F.A.Qs – Frequently Asked Questions
General Note: The information contained on this website is of a general nature. All Irish citizens are entitled to obtain a Birth Certificate.
Individuals should have access to accurate, comprehensive and clear information relating to social services and should be referred to the relevant services.
Births Deaths Marriages would like to acknowledge Comhairle, the government agency responsible for supporting the provision of information, advice and advocacy on social services in Ireland as a source of information for this website.
In no way does the information on Irish Birth Certificate or other information provided represent a legal interpretation of any relevant legislation and should you require further information please contact your local Registrar’s Office through the Department of Health.
Where should a Irish birth be registered and who can do it?
A birth can be registered by the parents or guardian of the baby. With effect from 5th Dec 2005, as a rule, the onus is not on Hospitals to register ANY births – they may take note of the details but are not obliged to OFFICIALLY register the birth. Parents must present themselves at their local Registry Office and provide their PPSN (some photo ID may be required also). If parents are married, only one parent need attend to register as long as they have all the relevant information with them. For single parents who wish to register the fathers name, both parents must attend with Photo ID along with their PPSN.
Registration of a birth and obtaining a Irish Birth Certificate is a very important matter. The mother and father of a child are the primary people to carry out this task and are encouraged to attend personally for the registration of each child, which should take place within three months of the date of the birth. If the birth has not been registered by the end of three months, it can then be registered by the local Registrar on production of a Statutory Declaration made, by the parents (or one of the people listed below), before a Peace Commissioner or Commissioner of Oaths.
It is the responsibility of the baby’s parents / guardians to ensure that all information recorded in the Birth Register in respect of their new baby is correct and accurate, as it is this information that will appear on the official Irish Birth Certificate.
It is normal practice for the child to be given either their fathers or mothers surname (and in some cases, both). Should the baby’s parents wish their child to have a different surname other than their own entered in the Register of Births (and subsequently on any Irish Birth Certificates issued) then they must apply in writing to the Register-General. Any queries relating to the registration of a name should be directed to the appropriate Registrar of Births in the area where the birth originated.
When it comes to issuing Irish Birth Certificates, parents must note that the father’s surname can only be entered as the child’s surname in cases where the father’s details are included at the time the birth is registered. In cases where a child is born to parents who are not married to each other at the time of the birth, then the birth can be registered so as to record the details of the child’s father and this will be reflected on the childs Irish Birth Certificate. Whether the child’s parents are are married to each other, or the mother is married to someone other than the baby’s biological father, advice can be sought from the Registrar of Births in your area on how best to record the information.
When do I need an Irish Birth Certificate?
An original Irish Birth Certificate will be required by your Solicitor when purchasing property
If you are getting married always ensure that you have a copy of your Irish Birth Certificate available
If you are applying for a Separation / Divorce you will be required to submit your Irish Birth Certificate
Many Schools / College’s request a copy of a pupil’s Irish Birth Certificate
Some religious activities e.g. Communion / Confirmation may require that you produce a Irish Birth Certificate
Applying for certain benefits from various government departments will require a Birth Certificate to be submitted
To obtain a Passport an Irish Birth Certificate is among the documentation required
As a general means of identification when applying for certain services or opening bank accounts, a Birth Certificate may be requested.
Adoption (in Ireland or Inter-Country Adoption) requires a number of copies of Irish Birth Certificates for the individual / couple who plan to adopt.
How long after a child’s birth can I apply for an Irish Birth Certificate?
You can obtain an Irish Birth Certificate circa 1 month after the birth date of the child, once the birth has been registered in person by a parent/s.
Which is more useful, the short or long version Irish Birth Certificate?
Whatever the reason for requiring a Irish Birth Certificate, as the short form version is no longer considered valid or acceptable, we can only dispatch the Long form civil certificate document. Due to the time, effort and expense required in obtaining certificates, the long form will always be accepted. We do advise that you always hold a “original” / “stamped” copy of your, or your families Irish Birth Certificates, because you just never know when you might need it!
Registration of Births of Children whose parents are not married to each other
Why is it important to have a father’s name on a child’s birth cert?
- > 3 important things to remember
- > When should a birth be registered?
- > Choosing a surname for your child
- > How can the father’s name be registered?
- > Re-Registration of a birth record
- > Changing a child’s surname in the Birth Register
- > Other ways of changing a child’s surname
- > If you are/were married to a man who is NOT the father of your baby and you want to put the birth father’s name on the birth certificate
If at all possible it is important to have the names of both parents on your child’s birth certificate.
Why is it important to have a father’s name on a child’s birth cert?
Children need to know as much as possible about both their parents, so that they will have a good sense of their own identity and personal history. Having the father’s name on the child’s birth certificate helps to establish the child’s sense of identity as s/he grows up.
