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Birth certificates

Birth certificates

Does a child's birth have to be registered?

A child's birth must be registered in Western Australia with the WA Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages (the registrar) within 60 days of the date of the birth if:

  • the child is born in Western Australia
  • a state court orders that the birth must be registered in Western Australia.

The birth may be registered in Western Australia if:

  • The child is born on a ship or in an aircraft on its way to Western Australia.
  • A court of another state or the commonwealth decides that it should be registered in Western Australia and the registrar believes it appropriate to do so. 
  • The child is born outside of Australia but is to become a resident of Western Australia and has not already been registered elsewhere.

How do I register the birth?

You must complete and lodge a birth registration form.

What if I don't register the birth?

It is an offence for the person or people responsible for registration not to register the birth.

Can anyone else register the birth?

Another person can register the birth if the registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages is satisfied that:

  • the person knows the relevant facts and
  • the parents are unable or unlikely to register the birth.

Who is responsible for registration?

The parents of a child are jointly responsible for having the child's birth registered and must both sign the birth registration statement. The registrar may accept an application from one parent if the other parent:

  • is dead
  • has disappeared
  • is suffering ill health
  • is unavailable, or
  • there is a need to avoid unwarranted distress to obtain the signatures of both parents on the birth registration statement.

The registrar registers the birth by making an entry onto the Register of Births and can do so even if the details provided are not complete.

There is a mistake on my child's birth certificate. How can I get it fixed?

If information on a certificate issued by the WA Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages is incorrect or incomplete, you should contact the registry. You will have to provide documentary evidence which confirms the correct details. Only eligible applicants can make this request. The registrar may require a statutory declaration in support of the application.

Is there a fee for this?

Where the error was made by the registry, no fee is payable to correct the certificate and any certificates issued will be replaced free of charge.

However, if incorrect or incomplete information was provided to the registry, then a correction fee is payable.

What if I have a certificate from interstate that needs amending?

You should contact the relevant registry office in the state or territory where the birth was registered.

I have previously registered the birth and now I want to change the child's first name. Can I?

If you apply, the registrar may change a child's name (other than family name) once within a year of the child's birth. The application must be:

  • in writing and
  • made by both parents if both parents are identified on the birth register, or by one parent if the Registrar accepted the birth registration from one parent, or by one parent if the other parent has died.

In some situations a child's guardian may make an application to change the child's name.

I have previously registered the birth and now I want to add the father's name to the birth certificate. Can I or the father do that?

If your child's birth is registered in Western Australia without the biological father's details, you can add these details to the registration by completing the "Add father's details in a child's birth" application form and payment of a fee. Both parents must provide appropriate identification.

I am worried the mother will register the father as unknown on the birth certificate. Is there anything I can do?

If you are concerned that the mother will register as "father unknown" you should lodge a form as soon as possible. The registry recommends that both parties submit separate forms and it may liaise with the parties to determine if they can agree on joint registration.

I am in a same sex relationship and want to add my partner's name to the birth certificate?

If you are in a same sex relationship and want to add you partner's name to your child's birth registration for a child born in WA contact the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages in WA for the appropriate form. This only applies to a partner who consented to the artificial fertilisation procedure.

What if the parents cannot agree on a name?

If the only issue is that the parents can't agree on a name for a child, the registrar makes the decision based on looking at the names submitted.

The registrar can also give a child a name if the name proposed by the parents is prohibited.

What is a dispute about the child's name has been resolved in the Family Court?

If the Family Court makes an order about a child's name, the registrar must give the child that name or change the name to reflect court orders.

Do both parents' names have to be registered?

The registration of the birth is different to the registration of the details of parentage.

If only one parent has signed the form, they must attach a letter to the registrar explaining why the other parent has not signed.

The registrar must not include information about the identity of a child's parents unless:

  • Both parents make a joint application for the inclusion of information about their identity that can be registered.
  • One parent makes an application about their identity and the other party can't join in the application because:
    • they are dead
    • they cannot be found  
    • of some other reason.
  • One parent makes an application and the registrar is satisfied that the other parent does not dispute the details.
  • A state court orders the inclusion of information about identity or makes a finding that a particular person is a parent of a child.
  • A court or another state or commonwealth court, eg the Family Court of WA orders that the identity of a particular person be included and the registrar considers it appropriate. 
  • The registrar is entitled to make a presumption under any commonwealth or state law as to the identity of a child's parents.

What if the father refuses to pay child support because his name is not on the birth certificate?

See Proving parentage.

What if I want to change the name on a birth certificate?

For changing the first name of a child within the first 12 months of the child's birth see above under the heading I have previously registered the birth and now I want to change the child's first name. Can I?

For a child see Changing a child's name.

If you are an adult, go to the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages website under the heading Change of name. 

What if I have legally changed my gender and want to amend my birth certificate?

Go to the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages website under the heading Gender Reassignment.

What if I am an Aboriginal person or former ward or child migrant who wants to know more about my birth records?

The Department for Child Protection and Family Support (CPFS) provides historical family and personal information to Aboriginal people, former state wards, and British and Maltese child migrants.

A freedom of information request needs to be made to get information. The form needed to apply for information is available on the CPFS website or by calling (08) 6217 6388 or (08) 6217 6381 or 1800 000 277 (free call in WA).

The WA government publication Signposts : A Guide for Children and Young People in Care in WA from 1920 has information to help people find records and other documents related to their time in residential out of home care or who have lived in supported accommodation as a young person. It can be downloaded from the CPFS website.

Where can I get more information?

  • Contact the Department of the Attorney General WA Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages  on 1300 305 021 for frequently asked questions, forms, fees and other information or visit the Perth Registry Office at Level 10, 141 St Georges Terrace Perth 8.30am-4.30pm Monday to Friday (except public holidays).


Last reviewed: 20/11/2015

Last modified:


The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.