Children must obtain official identification documents at the early stage of their lives, to be able to access basic rights, including protection, health, and education. One of the most important documents is the birth certificate and birth proof.
In this article, we will provide information about a birth proof. Proof of birth is an official document issued when the parents are unable to obtain the birth certificate immediately after the birth of the child. Proof of birth is considered a birth certificate for the child, issued by an authorized official authority, proving that the child is registered in the state's records, according to the amended Births and Deaths Registration Law No. 148 of 1971.
Why do I need to obtain a birth proof document for my child?
Birth registration helps ensure children's rights to basic services as children as well as when they become adults:
- Health care, including access to vaccinations.
- Access to education, and schools registration.
- Access to justice as well as obtaining the necessary official documents, such as the unified national card and the Iraqi citizenship certificate.
- Obtain a passport.
- Open a bank account.
- Vote in elections.
- Register for governmental employment, or in the private sector.
- Buy and sell property, and benefit from inheritances.
Who is eligible for birth proof?
Parents must obtain birth proof in any of the following cases:
- If the child was born to parents who are married through an external marriage contract. For more information about marriage contracts outside of the Court, click here.
- If the birth took place outside a hospital or by an authorized midwife, and more than 30 days have passed since the childbirth without obtaining a birth certificate.
- If the birth took place in the hospital, but the parents were unable to complete the procedures of issuing the birth certificate within 15 days after the childbirth.
What are the procedures and documents required to obtain a birth certificate?
- One of the parents should visit the Directorate of Civil Status to obtain an official letter requesting a birth proof document, in which the name of the child (or children if they are more than one) who is not registered in the parents’ civil registry is mentioned.
- Subsequently, the parent must visit the Personal Status Court, where the application form for obtaining a birth proof document is filled out.
- The application form must be attached with the following documents and requirements:
- The civil status identities, or the national unified cards for both parents. (Original and photocopied).
- A copy of the marriage contract certified by the Personal Status Court.
- 2 witness statements.
- The residence card or the parents' residence letter is certified by the Mayor’s Office or the Governorate Council.
- Then the Personal Status Court sends an official letter to the Civil Status Department to provide the parent with a copy of the civil status registry.
- The Personal Status Court shall provide the parent with an official letter containing a referral for the birth proof request to the hospital, or the Department of Births and Deaths, to verify that the child is not registered with them and that the age of the child does not conflict with the date of marriage and the ages of the rest of the children within the family (if any).
- After receiving the answer from the Department of Births and Deaths, the Judge records the statements of the applicant (one of the parents) and witnesses, and then, refers the child to the competent medical committee to estimate the child’s age, after placing on his or her hand by the Personal Status Court.
- Then, the requester of the birth proof pays the legal fee of 6,000 Iraqi Dinars, in addition to the fees for photocopies of the documents, which are estimated at 3,000 Iraqi Dinars.
- After an estimated period of 15 to 20 days, the parents receive an official letter that includes the child’s age. The parents must deliver this official letter to the Personal Status Court with all the documents mentioned above and attach the family’s civil status registry* (the family’s civil registry record).
* Each family head/wife can obtain the family's civil registry record from their Civil Status Department.
- The birth proof will be issued within two days of delivering the documents, after the Judge signs it.
- After obtaining the birth proof, the parents must visit the Health Department in the area of their residence to register the childbirth.
- The Health Department sends the complete documents to the Department of Births and Deaths in the district as well as to the Civil Status Directorate of the parents to register them in the family’s civil registry. This process takes about two months.
- Note: If the child is 15 years old or above, then the child must present in person at the Civil Status Court and acknowledge his or her lineage and age.
How long the mentioned procedures might take?
The process of issuing a birth proof document for a child from the initial stages until it is registered in the family’s civil registry may take up to 4 months.
How can I use the birth proof document to obtain the official documents for my child?
Before starting the official procedures to obtain a certain document for your child (for example, when obtaining the national unified card), you will need to obtain a certified copy of the birth proof document.
o During the parent’s visit to the Personal Status Court to process one of the official procedures, the judge will provide a letter of referral for the parent and refer him or her to the Health Center where the birth took place or was registered to certify the birth proof or to submit a request to ratify the birth proof. Ratification is an official acknowledgment by the competent department of the child’s birth that proves its presence in the department’s records.
o After that, the parents should go to the health Center to hand over the referral letter to the appropriate employee there This employee might be the registration employee, the employee of the Department of Births and Deaths, the hospital, or the authorized midwife.
o Then the parent will pay a fee of 2,000 Iraqi Dinars.
o The birth proof document is stamped and signed after having checked the availability of the child’s information in the department’s record and after having provided an official letter addressed to the Personal Status Court to be signed by the Judge.
* The Health Center usually sends the official letter to the Personal Status Court, and it may take about 2 months to be received. One of the parents may take that letter by themselves to the Personal Status Court to expedite the process.
o After the Judge signs the official letter, one of the parents will receive the ratified birth proof document.
How long does the birth proof ratification process take?
The ratification of a proof of birth document may take up to 3 to 4 months.
Where can I get more information?
Some humanitarian actors provide free legal assistance in the field of housing, land, and property issues as well as any prerequisite documents necessary to access housing, land, and property rights. Such prerequisite documents may include the requirements of a proof of birth document. For more information, you may contact us through our Facebook page or call one of the following numbers:
The International Rescue Committee legal services hotlines
Anbar – 07727813044
Mosul – 07517408466
Kirkuk – 07722366077
Iraq Information Center IIC via their free of charge number: 80069999
The International Rescue Committee Feedback and Response Mechanism Department: 07517354229
- The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund UNICEF. Click here