We all know that living in the UAE brings with it a gauntlet of paperwork, and of course having a baby is no exception! With all the other things that need planning with baby’s arrival, it can be easy to overlook some of the legal steps – but you need to pay attention or risk potential fines or even worse, not be allowed to leave the country if you don’t get these things organised!
Here we answer all those tricky questions that mums have; from registering a birth through to taking your baby abroad for the first time.
Documents you need for registering the birth
The first thing you’ll need to travel overseas with your baby is their new passport! Assuming you are registering your baby as a British citizen, here are the documents and steps you need to follow first:
1) Birth Notification
2) Birth Certificate
3) Lots of passport photos (in the right size!)
Birth Notification (“Notification of Birth Certificate”)
This is the notice you will get from the hospital in order to officially register your child’s birth. The hospital uses your admission information to officially register your birth online with the Health Authority, who then return a document to the hospital within 24-48 hours which is then issued to you on discharge. This document is in Arabic and there’s no charge for this.
The Official Birth Certificate
You have 30 days after your child’s birth to obtain your child’s official birth certificate in Arabic & English. The documents you will need are:
The original and a copy of your (both parents’ passports) along with your residence permits.
A copy of your attested marriage certificate (an absolute MUST or you are breaking the UAE law)
Notification of the Birth Certificate and the discharge summary from the hospital of the mother and child.
Here are the steps to get an Arabic & English Birth Certificate
Go to the Birth Certificate Office at the Preventive Medicine Department at Al Baraha Hospital (also known as Kuwaiti Hospital)
Complete the application form and provide the supporting documents above along with the child’s name and write VERY clearly!
Pay for and collect your Arabic certificate which is 50 AED.
Take it to the typing centre (within the hospital) for your English version(s) – and it’s definitely worth getting more than one! (The typing fee is 15 AED and each English certificate is 50 AED).
Take both the Arabic & English versions to the Ministry of Health counter within the hospital to be attested (this costs 50 AED).
Take the Arabic & English versions to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be attested – a list of locations can be found here (this costs 150 AED).
NB: Some public hospitals such as Dubai Hospital, Rashid Hospital and Latifa Hospital (formerly Al Wasl Hospital) have a counter which will issue the Arabic birth certificate. The only place at present you can get an original English copy is from Al Baraha Hospital.
How do I apply for my baby’s first British passport?
With your freshly attested English birth certificate in hand, you can now apply for your child’s first British Passport!
Follow our step by step process by clicking the link here:
Do I need to register my child’s birth with the UK authorities?
No, it is not a legal requirement to register your child’s birth in the UK. You can apply for a child’s British Passport with only the attested English translation of the birth certificate.
Some parents do choose however, to have the child’s birth recorded with the General Register Office (or National Records Office for Scotland) so that they can have a British Birth Certificate as well. The cost to do this is £150 and additional copies are £50 each and you can follow the steps here:
Obtaining the UAE Residency Visa and Emirates ID
So now you have the legal documents to travel, what about your legal status in the UAE?
If you need to travel fairly urgently, the residency stage of the process can take place down the track if need be, but this comes at a cost. If time permits, try to arrange your Residency Visa before travel and make sure you apply within 120 days after your child’s birth. After this point if your child does not have a visa you will be fined 100 AED for every day over the 120 days and will not be able to leave the country.
If you do leave the country without a visa within the 120 days, however, you will need to get an exit stampfrom Immigration but you cannot leave the country while a Residency Visa is in progress.
For a full guide on how to apply for your Residency Visa, please refer to the UAE Government website here. A child will also be issued with an Emirates ID card and also a medical health card from your insurer.
How can I get an exit stamp?
If you are leaving the country BEFORE your residency visa, you can go to the Immigration Department in Jafiliya or Immigration at Dubai International Airport Terminal 3. Our mums recommend doing this in advance in case there are any paperwork problems you don’t want to miss your flight! To do this, you will need:
Passports for the sponsor, spouse and child
Apply no more than a week in advance though as the stamp is only valid for 7 days and the person applying must be the sponsor. (The cost for this is 200 AED).
If you find all this too complicated or you still need help, there are agencies you can hire to help out with various stages of the registration and visa process. Medi Express and Baby Steps Dubai are two that come recommended by our community.
This will cost you more than the DIY method but if you loathe dealing with paperwork – or naturally find the time to deal with all this and a newborn too much, using these services could be a worthwhile investment. Costs including help obtaining a one year residents visa start from 1,750 AED upwards or yours or your husband’s employer and PRO services may also assist you with the Residency Visa and Emirates ID process).
Booking babies first flight (at last we’re on to the flying bit!)
You can book an infant ticket for your baby ahead of time and before they are born, as long as they will be travelling on your lap and don’t require their own seat. You can always update your baby’s name and date of birth with the airline after birth. However, if you want your baby to have their own seat though (eg if you want to take them in an airline approved infant carrier), you will need their name and date of birth to book the ticket.
If you’re flying long-haul, try to book a bulkhead or “bassinet seat”. Note there is no guarantee on getting the bulkhead seat even if you have requested one in advance. They are only allocated these seats at the airport, but the good news is that they normally prioritise these requests and some airlines like British Airways, offer a choice on board for whether you need a bassinet cot or seat for baby if they’re a little older.
If only one parent is travelling with the child, and particularly if the surnames are different, you may want to organise a No Objection Certificate. This is the non-travelling spouse agreeing that their child has permission to travel without them. To be prudent, also travel with the child’s original birth certificate and your marriage certificate to avoid any potential queries.
So now you have all your documents, all there’s left to do is to prepare for that first flight and enjoy showing off your gorgeous new baby!
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(Information and pricing correct at the time of writing).