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Every birth in the Cook Islands must be registered pursuant to the Births and Deaths Act 1973, as outlined in this guide.
- Understand your obligation.
It is primarily the duty of both parents, and secondarily the duty of others present at the birth of a child, to ensure that the birth of any child is properly registered. Failure to do so can result in prosecution. The father does not have the parental duty to register the child if the parents were not married at the time of conception or at the time of birth. The provision of any false information in relation to the registration of a birth is an offense and can result in prosecution.
- Hospital issues notice of birth.
The Hospital will notify the Ministry of Justice promptly in writing when a birth occurs. This generally occurs within 48 hours of the birth. Details of the child must still be formerly registered.
- Parents must register child.
Those with the obligation to register the child must appear in person at the Ministry of Justice within 14 days from the birth to complete registration forms and sign the birth register book. Those appearing must present a government issued photo ID (e.g. passport). Calling ahead to make an appointment is advised.
Late Registration: If for some reason the parents do not register the child within 14 days, the child may still be registered provided that the late registration fee is paid, a statutory declaration is given, and any further evidence required by the Registrar-General is provided.
Child Surname: Presently, the surname of the child shall be the surname of the father if the father is registered, otherwise the surname of the child shall be the surname of the mother. The name, including surname, of the child can be changed through the deed poll process and the name change will be listed on the birth certificate.
- Welfare notification issued.
Once registered, the parents will receive a written confirmation of the birth registration. A notice of birth can be taken to Internal Affairs to process any Child benefit or other welfare benefit.
- Birth Certificate.
Birth Certificates for the child may be obtained upon payment of the required fee.
Birth Certificate .........................................$25
Search of records for each name .............$10
Late birth registration fee ..................... $20 +
Deed Poll up to 3 years old .......................$40
Deed Poll 4 years and over........................$75
*See Births and Deaths Registration (Fees) Regulation 2015 for additional fees.