the Civil Registration Act 2004, parents can apply to have their child’s forename registered, added or changed. There is a fee. Contact the 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 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 child's 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 Employment Affairs and Social Protection.
Since 19 December 2016, at the time of registration there is no charge for a birth certificate for a deceased child 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.
The fees for a certificate are:
- €20 for a full standard certificate
- €1 for a copy for social welfare purposes (letter from Department of Employment Affairs and 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)
- No fee for a Multilingual Standard Form (only available from the General Register Office)
How to apply
You can register a birth in any Civil Registration Service, regardless of where the birth 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. The birth should be registered not later than 3 months after the date of the birth.
You can get a copy of a birth certificate when you are registering the birth. To obtain a copy of a birth certificate at a later stage, you can go directly to any Registrar's office and make an application by email or apply online. Alternatively, you can apply by post, stating the child's full names, date and place of birth, and enclosing payment. Payment can be made by cheque or by debit or credit card for the relevant fees. Adopted children's birth certificates are only available from the General Register Office.
Where to apply
You can get more information from: