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Old 18.05.2010, 11:22
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Which documents for birth certificate for UK baby born in Bern?

Hi

I've read the other threads on which documents are needed to get a birth certificate for a baby born to British parents in Switzerland but most deal with the situation in Zurich and it seems that different cantons have different rules. Does anyone have experience in Bern? I tried calling the registration office here but they can't speak English or much French and the British embassy was, as ever, completely useless. I am married and have my husband's surname. Does anyone know if we must get new versions of our birth and marriage certificates issued (so they will be less than 6 months old)? And must they be translated into German? One possible complication is that we were married in Tanzania and have a Tanzanian marriage certificate (it is recognized by the UK and is written in English and Swahili) so wouldn't be easy to get a new marriage certificate issued by them.

Baby is due next week!

many thanks for any help!

Jane
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Old 18.05.2010, 11:46
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Re: Which documents for birth certificate for UK baby born in Bern?

I've prepared with new versions (< 6 months old) of birth and marriage certificates. As for translating them into German, we have bothered because it was cheap to do at the time but I would not bother if already in Switzerland as it is so expensive and if required it can be done quickly. Don't bother with getting the documents 'officially translated' (thats a bunch of sales crap by the translators), the only official document recognized are those documents apostilled but that costs and requires being done by the country that issued the document (marriage / Birth certificates) and.. is not required.

So, again, just fresh birth certificates of the parents, if not Swiss, and marriage certificate, if not married in Switzerland. If more is required, then that's bad luck and I suggest you try registering the birth a day later with someone else at the office because it does seem to be at the whim of the person on the other side of the counter. Like much things official in Switzerland, it is the 1st line staff that can make your life heaven or hell

CK
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Old 18.05.2010, 11:57
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Re: Which documents for birth certificate for UK baby born in Bern?

Hi CK
Thanks for the prompt response!
Did you actually register the birth in Bern yet - you said you'd 'prepared' - and did you indeed need the new versions of the certificates?
It will be pretty diffficult - maybe impossible - for us to get a new version of our marriage certificate from Tanzania...

Jane
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Old 18.05.2010, 12:02
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Re: Which documents for birth certificate for UK baby born in Bern?

If you are in Basel, why are you registering the child in Bern?

We've had three children here and used original documentation for all registrations (UK documentation for birth and marriage certificates, including, in my case, an overseas birth certificate). No translations needed.

Or has something changed since our last child was born 2 years ago?

Likewise, registration of said births at the British Consulate was painless (exorbitant fees aside!). Copies of passport, birth certificates, and marriage certificate, along with Swiss international birth certificate of child. All done by post.
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Old 18.05.2010, 12:05
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Re: Which documents for birth certificate for UK baby born in Bern?

I live in Bern - need to update my profile!
Hopefully they'll accept the originals then...I'm just a bit concerned because we'd like to get the certificate quickly so that we can also get a passport for the baby quickly.
Do you think it's worth registering the birth with the British consulate? What's the advantage? Fees are quite steep aren't they?
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Old 18.05.2010, 12:06
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Re: Which documents for birth certificate for UK baby born in Bern?

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Did you actually register the birth in Bern yet - you said you'd 'prepared'
Jane
Give us a week or so. someone is taking there time. So, no, I don't know what will be requested of us yet but.. we are prepared. We had the marriage registered with the Swiss embassy as soon as the local marriage certificate was issued. Sorry to tell you your sucking a lemon but official paper registrations and such need to be sorted straight away when you get a hold of them. Else... well.

Perhaps an alternative, if the registry office doesn't accept the marriage certificate, is to register the birth in the UK and then have that birth certificate registered with Switzerland. I presume one or the other of you is Swiss and that is why the birth is being registered here.

CK
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Old 18.05.2010, 12:09
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Re: Which documents for birth certificate for UK baby born in Bern?

nope - we're both British! so not sure that we can register our marriage certificate with the Swiss embassy? we were married 2 years ago.
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Old 18.05.2010, 12:10
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Re: Which documents for birth certificate for UK baby born in Bern?

>Do you think it's worth registering the birth with the British consulate?

Yes.

>What's the advantage?

I find it funny that you are asking this question considering the concern about problems registering your marriage in Switzerland.

CK
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Old 18.05.2010, 12:13
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Re: Which documents for birth certificate for UK baby born in Bern?

