Legal documents for your baby

Declaration of Birth

The Civil Code of Québec requires the birth of any child born in Québec to be declared to the Directeur de l'état civil. You must declare your newborn's birth within 30 days of the delivery using the Declaration of Birth form.

Under the law and unless otherwise indicated, the term parents includes couples of the same or opposite sex, reflecting changes introduced by the Act instituting civil unions and establishing new rules of filiation.

Make sure that your child's Declaration of Birth is forwarded to the Directeur de l'état civil on time. If it is received more than thirty days after your child's date of birth, you may have to pay a $50 fine. After one year, the fine is $100.

Steps involved in declaring a birth

1. Attestation of birth

  • The person assisting in the birth (accoucheur) completes the Attestation of Birth form;
  • He/she gives you a copy with the Declaration of Birth form;
  • The hospital staff forwards the Attestation of Birth to the Directeur de l'état civil.

2. Declaration of birth

If you are married or in a civil union with one another:

  • If you are the child's biological mother or other parent, you can complete and sign the Declaration of Birth form alone.
  • A witness (person of full age other than the parents or accoucheur) must sign the Declaration of Birth.
  • It is preferable to give the completed and signed Declaration of Birth to the hospital staff, who will forward it with the Attestation of Birth to the Directeur de l'état civil.

If you are not married or in a civil union with one another:

  • Both the child's biological mother and other parent must complete and sign the Declaration of Birth form.
  • A witness (person of full age other than the parents or accoucheur) must sign the Declaration of Birth.
  • It is preferable to give the completed and signed Declaration of Birth to the hospital staff, who will forward it with the Attestation of Birth to the Directeur de l'état civil.

3. Confirmation of your child's registration in Québec's register of civil status

The Directeur de l'état civil sends the parents a letter confirming that their child's birth has been registered in Québec's register of civil status.

Check to make sure the information appearing on this notice corresponds to the Declaration of Birth and immediately inform the Directeur de l'état civil of any error.

You must wait to receive this letter before ordering a birth certificate or any other civil status document in your child's name.

4. Official documents

The Declaration of Birth is mandatory if you want to obtain a passport, a visa or have your child baptised. If you want a Birth Certificate or a copy of the Act of Birth, you must fill out a Request for a certificate or the copy of an Act.

The larger size Birth Certificate holds information like: age, sex, date and time of birth, place of birth, inscription number, issue date as well as the mother’s and father’s names. This document is required when registering your child to school, daycare or any other governmental plan, to get a social insurance number or a driver’s licence, etc… It is also required by Passport Canada when getting a passport for a minor ($15 per certificate).

The concise Birth Certificate holds the same information as the larger one except for the parents’ names. The concise Certificate is not accepted when registering your child to school, daycare or any other governmental plan, to get a social insurance number or a driver’s licence, etc…  It is not accepted by Passport Canada when getting a passport for a minor ($15 per certificate).

The Act of Birth copy holds exactly the same content as the original Act. An Act of Birth copy is necessary for Canadian Citizenship applications, work visas and travelling visas. Embassies and consulates also demand a copy of the Act of Birth ($20 per copy).

  • The child's surname must be composed of his/her parents' names and may be either single or compound. It cannot have more than two components.
  • A surname cannot have numbers or initials.
  • If both parents have single surnames, the child may be given one or both names, preferably joined by a hyphen.
  • If both parents have compoud surnames, you may give the child a single name taken from one component of these surnames. If you want to give the child a compound name, you must make a choice, because the child's surname can be composed of only two parts, preferably joined by a hyphen.If the mother or the father is the child’s only known filiation, then the child’s surname must be the one of the parent on the Birth Declaration document.
  • If only one filiation (maternal or paternal) of a child is established, he/she will bear all or part of the surname of the parent whose filiation is declared in the Declaration of Birth.

