If your child is born in Japan, you must register the birth in Japan. If you live in the Netherlands, you must also register the birth in the Netherlands. You can acknowledge parentage of the child in either country.
Registering a birth
You must always register the birth of your child in the country where they were born. How you register a birth varies by country. If you live in the Netherlands and your child was born abroad, you must also register the birth in the Netherlands.
If your child is born in Japan, you must register the birth there. You declare birth within 14 days at the Japanese municipal office in the municipality where you live. In Tokyo, this is the ward office (kuyakusho 区役所). You can also contact this office for questions about birth registration.
Have birth certificate prepared at Tokyo embassy
You can have a birth certificate prepared at the Dutch embassy in Tokyo. This is not mandatory and is not always recommended. This deed cannot be registered in the Netherlands and in the future will only be available for request at the embassy itself.
It is recommended to do so in the following situations:
- One of the parents is Japanese and you want to give the child the Dutch surname for Dutch law purposes. This is because under Japanese law, only the surname of the Japanese parent can be included in the Japanese birth certificate.
- One of the parents is Japanese and you want to give the child a second first name for Dutch law purposes only.
In the case of 2 Dutch parents, it is not necessary to register the birth at the embassy. It is recommended to follow the procedures to register the Japanese deed in The Hague. See the following paragraphs on how this is done.
- The birth declaration at the embassy must be done within 14 days and before the Japanese birth declaration.
- The child's father and/or mother must visit the Dutch embassy in Tokyo. Make an appointment for this via e-mail.
- The original passports of both parents.
- The original Japanese hospital statement (shussho shomeisho 出生証明書), provided with a sworn translation.
- Parents' marriage certificate, not older than 6 months (translated and legalised if not Dutch. If Japanese document: the family register of the Japanese partner (koseki tohon 戸籍謄本), provided with a Japanese apostille and a certified translation).
After the above procedures, your child will have 2 different names, namely the Dutch one under Dutch law, and the Japanese one under Japanese law. You as a parent are responsible for any problems that may arise as a result.
To clarify the correlation between the 2 surnames, the Dutch surname can be included in brackets in the Japanese passport. The Dutch passport can generally serve as proof for this purpose. For more information, contact the authority where you will apply for the Japanese passport.
Deed of name selection
Within 2 years of birth, you can have a deed of name choice drawn up at a registrar of births, deaths and marriages in the Netherlands. A copy of this is needed as proof of the chosen surname for the (next) Dutch passport application. For questions about this procedure, please contact the municipality where you wish to have the deed drawn up. This deed cannot be drawn up at the Dutch embassy.
In a deed of name selection, only the surname is chosen and not a second first name.
Do you live outside the Netherlands?
If you live outside the Netherlands, you can have the Japanese birth certificate converted into a Dutch birth certificate at the municipality of The Hague’s Foreign Documents Department. This is not mandatory, but it can be useful if you ever need an extract from the birth certificate in the future. Having the document converted does not take care of your child’s registration in the Non residents Records Database (RNI).
You can register a Japanese birth certificate in the civil registry registers of the municipality of The Hague. This is not compulsory and does not have to be done within a certain period of time. However, you are advised to do so; an excerpt of your child's birth certificate can easily be retrieved online from registration this way.
To register the birth certificate, you can use your Japanese partner's family register (koseki tohon 戸籍謄本) which contains the details of the child to be registered. However, it must have a Japanese apostille and a translation by a sworn translator before registration.
Do you live in the Netherlands?
If you live in the Netherlands, you must also register the birth with the municipality where you live, using the foreign birth certificate. Do this as soon as possible once you return to the Netherlands. The municipality will then process your and your child’s details in the Personal Records Database (BRP).
Acknowledging parentage of a child
You can acknowledge parentage of your child if you are not automatically the legal parent. By doing so you declare that you are the child’s parent.
It is possible to acknowledge a child in Japan.
If the parents are not married, the Dutch father can acknowledge the child. A recognition that automatically gives the child Dutch nationality is possible before birth until 6 years after birth. You can have a recognition certificate drawn up at the Japanese authorities.
If you recognise a child in Japan before birth, the child will have both Dutch and Japanese nationality. If you recognise a child in Japan after birth, this could potentially lead to problems with the child's Japanese nationality.
If you live in the Netherlands or if you are Dutch and live abroad, you can always acknowledge parentage in the Netherlands of your child born in Japan. You can do this at the municipality or a notary. You can also authorise someone to do this in the Netherlands on your behalf. To do this, you must get a notary to draw up a power of attorney. You cannot acknowledge parentage of your child at a Dutch embassy or consulate-general.
Acknowledging parentage does not automatically grant you parental responsibility for your child. Find out more about acknowledging parentage in the Netherlands on Government.nl.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.