Here you go, you want a consular birth registration:
http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-...tering-a-birth

Hmm that link says you still need a birth certificate from the country that the child is born! Argh. Suggest you give your Embassy a call, as noted in the link. Woo look at those prices!

Of course, your child won't be a Swiss Citizen

Ck
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Old 18.05.2010, 12:15
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Re: Which documents for birth certificate for UK baby born in Bern?

ok thankyou
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Old 18.05.2010, 12:15
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Re: Which documents for birth certificate for UK baby born in Bern?

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I live in Bern - need to update my profile!
Hopefully they'll accept the originals then...I'm just a bit concerned because we'd like to get the certificate quickly so that we can also get a passport for the baby quickly.
Do you think it's worth registering the birth with the British consulate? What's the advantage? Fees are quite steep aren't they?
Ah. OK

As for the British Consulate registration and why? Patriotic duty? Officially, the line is that it allows the BC to get in contact in cases of (national) emergency and you "waive" your right to such notifications by not registering, but given that such civil unrest is unlikely to happen in CH you're probably on safe ground by not registering. It certainly isn't mandatory.

For us, the only reason was to get a British birth certificate (which costs even more!), in turn, to aid process of getting British passport (although technically a British birth certificate isn't needed as an international Swiss birth certificate is enough).

To be honest, I would have expected the Bernese authorities to be relatively flexible regarding foreign documentation given that it is the (administrative) capital of CH so there should be lots of expats there on diplomatic missions. But maybe I'm just being naive.

Living in Basel, cross-border travel is part of life here, and I was told that the abbreviated Swiss birth certificate (a little piece of A6 card, which I nearly threw away thinking it was just "stuff"!) is apparently enough in these parts.
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Old 18.05.2010, 12:19
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Re: Which documents for birth certificate for UK baby born in Bern?

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Hi

I've read the other threads on which documents are needed to get a birth certificate for a baby born to British parents in Switzerland but most deal with the situation in Zurich and it seems that different cantons have different rules. Does anyone have experience in Bern? I tried calling the registration office here but they can't speak English or much French and the British embassy was, as ever, completely useless. I am married and have my husband's surname. Does anyone know if we must get new versions of our birth and marriage certificates issued (so they will be less than 6 months old)? And must they be translated into German? One possible complication is that we were married in Tanzania and have a Tanzanian marriage certificate (it is recognized by the UK and is written in English and Swahili) so wouldn't be easy to get a new marriage certificate issued by them.

Baby is due next week!

many thanks for any help!

Jane
Do you live in the centre of Bern town, or elsewhere in the canton?
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Old 18.05.2010, 12:20
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Re: Which documents for birth certificate for UK baby born in Bern?

centre of Bern - 3008 - & going to have baby in the Frauenklinik (uni hospital)
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Old 18.05.2010, 12:31
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Re: Which documents for birth certificate for UK baby born in Bern?

We had a baby in the Canton, not in the city a few years ago and we were in a hurry to get a UK passport for the baby soon after she was born.

I don't remember exactly which papers were needed, but i'm 90% certain that we took the paper that the midwife gave us showing the details of the birth to the local Zivilstandkreise (do you know where that is?) to get a Swiss birth certificate, and we took my and her mothers birth certificates along and our marriage certificate in their original form (not translated) and it was fine. (Not sure why they need a marriage cert at all - I don't think that its essential)

We then sent that certificate to the Embassy and they helped us with the passport application. It was very easy and no stress.

(The only funny part was that when I went to the Zivilstandkriese, they said that they had no record of me existing in Switzerland, despite me having an Ausweis and paying tax to them for three years - it caused much headscratching to the staff!)

Good luck!
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Old 18.05.2010, 12:33
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Re: Which documents for birth certificate for UK baby born in Bern?

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<snip>Not sure why they need a marriage cert at all - I don't think that its essential<snip>
If you want the child to have the father's surname a marriage certificate is essential. I believe that if you don't have one (or don't present one), the default is for the child to have the mother's surname.

EDIT: in Switzerland (obviously!)

Last edited by Carlos R; 18.05.2010 at 12:48.
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Old 18.05.2010, 12:34
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Re: Which documents for birth certificate for UK baby born in Bern?

ok thanks
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Old 30.09.2010, 21:07
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Re: Which documents for birth certificate for UK baby born in Bern?

