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Dutch passport baby born in China
Parents of babies born in China have to do quite a lot of paperwork to obtain foreign citizenship and passport. I'll explain the procedure for a Dutch parent (me) and a Chinese parent (my wife). Previously declaring birth (without a Hukou) was complex, but the Dutch requirements have been relaxed in March 2011. Now the parents only need a legalized certified copy of the MBC. Good news!

Medical Birth Certificate book

Disclaimer: no rights can be derived from the information at the website. The rules often change (even within one city), so it's always best to contact the embassy or consulate directly. They help many people in the same situation so they can give you better advice. This article aims to be correct as of March 2011, but provides no guarantees. It's just my best effort to summarize all the information on a single page. I'm writing this based on my (Dutch father) experience in Mainland China.

Update March 2011: The Dutch government has just announced that from now on (March 2011) only a legalized certified MBC is required to declare the birth and with this MBC you can get a passport directly. A notarized birth certificate is no longer required!

First of all, I should explain that there are two separate issues:
  1. declare the birth of the baby ("aangifte") - this used to be difficult, now it's much easier!
  2. obtain a Dutch passport - easy
It all starts with a Medical Birth Certificate, a document provided by the hospital where the mother delivered the baby. It states the name, place of birth, date, parents and so on. If you already understand what an MBC is and how to certify and legalize a copy of it, you can skip most of this article :)

Declaring the birth

This is called "aangifte" in Dutch and the declaration of birth can happen with the Dutch authorities or with the Chinese authorities (for mixed couples):

The Dutch embassy in Beijing has the authority to accept a declaration of birth "aangifte" (nobody else is authorized to do this except for the ambassador, that's why declaring birth is only possible at the embassy in Beijing). Declaration of birth is based on the MBC, so they just need the Medical Birth Certificate from the hospital where the baby was born. This document is in Chinese and in English, so if all the content is romanized, you do not need to get an additional translation. Most important is that the baby's name and the non-Chinese parent's name are written correctly in roman alphabet. The embassy will ask you to go to the notary office in the baby's birthplace to notarize it. After that the MBC should also be legalized, this is explained in detail below. The notary office can provide English translations of the Chinese Notary declaration and those are sufficient (no need to get Dutch translation). Since the translations and original Chinese statements need to be kept together in a small booklet, it's always best just to let the notary office do the translation work. You probably need to wait a couple of days before you can pick up your documents at the notary office. To declare the birth of the baby at the Embassy, only the Dutch parent needs to come personally.

The other option is to declare the birth with the Chinese authorities. The usual way for this is to register a Hukou. With the Hukou + MBC you can go to the local Notary Office and ask for a "LEGALIZED NOTARY BIRTH CERTIFICATE" and a "LEGALIZED CERTIFIED COPY MBC" (same as above). If you don't have a Hukou, it's normally not possible to get a Notary Birth Certificate. There are some exceptions, but it seems different Notary Offices use different rules. Update: Dutch government no longer requires the Birth Certificate, so you should have no problems obtaining the required documents (only MBC).

Update march 2011: Chinese/Dutch couples no longer need to separately declare the birth of their baby. You only need to get a Legalized Certified Copy of the MBC. Now you can declare the birth with "Bureau Landelijke Taken" in the Netherlands directly based on the MBC. See for more information at the bottom.

Medical Birth Certificate China
Medical Birth Certificate in Shenzhen (the two parts on the right are not visible). Notice it contains English and Chinese, but only one field for the name of the baby.

Legalized Certified Copy MBC
This document is quite easy to obtain and just states that this copy is based on an authentic MBC. You just take the original MBC from the hospital to the Notary Office. You do not need a Hukou for this, but perhaps the Notary Office will ask you to provide a stamp from the hospital on the application form. As usual bring all ID-cards and copies. It has the following text (in Chinese, but should also provide English):

"This is to certify that the photocopy above is in conformity with the original of Birth Certificate issued to [NAME] by [HOSPITAL] on [DATE], and the Special Stamp for [PROVINCE] Province Birth Ceritificate and [HOSPITAL] on the original is found to be authentic."

