Registering the birth of your baby
You must register the birth of your child within 3 months of their birth. Once the birth is registered, 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. 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 page Presumption of paternity.
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.
For Child Benefit, you will be contacted automatically as soon as you register the birth.
Gender Recognition Certificates
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.
Irish birth records
The General Register Office is the central repository for records relating to births, stillbirths, adoptions, marriages, civil partnerships and deaths in Ireland. Birth, marriage, adoption, civil partnership and death certificates are public records, meaning anybody can access or apply for them.
How to register a birth
You must register your child’s birth within 3 months of the birth. You (the parents) must attend a HSE Civil Registration Service in person. You can register your child’s birth in any Civil Registration Service, regardless of where the birth took place. Staff of the hospital where your child was born, or the staff at your local health centre, can tell you where to register the birth.
After you register the birth, you can get your baby’s birth certificate and they will be assigned a PPS number – you will need these to apply for a passport, enrol in school, and for many other purposes.
There is no fee for registration of a birth. There is a €20 fee for a full standard certificate.
Read more about registering a birth in Ireland on gov.ie.
Registering a birth during COVID-19
The requirement to attend a Civil Registration Service to register a birth was temporarily suspended during COVID-19. On 30 September 2021, the HSE Civil Registration Service offices reopened. The requirement to attend in person to register a birth has recommenced. Some civil registration services have a walk-in service. You need to phone and book an appointment for others.
The ‘Birth Notification Form’
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. You must still attend the Civil Registration Service, in person, to officially register your child’s birth.
Who can register the birth?
The birth is registered based on information provided by a qualified informant. The parents of the child are the main qualified informants and, where possible, they must attend at any Civil Registration Service in person to sign the Register of Births.
The parents must bring photo identification, for example, a passport or driving licence, and their Personal Public Service Numbers (PPS Number). In some cases, additional information may be required – 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, 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).
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
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).
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 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?
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.
Re-registration and changing details on the register
A birth can be re-registered 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.
- 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 (a court order)
will be required from the court stating that the second intending parent is
a legal parent. Find out how to
apply for a Declaration of Parentage.
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. The parents can email the completed BRR1 form and the court order to firstname.lastname@example.org or post to DAHR Section, General Register Office.
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.
Child’s forename (first name)
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 of €5 for insertion or alteration of a child's forename.
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, see our pages on Adopting a child and
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.
Alternatively, you can 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.
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 for birth certificates
Fees are charged for birth certificates.
You can get a birth certificate for social welfare purposes at a reduced cost. You must show evidence it is for social welfare purposes, such as a note from the Department of Social Protection.
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.
The fees for a certificate are:
- €20 for a full standard certificate
- €0 (previously €1) for a copy for social welfare purposes (letter from Department of Social Protection required)
- €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 (MSF) (only available from the General Register Office)
From February 2019, new EU Regulations mean a Multilingual Standard Form
(MSF) can be requested for birth, death, marriage and civil partnership
certificates issued by the General Register Office. The purpose of an MSF is to
provide a translation of the public document. You must choose which EU language
you require for the MSF. The MSF is issued only when you obtain a certificate
from the General Register Office and it must be requested when applying for the
You can get more information about registering a birth from your local HSE Civil Registration Office or the General Register Office.