How to Get a Portugal Birth Certificate: Essential Guide 2024

Obtaining a Portuguese birth certificate is crucial for identity and benefit access. Simplify your quest for how to get a Portugal birth certificate, whether you’re in Portugal or elsewhere, with our definitive guide.
Ana Fankhauser
January 11, 2024

Obtaining a Portuguese birth certificate is crucial for identity and benefit access. Simplify your quest for how to get a Portugal birth certificate, whether you’re in Portugal or elsewhere, with our definitive guide. We cover the essentials, including application steps, types of certificates, and verification methods, to ensure your efforts culminate in success.

Key Takeaways

  • A Portuguese birth certificate is essential for proving identity, obtaining nationality, accessing social benefits, and carrying out official procedures within Portugal.
  • There are different types of Portuguese birth certificates available, including the original birth certificate, certified copy, and secure digital mobile key, catering to various needs and providing authentic proof of birth.
  • Portuguese birth certificates can be requested online via the Civil Online website or in person through civil registry offices, Citizen Shops, or IRN’s Registry Spaces, with verification processes available to ensure their authenticity.

The Importance of Obtaining a Portuguese Birth Certificate

Portuguese birth certificate

A Portuguese birth certificate does more than record a person’s birth; it can unlock various benefits and services. This document plays a pivotal role in affirming a person’s identity and nationality and is commonly required for gaining social security benefits and conducting official procedures.

Proof of identity and nationality

A birth certificate, in essence, confirms an individual’s existence, serving as an official testament to one’s identity. It is particularly crucial for those seeking Portuguese nationality, especially citizens residing outside Portugal. The document is recognized globally and is frequently used for official functions such as obtaining a tax number (NIF) or applying for nationality.

Access to social security and other benefits

The birth certificate serves as irrefutable proof of birth and verifies the civil status details documented in the birth registry, which are essential elements for qualifying for these benefits.

Moreover, it can facilitate access to healthcare benefits by enabling individuals to obtain a National Health Service (SNS) user number using their access code.

Required for official procedures

The value of a birth certificate goes beyond confirming personal identity and granting access to benefits. In Portugal, it is required for several official procedures, including applying for a passport and registering a marriage.

It is also essential for processes like applying for nationality or obtaining a tax number (NIF), although not necessarily sufficient.

Types of Portuguese Birth Certificates

Portuguese Birth Certificates

To cater to the diverse needs of individuals, the Portuguese government provides various types of birth certificates: the original birth certificate, a certified copy, and a digital mobile key.

We will now explore the unique features of each type.

Original birth certificate

An original birth certificate is the initial official document issued at the time of birth, registering the birth in Portugal. It contains vital information, such as:

  • the individual’s full name
  • parentage
  • date and place of birth
  • fundamental citizenship details

If lost or destroyed, it is recommended to request a replacement through the Civil Online website or at a service desk.

Certified copy

The certified copy of a birth certificate is a certified document that serves as a true and accurate reproduction of the original birth certificate. It holds equal legal standing as the original, providing authentication of the birth record. In some cases, an old certificate might be replaced by a certified copy for various reasons.

You can request a certified copy online through the Civil Online website or in person at civil registry offices or the Citizen Shops.

Digital mobile key

The digital mobile key is a technologically advanced option that:

  • Serves as an electronic replica of the birth certificate
  • Provides a secure and streamlined approach to accessing public or private portals
  • Allows for digitally signing documents

Both Portuguese and foreign citizens are able to request this tool, and its signature is equally valid in the European Union as a written signature.

Steps to Request a Portuguese Birth Certificate Online

man holding a Portuguese birth certificate obtained online

While obtaining a Portuguese birth certificate in person is an option, the convenience of online services cannot be overlooked. Here, we delve into the step-by-step process of requesting a Portuguese birth certificate online, which involves account registration, providing personal information, and choosing payment and delivery options.

Registering for an account

The first step in this online journey is creating an account on the ePortugal website, which entails providing identification details for both the person requesting the registration and the child. Keep in mind that the registration should be completed within 20 days of birth.

Providing personal information

Once the account is set up, it’s time to provide the necessary personal information for the request. This includes:

  • The applicant’s full name
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Names of the parents

Ensuring the accuracy and completeness of all provided information is paramount, as it helps prevent potential obstacles in administrative procedures requiring proof and errors on the certificate.

Payment and delivery options

The final step is to choose your payment and delivery options. After making the payment of €10, the document will be delivered to you via email. The estimated delivery time is approximately one week, but this may vary, and international delivery services are also available for those living abroad.

In-Person Options for Obtaining a Portuguese Birth Certificate

While the convenience of online services is undeniable, sometimes the traditional route of in-person requests is preferred or necessary. The options include civil registry offices, Citizen Shops, and IRN’s Registry Spaces. Each of these offers a unique set of services and procedures.

