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by Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer
Traditionally, babies born here in Jamaica are given their father’s surname. However, for numerous reasons, the father’s name may not have been added on the day of birth when the registration of the baby's name is usually done.
When a baby is born in Jamaica, it automatically adopts the husband's last name. Unmarried couples and children born outside of wedlock, however, are not given the same privilege.
In contrast to some other nations, Jamaica does not require that a father's name appear on a child's birth certificate, so mothers can also choose to leave the father’s name off the birth certificate altogether.
Depending on their circumstances, some may even choose to go the less traditional role of hyphenating both parents last name on the child’s birth certificate or using their own last name instead.
The father must be present to sign the birth certificate when the baby is born to unmarried parents in a hospital. If the father is absent or the child is delivered outside of a hospital, he must go with the mother to the district registrar and sign the birth certificate when it is registered.
For a free addition of the father's information, either both parents must sign the paternity declaration within six weeks of the child's birth. After six weeks, an addition of the father's particulars (STATUS) form must be completed by both parents.
When a child is not registered in the name of the biological father, a court declaration of paternity must be requested for the biological father to be recognised as the child's father based on DNA testing and for the biological father's information to be added to the birth certificate.
The Registrar General Department (RGD) office nearest to the person can provide them with the STATUS form, or they can download it online from the RDG website. In the presence of a justice of the peace, attorney at law, school principal, court clerk, or notary public, both parents must sign the application.
Following that, they must submit the application form to the RDG's services division and any necessary supporting documentation, such as the birth certificate, the father's birth certificate, and valid identification for both parents.
If the application is accurate, an RGD official will check it, and the parents will be instructed to pay the requisite application price of $1500 to receive the certificate in six weeks or the charge of $3500 to receive the certificate in seven to ten working days.
The application will be sent to the appropriate authority for processing after the fee has been paid. The applicant will receive an acknowledgement receipt with application information.
The application file will be processed, and a new birth certificate will be issued with the father's information included.
By submitting an application for Correction of Birth Records to the Registrar General's Department (RGD), you can change the name on your child's birth certificate. The application forms are available online at www.rgd.gov.jm and there is no court involvement in the procedure.
You must explain the error, and you and the father of your child must both sign the statutory declaration in front of a notary public or justice of the peace. After then, a revised birth certificate must be prepared by the RGD and submitted along with the necessary payments and supporting documentation.
This is not merely an Addition of Name application; there must be a strong justification for the change because another man's name was listed on the certificate. In some circumstances, the registrar might ask for a parent interview and a DNA test might be required.
Whatever your particular situation regarding adding a father's name to a birth certificate, the Registrar General Department can provide you with all the information you need.
Between 1955 and 1988 there was a record 46% of birth certificates that were without a father's name. This amounted to one out of every two records made during that time. From 1989 to 2006, the situation improved and the number of records lacking a father's name went down to 35% – or one in three.
After 2007, there was a sharp decrease in the frequency of records missing the father's name. One in five birth records, or 22%, lack the father's name during this latter period.
This decline is attributed to the implementation of bedside registration, the first free birth certificate program, public education, and both. We have seen a minor reduction in the numbers in recent years, and as of 2020, 25% of birth records did not have the father's information entered upon registration.
Efforts are continuously being made to ensure this becomes less of a concern for Jamaican families in the future. I hope the information proves useful to you.
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Adding a father’s name to a birth certificate (2022) News | Jamaica Star. Available at: https://jamaica-star.com/article/news/20220905/adding-father%E2%80%99s-name-birth-certificate#:~:text=Or%2C%20both%20parents%20sign%20the,particulars’%20(STATUS)%20form (Accessed: 18 July 2023).
A call for fathers to step up to the plate (no date) Jamaica Information Service. Available at: https://jis.gov.jm/a-call-for-fathers-to-step-up-to-the-plate/ (Accessed: 18 July 2023).
Ramone. smith (2022) How can I change/add the ‘father’s name’ on my child’s birth certificate?, How can I change/add the ‘Father’s Name’ on my child’s birth certificate? | Supreme Court. Available at: https://supremecourt.gov.jm/content/57-how-can-i-changeadd-fathers-name-my-childs-birth-certificate#:~:text=In%20the%20instance%20where%20a,to%20be%20added%20to%20the (Accessed: 18 July 2023).
Adding a Fathers Name To A Childs Birth Certificate In Jamaica | July 18, 2023