In an earlier post, we shared about how parents can register the birth of their newborn baby. Previously, this applied only to children of married couples. But what about the children of unmarried couples, or babies whose fathers are not known? Can an unmarried or single mother apply for her child’s birth certificate?
The answer to this question is yes. Thanks to a new law that came into effect in October 2022, a single mother can now register her child’s birth, regardless of her marital status, and whether or not the child’s father is known. In this article, let’s take a look at how to apply for the birth certificate of children with unknown fathers.
Guide to Applying for Birth Certificate of Newborns with Unknown Fathers
Last year, in November 2021, a new family law was issued in the UAE — a law that decriminalised relationships where people lived with a partner outside of marriage, or had children out of wedlock, The National reported.
The law included 20 articles categorised into different chapters that covered civil marriage, divorce, joint custody of children, and inheritance. It must be noted, however, that the law applies only to non-Muslims and Muslims from countries that do not apply Sharia Law, like the United Kingdom and United States, for example.
Also in 2021, Abu Dhabi passed a law that allowed an unmarried couple to register their newborn baby if the father was known. To get the child’s birth certificate, parents need to sign a declaration of parentage and get a court order through the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department.
The process involves downloading an application form from the department’s website, then completing and signing the form. By signing the declaration at the end of the form, the parents are confirming that they are the child’s biological parents.
The form is then submitted to the department, together with a copy of the father’s passport and Emirates ID. The birth notification should also be attached. If the baby was born at home, the parents must indicate “home birth” in the application form.
Unmarried Mothers Can Register Their Newborns
Recently, in October 2022, a new law was passed, allowing an unmarried mother to register her child’s birth — even if the father is unknown. The process involves filling out a specific form. The mother also needs to prove the birth, as well as declare that the child’s father is not known.
The new law was issued by the President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, under Decree Number 10-2022, which regulates the registry of births and deaths in the UAE.
Notably, the law marks the first time that an Arab country recognises the right of unmarried and single mothers to register their newborn children. Ultimately, it looks at the best interests of the child, regardless of the status of his/her parents. Without a birth certificate, the child would not be able to receive healthcare or go to school.
To apply for the birth certificate of a newborn with an unknown father, the mother needs to prepare the following:
- Application Form;
- Birth Notification; and
- Copy of Mother’s Emirates ID or Passport.
Steps to Getting Birth Certificate of Newborns with Unknown Fathers
Here is a step-by-step guide for mothers who want to apply for the birth certificate of their children with unknown fathers:
- Download the application form through the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department website using this link.
- On the first page, the mother’s details must be entered: full name, Emirates ID or passport number, nationality, phone number, email, and address. The child’s details should also be entered, such as his/her full name, gender, date of birth, place of birth, and name of hospital. There is also a box for “birth at home,” if this applies.
- On the second page, the mother needs to indicate her reason(s) for making the application. She also needs to sign the Declaration of Parentage, thus confirming that she is the biological mother of the child, and that the father is unknown.
- Attach the required documents, namely Birth Notification and a copy of the mother’s Emirates ID or Passport.
- Submit the form and supporting documents at any typing center, or email them to this address: email@example.com.
That’s it! Within two days or 48 hours, the mother shall receive a court order, allowing her to obtain a birth certificate for her newborn baby. As you can see, the process is pretty much straightforward… and fast, too.
Infographic: Application Form
To give you a better idea, here is an infographic showing the application form for issuance of birth certificates — for children with unknown fathers.
Implementation of the New Rule
The new rule allowing the registration of birth certificates for children born out of wedlock was introduced by Abu Dhabi in 2021, while the rule allowing the registration of children with unknown fathers was issued in October 2022.
Although these rules were first introduced in Abu Dhabi, today they are now enforced across the UAE. Nevertheless, the specific courts in other emirates that can issue these orders have not been revealed yet.
Moreover, it must be reiterated that the new family law mentioned earlier — the law that decriminalises living together outside of marriage, having children out of wedlock, regulating civil marriage, divorce, joint custody of children, etc. — applies to all non-Muslims and Muslims whose home countries do not apply the Sharia Law. It does not apply to Muslims from the GCC, Arab nations, and other countries where the Sharia Law is followed.
The introduction of the new family law, and the laws allowing the birth registration of children of unmarried couples and those with unknown fathers — is a huge milestone, indeed. These laws are indicators of the UAE being a progressive country that recognises the rights of expats, as well as non-residents and tourists, too. In this kind of diverse environment, it is not surprising that more and more people are deciding to come and work — or do business — in the country.
DISCLAIMER: The above guide is presented for general, information-sharing purposes only. To know more about how to apply for the birth certificate of newborns with unknown fathers, please visit the official website of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department.
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