Registering the Child's Birth

Understand the procedure to register the birth of your newborn in Portugal. Also information on the regulations regarding names...

Any child born on Portuguese territory has to be registered within 20 days of birth at the Civil Registry Office (Conservatória do Registo Civil); this also applies when the parents are not Portuguese.

A government programme, Nascer Cidadão (Born Citizen), has been put in place allowing parents to register the newborn directly at the service desk of the hospital, health facility or maternity clinic (although this is not possible everywhere). Registration is free.

The following documents are required to register the child:

  • Parents' identification documents (National ID cards for EU citizens, Residency card and Passport for third-party nationals
  • The birth certificate issued by the hospital or maternity where the birth took place

The following people are authorised to register the birth:

  • The parents
  • Parents' legal representative (legally empowered)
  • A close relative
  • The director (or any appointed administrative staff member) of the place of birth

Paternity in Portugal is established, unless otherwise stated, through marriage. This means that if the parents are married, either one may register the child. When the parents are not married, both need to go to the Registry Office so that the father's name can be added to the birth certificate.

Names

As soon as a baby's birth is registered it has a legally binding name. Under Portuguese law, the complete name may not exceed six individual names (a composite of a maximum of two first names and four surnames).

First names

If both parents are Portuguese, the names must be on the approved list of names and have to respect Portuguese spelling and phonetics. The name given must give no doubt as to the gender of the child.

If one of the parents is not Portuguese, the baby may be given a non-Portuguese first name, provided the parent can prove that the name is authorised in their country of nationality (a certified document issued by the country's authorities may be required to demonstrate this).

When neither parent is Portuguese, the name of the child does not have to comply with these rules. Any name will be accepted provided that it has been duly recognised by the authorities of a parent's country of origin.

Surnames

Surnames are chosen from the surnames of the parents or from other surnames in the family (such as grandmother's surname) provided the parents prove that the surname exists in the family.