Netherlands Worldwide

Registering a birth in Ethiopia

If your child is born in Ethiopia, you must register the birth there. If you live in the Netherlands, you must also register the foreign birth certificate with the municipality where you live. You can acknowledge parentage of the child in Ethiopia or in the Netherlands.

Registering a birth

If your child is born outside the Netherlands, you must register the birth with the local authorities. Such authorities include the local registrar of births, deaths, and marriages, and the municipality in which you live. After registering the birth, a birth certificate will be issued.

Attention: If you live abroad your child will not automatically receive a BSN. See how to get a BSN.

Rules for registering a birth and choice of name

You can find the Dutch rules for registering a birth and choosing a name for the child on Other rules may apply abroad. For example, there may be different rules concerning the use of surnames or other writing systems (such as Japanese or Arabic).

Does your child have Dutch nationality?

If you are a Dutch national and you have a child with someone who has a different nationality, under the current rules, your child automatically receives Dutch nationality if, on the day of the child’s birth, one of the following conditions are met:

  • The mother of the child is a Dutch national.
  • The father of the child is a Dutch national and is married to or is the registered partner of the mother who does not have Dutch nationality.
  • The father of the child is a Dutch national and – although not married to or the registered partner of the non-Dutch mother – has acknowledged parentage of the child.

If both parents are Dutch nationals, your child automatically receives Dutch nationality at birth.

Dual nationality

In some cases a child may have more than one nationality. To find out if your child has another nationality in addition to Dutch nationality, consult the authorities in the country where you live.

Attention: Children under the age of 18 can also lose their Dutch nationality. Read more about minors and the loss of Dutch nationality.

Registering a foreign birth certificate in the Netherlands

If you live in the Netherlands but your child happened to be born abroad, you must register the foreign birth certificate with the municipality where you live. Do this as soon as possible once you return to the Netherlands. The municipality will then update the Personal Records Database (BRP).

Attention: Sometimes you may need to have a foreign official document legalised first. Legalisation is usually done in the country where the document originates. Find out whether you need to have your document legalised and, if so, how.

Converting a foreign birth certificate into a Dutch birth certificate

If you wish, you can have a foreign birth certificate converted into a Dutch birth certificate by the Foreign Documents Department of the municipality of The Hague.

This is not mandatory but it will make things easier in the future if you or your child ever need an official copy of their birth certificate. An official copy of a birth certificate bears a stamp and the signature of a Registrar of Births, Deaths, Marriages and Registered Partnerships. This will save you or your child having to request one from abroad. Instead, you or your child just request an official copy online from the municipality of The Hague.

Find out how you can have foreign official documents converted into Dutch ones.

Acknowledging parentage of a child while abroad or in The Netherlands

Acknowledging parentage of a child while abroad

The rules for acknowledging a child vary by country. In some countries, you will need to follow certain procedures in order to obtain a deed of acknowledgment. In other countries, if a parent’s name is stated on the birth certificate this automatically means they acknowledge parentage of the child.

A deed of acknowledgment issued abroad is not always legally valid in the Netherlands.

Acknowledging parentage in the Netherlands of a child born abroad

If your child is born abroad you can acknowledge parentage in the Netherlands at any time. So it's not a problem if acknowledging the child abroad is not possible. You can also authorise someone to do this on your behalf in the Netherlands. You can find more information about acknowledging parentage of a child on (in Dutch).

Registering a birth and acknowledging parentage of a child in this country or region

Name sequence Ethiopia

You can request a travel document (passport) for your child with a legalised Ethiopian birth certificate. The Ethiopian birth certificate makes no distinction between a first name and surname like in the Netherlands. This is called a name sequence. The name sequence in its entirety will be used as the surname in the Dutch travel document.  The first names will not be mentioned separately.  The details page of the passport will look as follows:

Surname: the name sequence that is listed on the Ethiopian birth certificate

First name: ---

If you wish to request a travel document with a first name and a surname, you have to request a name choice through Dienst Justis (this is free of charge).

Note: there is a difference between a name change and a name choice. You request a name choice through Dienst Justis.  In contrast to the name change, the name choice is free of charge.  The procedure for such a request is listed on the Dienst Justis website.

What are the requirements?

  1. The applicant completes the name change form and lists at the top of the form that it concerns the name choice of the child (NV).
  2. An original, legalised copy of the foreign birth certificate.
    Dependent on the issuing country you need a legalisation or an apostille. For more information about legalisation, see the document legalisation page.

If the birth certificate is not made up in Dutch, English, French or German, then it needs to be translated to Dutch by a certified translator.

Step 1:
The applicant submits a name choice with Dienst Justis/Royal Decree (KB) using the name change request form.

Send documents to:
Dienst Justis/KB
Postbus 20300
2500 EH Den Haag

Step 2:
The Royal Decree listing the first name and surname is issued following Dutch law. The request will normally take approximately 8 to 10 weeks to be processed.

Step 3:
You send the Royal Decree to the central register (Bureau Landelijke Taken) of the Den Haag municipality for registering the certificate in the Dutch registry.

Registering the certificate will enable you at all times to request a copy quickly via this authority for limited costs.  Additionally, the birth certificate is registered in the central register in the Netherlands.

Send documents via registered post to:

Gemeente Den Haag
Publiekszaken, Afdeling Landelijke Taken
Postbus 12620
2500 DL Den Haag