So you will get (two copies) of a booklet containing:
  • photo copy MBC
  • Chinese statement (with stamp)
  • English translation of the statement
Then you need to legalize it:
  • sticker+stamp from Chinese Foreign Affairs Office

Legalized Notary Birth Certificate
The Legalized Notary Birth Certificate basically states who the parents are and when & where the baby was born. It has the following text (in Chinese, but they should also provide you this English version):

"This is to certify that [NAME], [MALE/FEMALE], was born on [DATE] in [CITY] City, [PROVINCE] Province. His/Her father's name is [FATHER] and his/her mother's name is [MOTHER]."

Since ~2010 it has been very difficult to obtain the Notary Birth Certificate without a Hukou. The Notary Office normally always uses the Hukou as a "source document". A source document is supposed to the the basic truth and in the Hukou it says who the parents are. When you don't have/want a Hukou (for example for mixed kids), there is no source document to confirm who the parents are.

Since March 2011 the Dutch government does not require the Notary Birth Certificate anymore. This solves many problems for Dutch parents [source]. Previously (before March 2011) if the Notary Office refused to give this Birth Certificate, you had two options: either get a Hukou after all (so you can provide a source document; but then the baby's name in roman alphabet might pose a problem), or fly to Beijing to declare the birth in person (only based on the MBC) as stated above. Glad this problem is solved now!

For this Notary Birth Certificate you will need to provide a 2 inch color photo, as well as the ID-card of the mom, passport of the dad, marriage certificate. Always make copies of all papers as usual. Also make sure you are married more than 9 months at the time of birth (see for details below).

What do Legalized and Certified/Notarized mean?
Certified/Notarized = an action that the Notary Office in your city will perform. They will check some source documents and then make an official document that states some facts and put a stamp on the document. For example they can say that a photocopy of a document was based on the real document (they verified it).

Legalized = an action that the Foreign Affairs office in the provincial capital will perform. After a document is notarized, it's valid for use in China, but not yet for foreign governments. The way this works is that the foreign governments only accept documents from each other via the Foreign Affairs Office. So the Dutch embassy/consulate (representing the Dutch government) will only accept it after the Chinese government (Foreign Affairs Office) has put their stamp on it. The other way it works the same: a Dutch document first needs to go the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Netherlands and then to the Dutch embassy in the Netherlands. We previously legalized a document via a "Foreign Affairs Service Center" in Shenzhen. They then mailed it for us to Guangzhou and later we could just pick the document up in Shenzhen. Double legalization means that both the Chinese and Dutch sides both put their stamp on the paper.

Important considerations

After you deliver the baby in the hospital, you will get the original MBC document. Before you can get this document you must decide on the name of the baby. You must either pick a name in roman alphabet or in Chinese characters. It's very important that you think carefully about this. If you pick for example a Dutch name on the MBC, you cannot directly get a Hukou with it (since the name in the Hukou must be written in Chinese characters). If you write a Chinese name in the MBC, this Chinese name should be used by the Notary Office (if they do their work correctly) and thus will appear in the foreign passport (in Pinyin). Perhaps possible that a Western name could be "translated" into Chinese characters and thus still be used to register a Hukou. This is pure speculation though, and only an experienced Notary Office employee can probably help you with this.

According to another Dutch father in China, there is at least space for 33 characters, divided over 3 lines and including spaces. When the hospital prints the MBC they will divide the name according to the line length. So the Notary Office might be confused which parts belong together and which parts are separate. It might be clearer to let Western names all start with capital letters to indicate the start of each name-part. Also the use of punctuation on the name can change because of the translation, so you should be very careful here. The way the Notary Office writes the document will be regarded as the source document for the Dutch authorities.