3 important things to remember
- Having the father’s name on the birth certificate does NOT give the father any rights in respect of his child.
- Having the father’s name on the birth certificate does NOT prevent the mother from getting One-Parent Family Payment.
- A child has a right to be financially maintained by both parents and to inherit from them once paternity of the child has been established. This applies whether or not the father’s name is on the birth certificate.
When should a birth be registered?
The birth of a child must be registered within 3 months of the birth.
Choosing a surname for your child
Parents can choose from:
- Mother’s surname.
- Father’s surname (but only if the father’s name is going on the birth certificate and he agrees).
- Both parents’ surnames – a double-barrelled surname – hyphenated and in any order (but, again, only if the father’s name is going on the birth certificate and he agrees)
How can the father’s name be registered?
Both parents can register the birth together by going to the registrar in the hospital or local office, or
Either parent can present to the registrar a form signed by the other parent, and correctly witnessed, called a Statutory Declaration (available from the registrar’s office) swearing that the father is the father, or
Either parent can bring to the registrar a copy of any court order naming the father in respect of the child, e.g. access, maintenance or guardianship and have the father’s name entered on the birth certificate, without the consent of the other parent. The other parent will be notified. The consent of both parents is required to change the child’s surname.
Re-Registration of a Birth Record
If the child has been registered in the mother’s name alone, it is possible to re-register the birth at any future date in order to have the father’s details included, using any of the methods outlined above for registration.
Changing a child’s surname in the Birth Register
It is possible to change the surname of a child if the parents marry following the birth of their child and where both parents agree. The names of both parents must be already entered in the Register of Births.
If the birth is being re-registered to add the father’s name and the original registration was after October 1997 the surname already chosen can be changed where both parents agree.
If the birth is being re-registered to add the father’s name and the original registration was before October 1997 then a surname must be chosen on re-registration as no surname was assigned at the original registration.
Other ways of changing a child’s surname
The surname of a child can be changed by Deed Poll or by Common Usage but neither of these can change the entry in the Register of Births. The Deed Poll, which is the official process by which a person changes his / her name, is presented together with the birth certificate.
A person’s name can be changed by common usage – that is where a new name is adopted and it is “commonly used” by that person, for example on school reports, bank or post office accounts etc. It is posible to use this name for official purposes. e.g. passports, once you can show on two pieces of formal dentification that this is the name you are using.
If you are/were married
to a man who is NOT the father of your baby and you want to put the birth father’s name on the birth certificate
In order to proceed you must have a sworn statement from the father swearing he is the father and have either:
- a sworn statement from your husband saying he is not the father
- deed of separation and a sworn statement from you saying you were living apart from your husband for more than 10 months before the birth of your child
- an Irish divorce dated or stating that you were living apart from your husband at least 10 months before your child was born. (To make sure a foreign divorce is valid it must be referred to the General Register Office.)
- any court order which names the father as father.
If you would like to talk through your individual situation, please do not hesitate to call the CONFIDENTIAL LoCall number 1890 252 084.
Where and when do you register a death?
By Law, every death must be registered.
A family member or next of kin must register a death as soon as possible after the event but no longer than 3 months after the date of the death. It is normal practice for the next of kin of deceased parties to register the death as soon as possible.
What do you need to Register a Death?
You must obtain and bring with you a Notification of Death form stating the cause of death to your local Registrar. The doctor who attended the deceased during his/her last illness can provide you with this document. To determine where your local Registrar is, contact your Health Board. On presenting the notification you must then sign the Register in the presence of the Registrar who will then issue a Death Certificate.
How do I get a Irish Death Certificate?
A Death Certificate can only be obtained if the doctor is satisfied about the cause of death. If they didn’t see the deceased at least 4 (four) weeks before the death occurred or if they aren’t satisfied about the cause of death, they must inform a Coroner who will then decide if a postmortem is necessary. Where a postmortem is carried out this can lead to delays as a Death Certificate can not be issued until the results are known. In this case an Interim Death Certificate may be issused. If a Coroner requests a postmortem or an inquest a death will be automatically registered. A death that was not registered within one year will require written permission of the Registrar General. You can obtain a Death Certificate at the same time a death is registered.
In the case of a stillborn child, you should approach a maternity hospital or your local Registrar for information on how to register the death.
What information is needed for a Irish Death Certificate?
• The Medical Certificate stating the cause of death and, if possible:
• The deceased’s medical card
• The deceased’s birth and marriage certificates
• The last (usual) address of the deceased
• The deceased’s occupation and the name and occupation of spouse
• The date of birth of the deceased’s surviving widow or widower
If you have a questions which are not listed above, please email us on email@example.com and we will endeavour to respond within 1 working day. Back to top
General Information on getting married in Ireland
Please note that the information offered on this website is merely a guideline and relates to some of the legal requirements for a valid marriage in this State. Furthermore, if you decide to marry through a religious ceremony then you need to discuss the religious requirements with the Priest/Celebrant of your marriage. At the time of research this information is true and relevant however, should you notice any updates / errors or omissions, please let us know!