Civil registry offices

Civil registry offices in Portugal are the traditional institutions for obtaining birth certificates. Here, individuals can request a birth certificate in person, with Portuguese nationals receiving this service free of charge. Remember to bring your identification documents and known data from the birth registry.

Citizen Shops

Citizen Shops serve as comprehensive service centers where individuals can access a range of services, including:

  • birth certificate requests
  • passport applications
  • driver’s license renewals
  • voter registration
  • social security applications

These establishments streamline interactions between citizens and service providers by bringing together multiple public and private entities in one place.

IRN's Registry Spaces

IRN’s Registry Spaces serve as another venue for requesting birth certificates. They offer a wide range of services, including civil identification, civil registration, and more. With a service desk at their disposal, individuals can provide all known details from the birth record for a successful application.

Verifying and Authenticating Your Portuguese Birth Certificate

After obtaining your Portuguese birth certificate, verifying its authenticity and accuracy becomes an important next step before you request nationality. This process includes cross-checking for complete and accurate information and confirming with the national register.

Checking for complete and accurate information

It is crucial to check that the birth certificate includes complete and accurate information, such as:

  • the individual’s full name
  • parentage
  • date and place of birth
  • basic citizenship details

If there are any errors or misspellings, it is advisable to reach out to the Registrar of Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Registered Partnerships.

Confirming with the national register

Confirming with the national register run by the Instituto dos Registos e do Notariado (IRN) is the last step in the verification process. It generally takes about 5 to 10 days to verify the authenticity of the Portuguese birth certificate, and there is no fee associated with this process.

How to Request Additional Documents Related to Birth Certificates

Although a birth certificate is an important document, you may also need other related documents like death and marriage certificates. These documents can be requested in much the same way as a birth certificate and can be crucial for various legal and administrative procedures.

Death certificate

A death certificate, like a birth certificate, is a vital document that provides information about an individual’s death and is often required for legal matters. The process for obtaining a death certificate in Portugal involves requesting it either online or in person, and the fee for this service is $21.19 USD, payable to the Consulate General of Portugal.

Marriage certificate

A marriage certificate is a document attesting to the legal union of a couple and is often necessary for various purposes, such as spousal benefits and immigration.

The process for obtaining a marriage certificate in Portugal involves:

  • Requesting it either online through the Civil Online website
  • In person at civil registry offices or Citizen Shops
  • Through the nearest Portuguese Consulate if you are abroad.

Tips for Non-Portuguese Speakers and Expats

an expert man providing tips to a girl, both non-Portuguese speakers and expats

The process of acquiring a Portuguese birth certificate could appear daunting, more so if you’re not fluent in Portuguese. However, there are resources available to assist with language barriers and provide guidance throughout the process. These include translation services and consulate assistance.

Translation services

Translation services can be invaluable in understanding the process and completing the necessary forms. Certified translators are available in Portugal who specialize in legal documents, and there are also top-rated online services for translating Portuguese to English.

Consulate assistance

Your country’s consulate can also be a valuable resource. They provide assistance with:

  • Birth registration
  • Language barriers
  • Document authentication
  • Notarial services
  • Legal advice

Reaching out to your consulate for guidance and support in obtaining a Portuguese birth certificate is a recommended step.


Obtaining a Portuguese birth certificate, whether online or in person, is a process that requires understanding and preparation. From understanding the importance and types of certificates to navigating the request process, it’s crucial to have accurate information. For non-Portuguese speakers and expats, assistance is available through translation services and consulate assistance. By following this guide, the process of obtaining a Portuguese birth certificate can be a hassle-free and successful endeavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are babies born in Portugal automatically citizens?

Yes, babies born in Portugal automatically become citizens if at least one parent is a Portuguese citizen. This means that having at least one Portuguese parent entitles a child to citizenship at birth.

Can I become a Portuguese citizen if my parents were born in Portugal?

Yes, you can become a Portuguese citizen if your parents were born in Portugal, as long as you meet specific eligibility criteria. This includes being born in Portugal to a Portuguese citizen parent or being born outside of Portugal to a Portuguese citizen parent who was also an employee of the Portuguese State.

How do I register a birth certificate in Portugal?

You can register a birth certificate online in Portugal by authenticating yourself with your digital mobile key, filling out the online birth declaration, attaching the proof of birth, and then submitting the application. This can all be done online through the official website.

What is the significance of a Portuguese birth certificate?

A Portuguese birth certificate is crucial for verifying identity and nationality, as well as for fulfilling administrative requirements.

What are the types of Portuguese birth certificates?

Portuguese birth certificates come in three types: the original, certified copy, and digital mobile key. These options provide flexibility for different needs.

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