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Birth Certificates, A publication of the Legal Resources Foundation
Legal Resources Foundation (LRF)
August 31, 2006

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Why you need one, how to get one

What is a Birth Certificate?
This is a very important document which shows what all your names are, where you were born and who your parents are.

Why is it needed
This certificate is required throughout your whole life. It is required when you register your child for school and when the child is sitting for Grade 7, ZJC and "O" level.

It is required when applying for a National Registration card or passport and also at a College or University and when seeking employment.

What does the law say about birth certificates?
The law says every parent must register the birth of a child within six weeks of the birth of the child.

Where do you go for a birth certificate
There are birth registration offices in all districts, so the parents should go to the Registration offices in the district where the child was born. If the parents live far away from that district, they can go to the nearest Birth Registration office.

Who should register a birth

  • Either parent can go to register a birth, as long as all the necessary documents are produced;
  • If the parents do not have a registered marriage, and they want the fatherís name to be recorded, both parents must go to register;
  • If both the parents have died, relatives can register the birth, as long as they produce all the documents and the death certificates;
  • If the person whose birth is being registered is sixteen years or older, he or she must be present at the time of registration;
  • If a child has been left with grandparents or another relative and the parents have disappeared, the relative looking after the child can register him or her;
  • If the mother has disappeared, the father can register the child with witnesses from the motherís family;
  • In a few special cases an adult can register him or herself but the District Registrar will have to do the registration.

What Documents Must Be Produced

When registering a baby born in a hospital or clinic

If the parents are legally married with a marriage certificate, one parent can register and must bring

  • Motherís and fatherís national identity cards.
  • Birth confirmation record from the hospital.
  • Parentís marriage certificate.
  • Death certificate for any parent who has died.

If the parents are customarily married and have no marriage certificate, both parents must be present and must bring

  • Motherís and fatherís national identity cards.
  • Birth confirmation record from the hospital.
  • Both parents will have to sign a form declaring that the man is the father of the child.

When registering a baby born out of hospital

If the parents are legally married, with a marriage certificate, one parent can register and must bring

  • Motherís and fatherís national identity cards.
  • The parentís marriage certificate.
  • A witness with a national identity card, preferably a midwife; for a child born on a farm it could be a witness or a letter from the farmer.

If the parents are customarily married, without marriage certificate, both parents must be present to register and must bring

  • Motherís and fatherís national identity cards.
  • A witness with a national identity card, preferably a midwife.
  • A chief or headmanís letter or where the child is born on a farm, a letter from the farmer.
  • Both parents will have to sign a form declaring that the man is the father of the child.

When registering a child over one year, but under sixteen years

  • The same documents will be needed as shown above.
  • If the child is in school, a letter from the headmaster.

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