We are planning to get married so what should we do?
Anyone now planning to marry in this Ireland need to give a minimum of three months written notification to the Registrar for the district in which the marriage is due to take place. The 3 months notification will not commence until both parties have each notified the Registrar, who then responds with a dated “acknowledgement of receipt of the notification” and just in case you are ever asked for proof, you should retain this receipt for your records.
There is an exception to providing the 3 months notice and this is called a “Court Exemption Order”.
Do I have to give 3 months notice of my intention to marry?
In most cases Yes you do, however, in special circumstances such as a serious illness, you may be able to get a Court Exemption Order allowing the marriage to proceed without the three months notification. You should contact either the Circuit Family Court or the High Court in the area in which either of you live for details on how to proceed. It’s an informal procedure and you may apply in person i.e. you do not have to go to the expense of hiring a Solicitor (although you can if you want to). The Court will require you to show (a) that there are good reasons for your Application and (b) that the granting of such an Exemption Order is in the best interests of both parties to the intended marriage.
How do we make sure that our wedding is legal in Ireland?
First of all, The Family Law Act of 1995 dictates the following two requirements for a marriage to be legal in Ireland:
(a) The minimum age at which each person who would ordinarily either be a resident or non-resident of the State, may contract a marriage that is legal / valid in Irish law, is 18 (eighteen) years of age, whether they are getting married in Ireland or abroad. It may be necessary to provide proof of age (a long form Birth Certificate may suffice) and failure to do so can result in refusal to proceed and unlike some years ago, there is no requirement to obtain parental consent for a marriage. Should a marriage go ahead without either High Court or Circuit Family Court permission, (i.e. a Court Exemption Order), then whoever solemnises the marriage may be liable to pay a substantial fine.
(b) Each person marrying on or after 1st August 1996 must give a minimum of three months notice to the appropriate Registrar for the District in which the marriage is to take place. Also, remember that the onus is on the parties who wish to marry to ensure the notification is received by the relevant / appropriate Registrar of Marriages so don’t make any mistakes!
Do rules vary for different religions when applying to Marry?
The same procedures apply to anyone getting married in Ireland, whether you are an Irish citizen or a non-national.
For information on how to proceed, if you choose to get married in a Registry Office or Church, you should approach the Registrar of Civil Marriages for the district in which you live or intend to marry.
What is a Civil Marriage Cermony?
All Marriages, civil or religious, must take place at venues which are open to the public. Notice to the Registrar must be served and you must go to the Registrar’s Office in person to serve the notice. This requirement is distinct from, and in addition to, the requirement to give the 3 months notification.
If we marry in a Church abroad, are we legally married in Ireland?
Couples are still bound by Irish law as far as the “capacity to marry” is concerned (age requirements etc.) even though they must meet certain foreign requirements. In some countries you may need a “Certificate of Freedom” (otherwise known as “Certificate de Coutume” or “Certificate of Nulla Osta”).
Marriages that take place outside the State are not usually registered in Ireland except under specific circumstances as laid down by Irish Law. However, a foreign marriage certificate will normally be accepted for official purposes in Ireland, providing you also provide an official translation from a recognised Translation Agency (if it is in a foreign language!). Having got married abroad, if you need copy of your foreign marriage certificate, you can make enquiries by contacting the Embassy for the relevant country.
For Irish citizens in Ireland, please contact the Consular Section at the Department of Foreign Affairs, 72/76 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Telephone 01-408 2568
Adoption Certificates are available from 1954 for adoptions that took place in Ireland only. Once the civil requirements have been met, for official purposes an adoption certificate is now the legal document and replaces any previous birth registration.
We cannot accept requests for Foreign Adoptions or Inter Country Adoptions on this website. If you require a Foreign Adoption Certificate, please contact 000 353 1 2309037 for further information. Please note that it takes slightly longer to process requests for Irish Adoption Certificates than it does for standard Birth Certificates.
Once an adoptionhas been officially registered, you can then apply online from that day onwards for any additional certificates that you may require.
Civil Partnership Registration in Ireland
The legal provisions concerning Civil Partnership registration are contained in Part 3 of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010. These provisions amend the Civil Registration Act of 2004 to provide for the registration of civil partnerships in Ireland.
Entering into a civil partnership is a solemn legal contract and it is vital that all necessary legalities are complied with in order to ensure that a civil partnership is legally VALID.
If you have and enquiries regarding Civil Partnership we would advise you to contact the General Register Office, in Roscommon on
LoCall 1890 25 20 76
If your question is still not answered or you have information which may benefit others, please let us know by eMailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!