Getting your baby’s birth certificate

Getting a birth certificate in Kenya can be confusing and time consuming. We had Claire in the UK, and we had her birth certificate in hand before we were discharged from the hospital! It was not that easy with Heidi – the registration of birth in Kenya is a complicated, bureaucratic process.  Here’s how it worked for us…

If you give birth in a hospital, the standard procedure is for the hospital to notify the Kenyan government of your baby’s birth by sending a hospital birth notice to the registrar of your area City Hall. The hospital should provide you with a stub from the birth notification form before you’re discharged.  DO NOT LOSE THIS STUB!

Once City Hall has processed the notification of birth, they will send your baby’s birth records to the Birth Registry, which is located in Bishop’s House in Upper Hill, opposite the NSSF building on Bishop’s Road. This will generally take 4 weeks or more. So about one month after your baby is born, you can go to Bishop’s House, present the birth notification stub you received at the hospital, and hopefully you will be presented with your baby’s birth certificate.

Before you leave Bishop’s House you should THOROUGHLY check the birth certificate for accuracy. Misspellings and typos are common, and correcting them after you’ve left the office is complicated. If you find any errors or misspellings, notify the agent immediately so they can re-issue the birth certificate.

We didn’t want to wait a full month for the birth certificate, so we decided that Jesse would bring the birth notice to City Hall himself. (Incidentally, this is the same procedure you would follow if you had a home birth.) Following this process, Jesse was able to get the birth certificate in ONE DAY. Of course, it required quite a lot of waiting, some cajoling and little sweet-talking (no bribes!), but he got it done.

We informed the hospital that we wanted to bring the notice ourselves prior to discharge, since it required a letter and some additional signatures. Jesse took the birth notice to the third floor at City Hall, downtown on Mama Ngina Street. He was given the birth records to bring to the Birth Registry at Bishop’s House. He presented the documents, waited (and waited and waited) for someone to type up the birth certificate, checked the details for errors, and was on his way. I won’t say it was easy, but thankfully it was a lot quicker than waiting a full month! If you aren’t in a rush, you can just let the hospital transfer the documents for you, to save yourself some hassle.

Getting your baby’s birth certificate in Kenya can be a complicated, time consuming bureaucratic process.  Knowing how it should work before you get started can make it go a bit smoother. Hope this helps!

PS – Find other mums’ birth certificate guidelines here and here!

PPS – Just adding a note for readers who find this page via Google search. I am not an immigration offical, and unfortunately I cannot help you trace birth notices, locate birth certificate numbers for deceased family members, or in any other way assist with queries regarding birth certificate processing. This is simply a blog post about my own experience getting a birth certificate for our daughter. I hope it helps! 🙂

(Image via Katelyn Kenderdine / Flickr)

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34 Responses to Getting your baby’s birth certificate

  1. Marie says:

    Good to Know… Did you give birth in AK? Did you inform them while entering hospital or?
    We need to travel a few days after delivery…

    • MamaMgeni says:

      Hi Marie, yes we had Heidi at Aga Khan. We informed them the morning we were to be discharged that we wanted to deliver the birth notice to City Hall ourselves. My husband had to chase down a couple of signatures to get permission, so the earlier you start, the better. Good luck!

  2. Pingback: How to: Getting a Kenyan passport for your child | Mama Mgeni

  3. Haile says:

    This is very helpful.Thank u very much.i didn’t know that someone should wait till one month after discharging from the hospital.infact i was planning to go to bishop house after one week.

    • Mama Mgeni says:

      I’m so glad you found it helpful! Good luck to you, and congrats on the new arrival! 🙂

  4. Tineke says:

    dear. What if it s other way around ? Delivering abroad. Mama foreign. Daddy Kenyan. But we are married under Kenyan law. Any advice on that ? Thank you !

    • Mama Mgeni says:

      Hi Tineke! Our first baby was born in the UK, so we’ve done that process as well. First step is to get an official stamped copy of your baby’s birth certificate, because you have to surrender the certificate to get a Kenyan birth certificate! (We surrendered the copy.) I will have to check with my husband what office we brought it to, but I will let you know!

    • Mama Mgeni says:

      Are you still living in the UK, or are you back in Kenya? The process is slightly different, depending on where you are now… 🙂

      • patrick muchera says:

        My wife delivered a baby on 16th Dec 2015 but they did not issue a notification to her since then up to date and i need it to represet at my company for perternal leave what can i do, please help

  5. Grace Mugure says:

    What!! Ill make sure i go to bishop’s house this week. My daughter is 11 month and no birth certificte yet,thank yu so much for the information.