Note: people have written to me that the MBC document varies across China. I only have experience with the MBC in Shenzhen. For example in Beijing there is supposed to be an additional field called "AKA - Also Known As" where you can enter a second name. This could be very useful to write both a Chinese and Western name (though be careful as to which name will be used in the foreign passport). In other parts of China they might not have any English on the MBC paper.

MBC (Medical Birth Certificate)
The MBC document consists of the main part + two removable parts. The hospital will keep one of those parts and the other part is for registering the Hukou. For more information, see the paragraph about "legalized certified copy mbc".

Consulate or Embassy
With the new relaxed rules only a Legalized Notarized MBC is required. With this document you can apply for a passport at the Embassy or the Consulate. To apply for the passport all three (father, mother, baby) need to come, but you do NOT need to come within 30 days. So you can just get the passport for example when the baby is 6 months old. If you are in the situation where one of the parents cannot come, you need some official statement about this. For a Dutch parent who cannot come, he for example needs to get a document at the city where he lives in the Netherlands. For a Chinese parent the alternative would be to sign a paper at a Notary Office and then legalize it. This sounds quite complex, so for us it's easier to just go together [source].

Before you travel to either the embassy or the consulate, you should email copies of all your documents to them so they can check if your documents are correct. In my experience the embassy and consulate staff are very helpful. The embassy is open 09:00-12:00 and 13:30-16:00.

As written before, normally the Notary Office will only give you a Notary Birth Certificate based on the Hukou. Even though this is very strange (since the Hukou is based on the same MBC), there is nothing we can do about it. In Shenzhen one Notary Office offered the option to do a DNA-test in a government-run hospital. Sometimes Notary Offices are less strict and they will give the requested document without Hukou, but this seems increasingly uncommon. It might help to try several different Notary Offices in your city to see which one is easiest. One Notary Office referred us to Shenzhen Renmin Hospital ( ). There it costs 1100 RMB per person, so to confirm both parents it would cost 3300 RMB in total. Another Notary Office refused even with DNA-test and another Notary Office didn't require a DNA-test at all, so even within one city there are big differences. The Notary Office who didn't require a DNA test said it was not needed because there were 10 months between our marriage date and the birth date of the baby. Tip: make sure you get pregnant AFTER you get married, preferably at least 1 month after it.

Marriage certificate
In China you need to prove several times that you were married to the mother. The procedure is different depending on where you were married (in China or for example in the Netherlands). If you were married in the Netherlands, it's easy for the Dutch embassy to read a recent "uittreksel uit de gemeentelijke basisadministratie" (summary municipal basic administration).
If you were married in China, you need to legalize it (see explanation about legalization above). I am married in the Netherlands and after we got married we immediately went to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Netherlands + the Chinese embassy in the Netherlands to legalize it. This legalized document makes our marriage papers valid in China. Also make sure you make several Notarized translations of the Dutch marriage papers. Important: the marriage proof must not be older than 6 months at the time you submit the passport application.

Documents required for declaring birth at Embassy
  • original MBC. The names of the child and the Dutch parents need to be written in roman alphabet
  • legalized certified copy medical birth certificate
  • proof of marriage at the time of birth (because of the last name of the baby; document max 6 months old)
  • passports of both parents
Declaring birth is free, but getting a copy of it costs 265 RMB currently. You need a copy of the birth declaration to apply for a Dutch passport.

The procedure for declaring birth is very similar to getting a passport. You need the same documents as above, but also some photos:
  • photo of the baby [requirements]
  • money (currently about 400 RMB)
Getting a passport takes about one and a half weeks, but if the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands needs to check additional documents, it might take longer. You can get a passport either at the consulate or the embassy. Remember: only if you need to declare the birth of the baby you need to go to the Embassy in Beijing, all other formalities can be handled in for example Shanghai or Guangzhou (Dutch consulates). To apply for the passport, the child and mother both need to come personally, but there is no time-limit.

