Birth certificate

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The birth certificate (also known as a birth certificate ) is an official certificate of the birth of a person - with first name , family name , gender , date and place of birth , which is created from the birth register of the place of birth. In addition, the legally valid parents at the time the certificate was issued (not necessarily the biological parents, e.g. in the case of adoption , see certificate of parentage ) are entered. Like the family book , it is issued by the registry office of the place of birth in most states . The nationality of the parents is not part of the dates of birth (Germany).

In the past, this certification and also the keeping of the civil status was the responsibility of the church . In Germany and Switzerland it passed to the state authorities in 1876, in Austria in 1939 (see also civil marriage ).


Birth announcement at the registry office

A birth in Germany must be reported to the registrar in whose district the child was born in accordance with the Personal Status Act (PStG) within one week ( Section 18 PStG). According to § 19 PStG, you are obliged to give verbal notification of the birth in the following order:

  1. each parent of the child, if they have custody,
  2. any other person who was present at the birth or who is informed of the birth of their own knowledge.

A notification obligation according to number 2 only exists if the parents with custody are prevented from reporting.

In the case of births in hospitals and other facilities in which obstetrics is provided, the institution responsible for the facility is obliged to report it ( Section 20 PStG).

Examples of some birth announcements from different eras

When reporting, a series of information about the birth (place, date, time), the child (gender, name) and the mother and, if known at this time, the father (name, home address) must be provided and through Proof of suitable evidence (if necessary marriage certificate, birth certificate, identity card, etc.).

For foreign nationals , proof of this is required (e.g. passport ) and, in some cases, additional proof.

Content of today's birth certificates in Germany

Today's birth certificates contain the following information ( Section 59 PStG):

  1. the name of the registry office,
  2. the serial number of the birth entry together with the year of birth,
  3. all first names of the child,
  4. the child's maiden name,
  5. the sex of the child,
  6. the child's date of birth,
  7. the place of birth of the child,
  8. the following information from the " legal parents ":
    • first names and surnames,
    • the religion of the child and parent, if entry in the register was requested,
  9. the location of the issuing registry office,
  10. the date of issue of the birth certificate,
  11. the seal of the registry office,
  12. the signature of the notifying registrar,
  13. the name of the notifying registrar.

On request, information on gender, parents and religious affiliation will not be included in the birth certificate (so-called small birth certificate).

Determination of the maiden name

If the married parents have a common married name , this becomes the child's maiden name ( § 1616 BGB ).

If the married parents do not have a common married name or if parents who are not married have joint parental custody of the child, both of them must submit a written declaration of the child's maiden name to the registrar. The declaration is binding for all further children resulting from the connection. If the parents cannot come to an agreement, the family court transfers the right of determination to one of the parents ( Section 1617 BGB).

If only one parent has parental responsibility, the child receives their family name as the maiden name. If the child is to be given the surname of the other parent, a name must also be given at the registry office ( Section 1617a BGB).

The maiden name can also change after the birth z. B. change through the marriage of the parents or subsequent establishment of joint parental custody ( § 1617b to § 1618 BGB).

If one or both parents are foreigners, the parent's law of origin can be used for naming. For example, a compound name can be formed from father and mother names, provided that the parent's home law allows this. A compound name is not permitted under German law.

Request for certificates from the birth register

The original of the birth register, from which birth certificates as well as certified copies of the birth entries are created, lies with the registry office of the place of birth. Birth registers are continued and stored for 110 years, after which they are transferred to the local archives.

Since smaller localities in particular no longer have their own registry office, changes to the registry office districts must be taken into account.

You can have a birth certificate or a certified copy from the birth register (e.g. to register your marriage) issued at any time if you belong to the group of authorized persons. Almost all of the larger registry offices now have extensive information or an online form on their own homepage. It is also possible to order by sending a letter or an e-mail with the complete personal data as well as a copy of the identity card or passport as proof of authorization, which you send directly to the respective registry office. Under no circumstances should you fall for third-party providers who offer the procurement of a certificate from the registry office on the Internet for a fee (in addition to the fees for the documents at the registry office). These third-party providers are not in contact with the registry offices. As a rule, the registry offices cannot yet send any documents due to the request for documents from third-party providers.

In addition to the person who is affected by the entry in the register, authorized persons are in particular relatives in a straight line (children, parents, grandparents). The civil status law regulates other authorized persons.

The respective federal state determines the fee rates.

Changes to entries in the birth register

In cases in which a child is born during an existing marriage, the man who is married to the mother of the child at the time of birth is deemed to be the father of the child ( Section 1592 No. 1 BGB). If this is not the biological father, there are various options for correcting the entry in the civil status register ( Section 27 PStG). These include the paternity fraud when the child is born before a divorce petition is made, and the acknowledgment of paternity (including the necessary agreements of the child's mother and her husband) to pendency of the divorce petition, but before the birth of the child.

The change is only made in the birth register, but not on the birth certificates issued. In order to receive a civil status certificate with the correct civil status of the child, it is necessary to request a copy from the birth register for a fee.

Choice of first name

The right to be given first names results from personal custody .

If the decision on the child's first name (s) cannot be made immediately after the birth , it must be communicated to the responsible registry office or to another registry office within one month ( Section 22 PStG). When choosing the first name, the registry office will advise whether it can also certify the name or whether the desired spelling appears possible. If no agreement can be reached between parents and the registry office, the parents can take legal action in the local courts within the framework of voluntary jurisdiction .


Birth certificate Emerich Mayer, issued in Vienna

The birth certificate is one of the four essential civil status certificates, along with the marriage certificate, the partnership certificate and the death certificate. The birth certificate usually contains

  • the child's name,
  • the names of the parents,
  • the sex of the child,
  • the time of birth and
  • the place of birth of the child.

If the child is adopted, only the adoptive parents are listed as parents.


In official documents (ID cards) in Switzerland, the place of origin is given instead of the place of birth , which can lead to difficulties when filling out non-Swiss forms.

Content of today's birth certificates in Switzerland

  • place of birth
  • Date of birth
  • First and last name
  • Information about the parents (at the time of birth)
    • First and last name
    • Hometown
    • place of residence


Birth certificates are not issued in Sweden. The hospital informs the tax authorities of the birth of a child, which is responsible for registration. The mother of the child will then be sent an extract from the register with the child's personal identification number and a form for specifying the name.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Birth certificate  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations