The registration of births is the responsibility of the child's parents. Therefore, every parent must note the following before their child is registered:
- Ensure that you have selected a name for your child by the time he/she is born. This will make the registration process easier.
- Register all births as soon as the baby is born. It is mandated by law to register the birth within the first six weeks.
- If the birth is registered three months to a year after birth, a close relative or someone having knowledge of the birth will need to sign the registration form as an informant.
- If the birth is registered after a year has passed, a Late Registration application will need to be completed to obtain a birth certificate for the child.
The Registrar General's Department now conducts registration of births and still births at the bedside of the mother while still in the hospital. This has led to significant improvements in the recording of these vital events. Trained registration officers, who are employed by the Agency, are stationed in all hospitals island-wide to conduct these registrations. Vital information, including, but not limited to, child’s date of birth, sex of child, mother’s name, and doctor or midwife present at time of birth, are captured for civil registration purposes. Click here to view a diagram outlining the Bedside Registration process
WHOSE DUTY IS IT TO REGISTER A BIRTH?
Births outside of a hospital or birthing center: If a child was born outside of a hospital it is the responsibility of the parent(s) to register the birth. If the parents are unable to do so, then a relative or someone in the house where the baby was born or an individual present at the time of the birth should register the birth.
Births at a hospital or Birthing Center: The Registration Officer is responsible for registering all births occurring in hospitals and birthing centers daily, based on the information provided to them by the parent(s) in the hospital.
WHERE ARE BIRTHS REGISTERED?
Births are registered in the hospitals/ birthing centers. A Local District Registrar is a person appointed by the Registrar General to record all births, deaths and still-births occurring in their registration district. The fourteen parishes of Jamaica are segmented into districts and the LDRs are usually located in the same district or in close proximity to the districts for which they are responsible.
All births must be registered in the district in which they occurred. For example a birth occurring in Spanish Town, St. Catherine should be registered at the LDR in the district of Spanish Town. When a birth is registered it is given a Birth Entry Number. This is a unique number which is used to identify each child's birth registration record. The unique entry number tells the parish, the district and the sequence of births registered in the year the child was born, for a particular district.
For example a birth occurring in Spanish Town, St. Catherine would be given an entry number such as EA 103: ‘E’ shows the parish of birth, which is St. Catherine and the ‘A’ shows the district in which the birth occurred, which in this case in Spanish Town.
HOW SOON AFTER BIRTH SHOULD THE EVENT BE REGISTERED?
All births must be registered:
- Ideally within six weeks and less than one year
- Within 14 days – Chief Resident Officer must send the notification of birth to LDR.
If the infant is not named in the hospital, parents should visit the Registration Officer for the district in which the child was born and complete a Certificate of Naming
- Give full and correct information
- Check for the correct spelling of name
- Check date of birth
- Sign registration form only if all the information is correct
- Collect Certificate of Registry (pink paper/slip)
- Keep a record of the Birth Entry Number for reference
Most of Jamaica’s births occur in hospitals or other birthing institutions. The registration procedure for the parent(s) is:
- All details for the child, mother and father must be provided. If the parents are not married at the time of birth, the father must be present at the time of registration to sign the birth record or both parents sign and submit the declaration of paternity within six weeks of the birth, for the father’s name to be added to the child’s birth certificate.
- If a name has not been chosen for the child at the time of registration in the hospital, the Certificate of Naming will be issued to the parent(s) and instructions given for the form to be completed and presented to the Registration Officer within one year. After this one year period, the child’s name can only be added to the birth certificate by paying for the Late Entry of Name application at the Registrar General’s Department.
- After the birth registration form is completed by the Registration Officer and all relevant signatures are affixed, the process is complete, and a birth certificate will be issued within 3 months to qualified babies who were:
- Named in hospital; and
- Their registration fee was paid.
For children delivered outside of a hospital or birthing centre, the birth must be registered as follows:
- An informant must attend the nearest Local District Registrar (LDR) to register the birth. This person can be a parent, person present at birth, an occupier of the house in which the birth occurred or any other adult who is aware of the birth of the child;
- The informant must visit the LDR’s office within six months, or at least within one year after birth. After one year, a late registration application will be required;
- As in hospital birth registration, if parents are not married, the mother and father must attend the LDR for the father’s particulars to be added at time of registration, that is, an “A and B registration” is done;
- The birth registration form is completed by the LDR and all relevant signatures are affixed;
- The original registration is sent to the Head Office of the Registrar General's Department within six weeks of the registration;