    • Mama Mgeni says:

      Good luck, Grace! You never know with these things, but I find that a bit of persistence (and insistence!) helps…

  6. Anne-Marie says:

    Thanks! Is the hospital stub all they require at Bishops hse? I hope my baby’s birth certificate is ready 5 months later.

    • Mama Mgeni says:

      Yes, just the stub and a small processing fee. I forget what the fee was – something like 50 KSH. Five months – wow! Good luck!

      • Anne-Marie says:

        Thanks! I’ve procrastinated in the name of bonding with my son.:-)…been dreading that office too lol.

        • Mama Mgeni says:

          Haha, that’s well-justified! I feared it was somehow held up at Bishop’s house for that long!

  7. Julie says:

    I have had a bad experience with the process. It has been a year since our lovely daughter was born and no certificate yet. I went to Bishop’s House a month after she was born and they told me to visit City Hall to get some number or serial number, and on arriving there I was informed the hospital where she was born had not submitted the notification. After like 3 months I went to both offices and the story remain the same including the application being lost. I am almost giving up. Any advise?

    • Mama Mgeni says:

      That’s terrible! Maybe check with the hospital about the birth notice? Maybe they can issue a duplicate? Do you still have the stub from the birth notice they gave you at the hospital? Good luck!

      • Julie says:

        Yes, I do have the stub. I think the problem is City Hall, but I will protest and I hope to get the vital document ASAP. Thanks. Great work

  8. Anne-Marie says:

    Oh my this birth certificate issue. the way I hope at no time does one need to present the baby at Bishops house..I trust it’s just the document. .great blog Mamamgeni.:-)

    • Mama Mgeni says:

      We never had to bring our children. I hope that hasn’t changed! 🙂

  9. Chris rimmer says:

    Thank goodness I came across this guide. My wife gave birth to our son in early Dec and we were desperate to go back to the UK ASAP as her Mum was quite ill. I searched around and came across this article and followed the ‘do it yourself’ instructions and had a birth certificate after 48hrs. I’d add some useful tips if I can; once given the birth notification (green and pink carbon copy slips) by the midwife head to the Medical Records dept in the hospital (at least this is how it worked in the AK) and explain you want to do it yourself and why you need to do it quickly, they will give you a supporting letter. Take all that to city hall (Room 325) and get a receipt, take that to the cash office, pay and take the invoice back to Rm 325. They will keep the birth notification and give you a stamped and signed photocopy, which you take to Bishops House. At Bishops House find someone who looks important, explain your need for a quick turn around and hope for the best – I was in and out of Bishop house in thirty minutes, and no unofficial money changed hands. At each stage of the process get forms photocopied and get at least two copies, take a pen with you and plead your case. Good luck

    • Mama Mgeni says:

      Thanks for the excellent tips, and I’m so glad you got your documents quickly! And congrats on your new baby… 😊

  10. prarthana kanabar says:

    It looks likea preety complicated thing I have my due in jan and need to travel for my brothers wedding I hope I can manage to get the birth certificate soon, and what about the passport? How long does it take any idea?

    • Mama Mgeni says:

      Click here for my post about getting passports for our kids. We did it last year, and the process has changed since then. As I understand it, you can now fill out the application form online. Good luck!

  11. Anne-Marie says:

    Hi I was dreading the whole process but was able to have my son’s birth certificate in just about two weeks. All you need is the original stub and a copy since you’ll leave that with them. Also ensure that you have copies of identity documents of the parents. I went to Huduma centre near Bishops House.

  12. Anne-Marie says:

    I’m also wondering about how to obtain a passport..does one still have to go to the Immigration Offices at Nyayo house or can the officials at Huduma assist?

  13. honey mgeni says:

    i gave in 2003 in coast general hospital in mombasa kenya i was given the notification but i dont know how i lost it now that i want to apply my daughter’s birth certficate what steps can i follow ?

    • Mama Mgeni says:

      So sorry, but I’ve got no experience with that! Best to check with the relevant authorities. Good luck!

  14. David kabiro says:

    hi my child was born outside nairobi can i obtain his birth certificate at bishop house his now 6yrs

    • Mama Mgeni says:

      Please read the post and the comments! I am not a Kenyan civil servant. I have written about my own experience getting my child’s birth certificate. I cannot advise you on your case.

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