In 1981, when a law from the Réforme québécoise du droit de la famille was voted and accepted, only 1% of the population had compound surnames. By the mid 1990’s, 20% of children born in Quebec and registered into the Quebec’s register of civil status had compound surnames. In 1997, the wind turned, and the percentage has since dropped and is now stable at around 8%. (Source: La Presse, April 24th 2006)

Child's given name(s)

First, determine the usual given name. In addition to being indicated on the act of birth, your child will use this name on a daily basis to introduce himself/herself and establish his/her identity. In addition to the usual given name, you can give other given names to your child. However, it is recommended that you limit the number to four (4).

  • If one of the given names is a compound name, the two components may be joined by a hyphen.
  • The spelling of the given names entered in Québec's register of civil status accurately reproduces the spelling you used when you completed the Declaration of Birth.
  • It is important to indicate all of the given names you wish to give your child, especially if the child is baptised later, as the Declaration of Birth constitutes the civil act.

If you are looking for first name ideas, go to our baby names section.

Québec health insurance card

Registering your child's birth in Québec's register of civil status will allow you to receive your child's first health insurance card following verification of his/her eligibility for the health insurance plan.

For more information on the Québec health insurance card, visit the website: Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec

Social Insurance Number

The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is not mandatory for children, but it will be at one point in their lives. However, if you wish to contribute to a Registered Educations Savings Plans (RESPs), a social security number is required. You must also have a valid and official Birth Certificate. These documents must be originals and written either in French or English. Parents requesting these documents for their children must also show their own Birth Certificates. Your documents will be returned to you with your Social Security Card. There are no fees when asking for a Social Insurance Number the first time. A $10 fee will be required for a substitute card.


Since December 11th 2001, children who travel need their own passport. This law has been established to prevent the illegal trafficking of millions of children around the world for slavery, prostitution and worse. A separate application form must be filled out for each child, including newborns.

Only one of the parents, the custodial parent in case of a divorce or the child’s legal guardian can make a demand for a passport for a child under 18 years of age.


  • Fill out and sign the official application form. You can download it and fill it out online or get it at Canada Post or Passport Canada.
  • Have two identical passport photos of the child. See the photo specifications on the website.
  • Have your application form and the pictures signed by a guarantor. The authorised guarantor list is available on the website.
  • Prove your Canadian Citizenship with a Canadian citizenship certificate or with a Birth Certificate.
  • Provide previous passports or all travelling documents from the last five years.
  • Have a photo identification to prove your identity, such as your health insurance card.
  • If you provide original documents, they will be sent back to you with your passport. If you make photocopies of your original documents, they must be certified and signed by the receiver to prove that he has seen the original documents.


Fees may vary depending on the type of application demand, the demanding person’s age and extra services required. Passport fees vary from $22 to $37 depending on the child’s age.

In case of separation or divorce

Where a court order or agreement exists referring to custody of the child, only the person with custodial rights may apply. All documents that refer to custody or mobility of, or access to, the child must be provided. If a divorce has been granted, a copy of the divorce judgement or order must also be provided. Where joint custody provisions exist, either parent may apply.

Consent letter for children travelling abroad

It is strongly recommended that children travelling abroad carry a consent letter from every person with the legal right to make major decisions on their behalf, if that person is not accompanying the children on the trip. For example, children travelling alone, with groups, or with only one of their custodial parents should travel with a consent letter.


To make sure that a child’s passport and photo represent him/her properly, the validity period of the document varies according to the child’s age. For children under the age of 3, the passport is valid for three years only. For children 3 to 15 years old, it is valid for 5 years. Only children 11 years old or older must sign their passport.

Processing times

If you go directly to a Passport Canada office, you will have your passport within 2 weeks. If you send your demand through the mail, it will take around 20 business days for your demand to be processed.


Always check the expiration date on your passport to make sure it doesn’t expire while you are out of the country. Make photocopies of the identification page of your passport and give it to a relative or someone trustworthy who is staying in Canada during your absence. Also keep a copy with you and put it somewhere other than where you keep your passport.

Source: Directeur de l’état civil du Québec

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