Where do I register my baby’s birth ?
The baby’s birth has to be registered at the mairie of the commune or arondissement (for Lyon, Paris, Marseille) he was born in. You have three working days from the day after the birth to register him. (weekends don’t count).
A lot of state hospitals deal with the registration process themselves. You give them the necessary paperwork and they send everything to the mairie. All you need to do is collect the updated livret de famille and the déclaration de naissance once they’re ready.
Who registers the birth?
The registration can to be done by the father, the mother or any person who was present at the birth
What paperwork do I need?
You need a medical certificate from the doctor or midwife who was present at the birth and the livret de famille (if you have one, otherwise proof of identity).
The “déclaration de naisance” includes the following information:
ðDate and place of birth
ðName (first names and surnames)
ðParents’ full names (this will be the mother’s maiden name)
ðParents’ birth dates
So you will probably need papers to prove all this. (Most of it is in the livret de famille if you have one.)
“My first birth was in a private clinique and they filled out the official birth form but dh had to to to the mairie to register the birth.”
“We filled out everything at the hospital and then DH just had to go and collect the livret de famille from the mairie a few days later - easy!!”
“I gave birth in a public hospital and it was all done by the hospital. We just filled in the form, handed over the livret de famille, and they did the rest. The livret came back in the post about a week or so later.”
"Our hospital filled in the livret de famille with new ds's details, and gave us a form to fill in which dh just had to take to the local mairie (not the town where we live, the town where the hospital is)."
What names can I use?
French law used to control the names you could give a baby, but now whatever name you choose has to be accepted by the registrar. If he considers that the name is detrimental to the child (eg a rude word or the name of a well-known politician) he can then contact the Procureur de la Republique who will get a Juge aux Affaires Familiales to make the final decision.
If the parents are married, the baby will have his father’s surname. If they aren’t married, then he will have the surname of the first parent to acknowledge him. (This can be done before birth.)
What about registering with the British Embassy? (for British nationals)
Registering a birth with the Embassy, isn’t compulsory but it is considered proof of citizenship and means that the birth will be registered with the UK General Register Office. A consular birth certificate isn’t necessary to get a British passport, you will still need the French birth certificate. At the time of writing (summer 2004) registering a birth costs 88 Euros and each copy of the registration (i.e the birth certificate) costs 56 euros.
“We registered both children's births with the consulate, the reasoning being that we may or may not end up staying in France permanently (at the moment no plans to go back to the UK, but you never know). I felt it was an important part of my children's British heritage. Mind you it is an expensive luxury"
“I haven't bothered doing it, but maybe I would if there was a possibility of us ever going to live in the UK, that way they would have documents in English. Having a passport should be all that's needed to prove nationality.”