How to Get a Birth Certificate in Ghana

birth certificate

A birth certificate is one of the first certificates that anyone can own. Most countries issue birth certificates at birth as a form of proof of the country and hospital of one’s birth. In Ghana, however, getting a Ghanaian birth certificate is not as instant as in most countries around the world. Let’s look at what it takes to get a birth certificate in Ghana.

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The Law

Ghanaian birth certificates can only be given to live-birth babies. The Births and Deaths Registry is responsible for registering and issuing Ghana Birth Certificates to children.

A baby is considered born when it has been extracted from its mother as a product of conception, irrespective of the duration of the pregnancy, which after the separation, breathes or shows any other evidence of life, such as the beating of the heart, pulsating of the umbilical cord, or a definite movement of voluntary muscles whether or not the umbilical cord has been cut or the placenta is detached.

Ghana Birth Certificate Registration

Once the child has been deemed as a live-birth, it has to be registered. Unlike in other countries, registration of a newborn baby is not done at the hospital. Rather, the father and mother of the child are to register their baby at the Births and Deaths registry within their district. Experts believe that this contributes to the high level of unregistered children in Ghana. It is said that 1 in every 4 children is not registered in Ghana.

Registration of children in Ghana is normally done within days of the birth of a child. Most families combine this with the traditional outdooring of the child which normally takes place between 7-30 days (or more in some obscure cases) after the child has been born.

By law, however, the child is supposed to be registered within 21 days of birth. A grace period of 12 months is given to register the child free of charge. Any time later will attract a fee. Otherwise, registering a child after birth is free of charge. A birth certificate will be issued to the child by the registry as soon as the child is registered. The child’s weighing card from the hospital is what is used by the Births and Deaths Registry to confirm the birth of the child within the district.

How to Apply for a Birth Certificate in Ghana

For the lots of Ghanaians who did not get a birth certificate when they were born or had it misplaced or destroyed, all hope is not lost. You can apply for a new birth certificate at any of the district offices of the Births and Deaths Registry in the district where you were born. You will need one of the following documents to prove that you were actually born in Ghana if you did not receive a birth certificate at birth or have misplaced yours.

  • Hospital weighing card
  • Baptismal certificate
  • Old birth certificate (a copy may pass for some districts)
  • An affidavit from one of the parents of the applicant. This is for those below 18.

Once you have any of these documents, you can apply for a birth certificate.

Over the years, the Births and Deaths Registry has transitioned to the Biometric Birth Certificate for all Ghanaians. This certificate is more accurate as it requires the fingerprints of the registrant. The application process for the biometric certificate can be started online.

How to Apply for the Biometric Birth Certificate

There are two ways to apply for the Ghana biometric birth certificate. You can apply for it online or at the district office of the Births and Deaths Registry.

To apply for the Ghana Biometric Certificate online, you first need to register at the eServices portal. The process will enable you to receive your biometric birth certificate within two weeks. The total cost of the online application is GHS50 (at the time of writing) which is the same as applying at your local district’s Births and Deaths Registry office. The manual process is normally faster than the online process, so if you need it urgently you can find an office near you and apply for the birth certificate at GHS50.

Foreigners who were not born in Ghana and do not have Ghanaian parents can, in no way, obtain a Ghana birth certificate unless they were born in the country. However, this birth certificate issued to foreigners does not necessarily mean that the person is a citizen of Ghana. Mr. Kingsley Asare, a Principal Assistant Registrar of the Births and Deaths Registry in Accra communicated that birth certificates issued to foreigners only provide evidence of age and parentage, not nationality. Foreigners born in Ghana are eligible for a Ghanaian birth certificate but would still have to go through the required legal procedures if they wish to gain Ghanaian nationality. Foreigners doing business in Ghana are not eligible for a Ghanaian birth certificate, they can, however, go through the naturalization process if they wish to become Ghanaian citizens.

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We hope this information will help you in obtaining a birth certificate in Ghana. There are many benefits Ghanaians enjoy as citizens. A birth certificate is a necessity if you are Ghanaian and want to obtain other important documents like a passport. How was your experience getting a birth certificate in Ghana? Kindly share in the comments below.

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