FAQs : Birth Certificate Registration in Singapore
A birth certificate is something people often take for granted. Not many of us would think that it holds any value. However, something that we often overlook that is of great significance is whether both of our parents are named on our birth certificate. The consequences of not having a parent - the father, named is something that is felt by illegitimate children.
In this article, we will be answering some frequently asked questions related to this topic.
What is the process for registration of a child’s birth?
In Singapore, birth certificates are only issued upon registration of a child’s birth at a gazetted birth registration centre. This can be done by the child’s parent(s) or by a proxy on behalf of the child’s parent(s) with a letter of authorisation. Parent(s) are required to provide the following documents at registration:
- Identity cards
- Original marriage certificate
- Letter of authorisation from the child’s parents (if birth is being registered by a proxy)
- Notification of Live Birth issued by the hospital/doctor/midwife (if any)
Additional documents required from foreigner parents:
- Long-term pass cards
- Disembarkation/embarkation cards
Parents can walk-in to register their child’s birth at the gazetted birth registration centres or at the Registry of Births & Deaths at ICA.
Singaporean parents have the additional option to register for their child’s birth online and apply for Baby Bonus- through the ‘Moments of Life’ application. This channel is available if at least one of the parents is a Singaporean citizen, both parents have SingPass account and the marriage was registered in Singapore.
Registration and collection of the child’s birth certificate can be done immediately if all the required documents are presented. The birth certificate can be collected at the hospital where the baby was born or the ICA Registry of Births and Deaths. If the Moments of Life application is used, an e-appointment must be made to collect the birth certificate at ICA Registry of Births and Deaths.
Can you add another person’s name onto the birth certificate after the registration of the child’s birth?
Yes, it is possible to amend the birth certificate to include a party who is not the child’s non-biological parent, such as adoptive parents. Following a divorce, it is possible to ‘remove’ your ex-spouse’s name from the birth certificate and reflect your current spouse’s name on the birth certificate. This would be in situations like if you have remarried and your spouse wishes to have their name on your child’s birth certificate. You and your spouse would have to adopt your child together. This transfers parental rights over the child to you and your new spouse and also replaces the particulars of the child’s birth parents with that of the adoptive parents.
To do so, you and your current spouse would have to legally adopt the child. Detailed information on the adoption procedure can be found here.
Must the parents be in Singapore in order to enter his/her name on the child’s birth certificate?
There is no requirement for the parents to be in Singapore in order to register his/her name on the birth certificate, as mentioned in point 1, registration can be done on behalf by a proxy with a letter of authorisation.
Can a biological parent refuse to put his/her name into a child’s birth certificate?
Yes. There can be instances where the biological father either does not wish to be named on his child’s certificate or the mother does not wish to name him on the certificate.
Can the unnamed parent still have access to the child?
As the unnamed parent is the child’s biological father, he may be entitled to some form of access or visitation rights, even if he was previously uninvolved in raising the child. In Singapore, the parent who does not have care and control of a child may be granted access times provided that such access would be beneficial for the child.
The starting position would be a presumption that allowing the child to have interactions with both parents is beneficial for the child. Once the court is satisfied that access should be granted, it will exercise its discretion in determining a reasonable access – this is typically in the form of a timetable where the parent granted access will have scheduled times to visit the child.
This does not mean that he has complete access to, care and control of, or custody over the child. To acquire these additional rights, the biological father would have to bring legal proceedings.
Can you apply for maintenance for the child from the unnamed parent?
Yes, maintenance can be sought regardless of whether the child(ren) is illegitimate or whether the parties are married. Single mothers and mothers can claim child maintenance from the biological father. Women’s Charter section 68 imposes a duty on parents to maintain or contribute to the maintenance of his or her child(ren). Whether the child is in the unnamed parent’s custody does not affect this duty.
How to add the unnamed biological parent to the child’s birth certificate?
This can be done only when both of the birth parents get married. Adding the name of the biological parent legitimises and allows for re-registration of the child’s birth. This should be done with ICA’s Registry of Births and Deaths within 3 months of the birth parents getting married.
To amend the child’s birth certificate, go to the ICA Information Counter for an interview. It is necessary to bring the following documents:
- Both parents’ original NRIC
- The original marriage certificate
- The child’s original birth certificate
- DNA test results proving the father’s relation to the child
- Other documentary evidence to support the application (if any)
Benefits of having a parent’s name on the child’s birth certificate
Yes. If the child is born out of wedlock, they are labelled as “illegitimate” under Singapore Law. Such a child is not entitled to certain benefits that they would have received if they were legitimate. These benefits can be succinctly put as follows:
- Our laws on intestate succession precludes illegitimate children from succeeding his or her parent’s intestate properties;
- Illegitimate children are not legally entitled to maintenance from the parents’ estate;
- The child will not receive the biological father’s surname and will instead acquire the mother’s surname;
- If the child is born illegitimate, he or she will not acquire Singaporean citizenship by birth if the mother is not a Singaporean citizen;
- A biological parent is not able to form a family nucleus with an illegitimate child for the purposes of purchasing a Housing Development Board (HDB) flat; and
- Single mothers do not enjoy the same tax reliefs as married mothers.
For a more detailed overview on the benefits of having a parent’s name on the child’s birth certificate, please click here.