UPDATE
...So our baby girl was born in June and we managed to get a birth certificate and passport for her so thought i'd give an update about what we had to do. The person at the frauenklinik hospital in bern (amazing place to have a baby btw) who took our documents to the authorities to register the birth for us did not tell us the right info re. what we needed. to get the birth certificate for our baby we needed our own (mine and baby's dad) birth certificates that had been issued within the last 6 months - older ones are not accepted so we had to get our parents to go to the registrars back in the uk to get new ones issued. we also gave our marriage certificate but not sure if that was necessary and it didn't have to be a newly issued one. at first they said that the certificates would have to be translated into a swiss language (french/german) but i went into the office in bern and went through the certificates with someone there who spoke english and explained any text that they couldn't read (i guess it's hard to guess handwriting if it's not in your native language) and then they accepted the english version - so no need for an expensive translation. after we had done that we received the certificate in a matter of days. we then quickly sent off for a passport as we needed to visit family back in uk. we sent off baby's swiss birth certificate, my birth certificate, the passport form and baby photo (got a good one done for about 20chf at a good photographer in town by the train station) and we got the passport in one week! maybe we were lucky though and sometimes it takes longer. btw you have to send the passport forms to paris as bern uk embassy doesn't issue passports any more (they are quite useless and very rude in the embassy in my experience). i don't see the point in registering the baby in the bern embassy - they charge a hefty fee and we have her passport now anyway so what more do we need.
so - get your new birth certificates issued before baby is born if and go to the office in person to avoid having to get them translated.
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Old 30.09.2010, 21:32
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Re: Which documents for birth certificate for UK baby born in Bern?

Congratulations Jane on the birth of your baby girl!

I have to say, things really do vary on where you live here in Switzerland! My daughter was born in Baden (UK mother, German father) and we managed to get away with our original birth certificates and marriage certificate! I was told we would have to get recent copies but 'winged it' and managed to get away with it! Perhaps I or my husband (can't remember who did it!) looked particularly frazzled and they took pity, who knows!

Aside from that, I wanted to add my pennies-worth on why I want to get my daughter British birth certificates. From my experience of living in the UK, whenever identification is needed and usually two forms, the easiest one is a birth cert or passport, often you also need something with proof of address like a bill. Anyhoo, should my daughter ever decide in her life to live in the UK, it'll make her life easier to have a British birth cert as opposed to a Swiss one. Bare in mine that sometimes a long cert is required, not a short one too! It just gives you or her another option when needed. Having said all of this, I have not yet applied for them! I have all the paperwork printed off but have not gotten around to it! She will be 3 in November!!!!

All that said, I have a bit of time, she won't be independent for at least another 15 years!

Amanda
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Old 30.09.2010, 22:33
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Re: Which documents for birth certificate for UK baby born in Bern?

Congratulations Jane on your new daughter, I expect you have at last enjoyed a few good nights sleep!

Did you get an international birth certificate from the Berne office? (Standesamt in Zieglerstrasse), that might come in useful as it is in many languages and saves on future translations.

Did you know that your grandchildren might be born stateless, unless your daughter marries a British citizen and has the births actually in Britain? The consulate in Munich told me this in 1989 and it is still true.

The hospitals never understand the difference between a stamp and a seal. If your birth certificate has an embossed seal it is always valid. A simple stamp however has a limited life span.
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Old 30.09.2010, 22:43
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Re: Which documents for birth certificate for UK baby born in Bern?

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Congratulations Jane on your new daughter, I expect you have at last enjoyed a few good nights sleep!

Did you get an international birth certificate from the Berne office? (Standesamt in Zieglerstrasse), that might come in useful as it is in many languages and saves on future translations.

Did you know that your grandchildren might be born stateless, unless your daughter marries a British citizen and has the births actually in Britain? The consulate in Munich told me this in 1989 and it is still true.

The hospitals never understand the difference between a stamp and a seal. If your birth certificate has an embossed seal it is always valid. A simple stamp however has a limited life span.

Regarding your comment on grandchildren being stateless, I have a question. Say we stay in Switzerland for 20 years and my children become naturalised, bear with me as my knowledge here is a bit shaky. They marry here, but not to a Swiss person. Will their children, my grandchildren, be Swiss?

Also, thanks for the seal vs stamp comment, now I understand why my Birth Cert gets accepted everywhere!

Amanda
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