Applying for birth registration

The right to an identity, including a name, surname, date of birth, as well as the right to citizenship are fundamental human rights. Without an identity a person does not officially exist and is invisible to state authorities and crucial private services.

The CRC requires that Member States respect children’s right to a name, a nationality and family ties (Article 7 and 8). Birth registration is crucial for safeguarding many of the child’s rights. If a child is not registered at birth, their access to health services, education, marriage registration and voting, for example, could be restricted. The absence of simple procedures and terms for children to register their birth through judicial or – preferably – administrative procedures in case their parents fail to do so may put all of their rights at risk.

In all EU Member States, parents or medical professionals are responsible for registering new-borns. When parents and medical professionals fail to comply with this obligation, a few countries have enacted specific procedures that allow children to complete their own registration, in some cases regardless of their age. Other Member States regulate the possibility of late registration by other interested parties (relatives, medical personnel, social workers, etc.) through judicial procedures.

View full dataset in data explorer.

Key aspects

  • The majority of Member States (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom) do not regulate the issue of children under 18 years applying on their own for their birth registration, if parents fail to do so.
  • In Bulgaria, Italy and Malta late registration is possible, but the legal framework does not specify a minimum age. By contrast, Portugal and Sweden explicitly provide a minimum age (14 and 16, respectively).
  • Several Member States regulate the possibility of late registration of the child by other interested parties – such as relatives, medical personnel and social workers – through judicial procedures (Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Poland and Romania), through voluntary declarations before the registers (Latvia and Spain), or other administrative bodies (Cyprus and Lithuania).