Tanzania: Procedure for obtaining a birth certificate in Zanzibar if no other identity document is available; whether the birth certificate can be obtained from outside Tanzania or through a proxy [TZA104051.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

1. Practice of Registering Births in Tanzania

An official of the High Commission of the United Republic of Tanzania in Ottawa said that, in mainland Tanzania, individuals started registering births and obtaining birth certificates "only in the past 30 years" (Tanzania 2 Apr. 2012). As a consequence, the official noted, if a birth was not registered and a "notification of birth" not obtained, an affidavit from another individual who has knowledge of the birth will be accepted in place of a birth certificate (ibid. 11 Apr. 2012). The affidavit can be used for obtaining a passport in Tanzania but not a birth certificate (ibid. 2 Apr. 2012). Birth records in Zanzibar have existed since approximately the 1960s (ibid.).

2. Obtaining a Birth Certificate in Tanzania

The High Commission official stated that the regulations for obtaining birth certificates in mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar are the same, and that individuals on the mainland or in Zanzibar must use the procedures outlined by the Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (RITA) (ibid. 11 Apr. 2012), a Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs agency in charge of registration of births, deaths, marriages and divorces (ibid. n.d.d).

2.1 Notification of Birth

In order to obtain a birth certificate, an individual must submit a "notification of birth" to the District Registrar of Births and Deaths of the region in which the birth occurred (Tanzania n.d.b; Canada 3 Apr. 2012; Tanzania 2 Apr. 2012). A notification of birth is issued by a hospital, a health centre or a dispensary at the time of birth (ibid. n.d.b). As a general rule, hospital or health centre records include the newborn's gender, weight, date and place of birth, and mother's name (ibid. 2 Apr. 2012). If a birth occurs at home, according to the website of RITA, it is to be reported to a village executive officer or the District Registrar of Births and Deaths, which will then issue a notification of birth (ibid. n.d.b). To obtain a birth certificate, an applicant must pay a fee of 3,500 Tanzanian shillings (TZS) (Tanzania n.d.b) (C$2.20 [XE 28 Mar. 2012]).

2.2 Late Registration of Birth

According to the Births and Deaths Registration Act of mainland Tanzania, a birth is required to be registered within 90 days of its occurrence (ibid. 1920, Sec. 11). The Births and Deaths Registration Act of Zanzibar indicates that the registration should be done within 42 days of the child's birth (Zanzibar 2006, Sec. 9.1(e)).

Both acts allow for late registration (Tanzania 1920, Sec. 19; Zanzibar 2006, Sec. 14(1)). However, according to the RITA website, birth certificates can be obtained only for individuals born after April 1921 (Tanzania n.d.c).

An application for late registration may be submitted to the District Registrar of Births and Deaths (ibid. n.d.b). One should submit the application form; one passport-size photograph; documents, such as a clinic card, baptism certificate, school certificate or a letter from the government authorities (ward or village executive officer), confirming the date and place of birth of the applicant; documents confirming the nationality of parents; and a late fee (ibid.). The applicant will then be issued a birth certificate (ibid. n.d.c).

2.3 Replacement of Lost Birth Certificate

The RITA website indicates that, in order to replace a lost birth certificate, an individual must submit a request to the District Registrar; provide the name, date of registration of birth and place of birth; and pay a fee of 3,500 TZS (Tanzania n.d.b).

3. Obtaining a Birth Certificate from Outside Tanzania

Sources state that an individual who is residing abroad can obtain a birth certificate if his or her birth occurred in a hospital or a health centre and a "notification" of birth record was obtained (Canada 3 Apr. 2012; Tanzania 2 Apr. 2012).

Two sources indicate that Tanzanian missions do not process applications for birth certificates (ibid. n.d.a; ibid. 2 Apr. 2012).

According to the High Commission official in Ottawa, an individual can authorize another person to act on his or her behalf to obtain a birth certificate (ibid). The authorization can be an "informal letter" (ibid.). There is no specific format for the authorization, but it should include information such as the date and place of birth of the requester, the name of the proxy and the subject of the authorization (ibid.). This authorization, a "notification of birth" and a fee should be submitted to the District Registrar of Births and Deaths, which will then issue a birth certificate (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Canada. 3 April 2012. High Commission of Canada to Tanzania. Correspondence from an official to the Research Directorate.

Tanzania. 11 April 2012. High Commission of the United Republic of Tanzania, Ottawa. Telephone interview with an official.

_____. 2 April 2012. High Commission of the United Republic of Tanzania, Ottawa. Telephone interview with an official.

_____. 1920 (amended 1962). The Births and Deaths Registration Act. [Accessed 22 Mar. 2012]

_____. N.d.a. High Commission of the United Republic of Tanzania, London. "FAQs." [Accessed 22 Mar. 2012]

_____. N.d.b. Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (RITA). "Registration of Births." [Accessed 20 Mar. 2012]

_____. N.d.c. Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (RITA). "Frequently Asked Questions: Births and Deaths." [Accessed 28 Mar. 2012]

_____. N.d.d. Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (RITA)."Aim and Historical Background." [Accessed 20 Mar. 2012]

XE. 28 March 2012. "Currency Converter Widget." [Accessed 28 Mar. 2012]

Zanzibar. 2006. Births and Deaths Registration Act 2006. [Accessed 2 Apr. 2012]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Representatives of the Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency were unable to provide information within the time constraints of this Response.

Internet sites, including: Africa.com, Amnesty International; BBC; Daily News; Factiva; IPP Media; Save the Children; Tanzania – Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance, Ministry of Constitutional and Legal Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, National Bureau of Statistics, Parliament of Tanzania; Tanzania Daima; Tanzanian Affairs; World Health Organization; Zanzibar Directory of Civil Society Organizations.