Register birth of Child born in China in Netherlands
With the new rules, it's much easier to register the birth of the baby directly with the authorities in the Netherlands. You can use the legalized certified copy of the MBC to register directly with the municipality in the Hague. You can then register with BLT (Bureau Landelijke Taken). The advantage of registering with BLT is that your child -after leaving China- can quickly and easily get a recent and valid copy of this document. If you didn't register with BLT in the Netherlands, then the copy can only be obtained via the Dutch embassy/consulate in China. So it's definitely adviced to do this [source]. There is no relationship between applying for the Dutch passport and registering with BLT. You can first apply for the passport and later register with BLT for example.

10-year rule
A child with two nationalities can lose the Dutch nationality by living outside the Netherlands for 10 years. When the baby is born in China, it automatically also gets Chinese citizenship (though no Hukou). To prevent it from losing the Dutch nationality the easiest solution is to obtain a new Dutch passport (which confirms the nationality and starts a new term of 10 years) [source].

More Information
Dutch Embassy:
[todo - update diagram]

No rights can be derived from the information at the website. I hope it helps though!
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Marein   | |2011-02-19 15:52:20
Hoi Thijs
Misschien is het verstandig om er iets bij te zetten dat hier 'geen rechten aan kunnen ontleend' of 'dat jij niet verantwoordelijk bent' als mensen dit volgen en het klopt niet. Om te zorgen dat jij niet in de problemen komt. En de regels veranderen natuurlijk voortdurend.
Het is wel heel ingewikkeld en vooral frustrerend dat ze dan aan de telefoon het ene zeggen en als je er komt iets anders.
groetjes Marein
Fernando Cantu  - WTF!   | |2011-02-21 17:33:15
IT is so!!! complex!!!!

You know, I wanted my baby to have both Spanish and Chinese names whcih can be done with the Birth Certificate in Beijing, however on my wifes hometown where our daughter born the certificate is only in chinese and we had the option to have wither a chinese name, spanish name or mixed name so we decided to have use the chinese name only to ease further paperwork.

Based on the diagram that you show abobe it seems that I should be able to translate the birth certificate and notarize it, perhaps I can use the chinese name on the translated document

Please let me know if my understanding is correct
Thijs  - Indeed complex     | |2011-02-21 20:50:06
Hi Fernando, I don't understand exactly what you mean, but it's indeed complex . If you wrote a name in Chinese characters on the MBC, I believe that the translation should then have the same name written in Pinyin. That pinyin would then be used in a Spanish passport (if the notary office does it's work good). Best would be just to call the local Notary office and ask, because the rules often differ.
Fernando Cantu  - I didn't explain myself   | |2011-02-21 21:49:18
I'm sorry, Maybe I didn't explain myself clearly.

In Beijing it is possible to use 2 names on the birth certificate, one in Chinese and one in any other language, this is done by using the AKA field.

A few people I've met were able to do that.

Also there is a lack of standarization on the forms that are used on each city... for instance the picture you show doesn't seem to have an AKA field like in Beijing and the birth certificate of my daughter doesn't have english at all :S
Thijs  - interesting     | |2011-02-22 12:05:09
Interesting, I didn't know that the MBC form is different across China! We indeed have both English and Chinese on the MBC, but no "Also Known As" field unfortunately, otherwise we could have written a name in Chinese characters there.
Ton Bakker  - MBC   | |2011-02-23 21:51:22
Thijs, as usual there is no unified model for MBC, same as no unified policy at Notary Public offices, just like you mentioned.
You have read about the rules for people born before 1996 I presume.
I received from a chinese LAWYER in Rooterdam this message;

Onlangs kreeg ik namelijk een geboortecertificaat onder ogen, afgegeven door een “County Maternity and Child Health Care Centre”. Dit is een later afgegeven geboortecertificaat van iemand geboren in de jaren ’70. Daarbij staat de volgende opmerking vermeld: “Notes: According to the Notice of Printing and Distribution of Supplemental Administrative Provisions for “Medical Birth Certificate” (WJF 2001 No. 45) jointly issued by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Public Security of PRC, the reissue of Medical Birth Certificate is only applicable for those who were born after January 1st 1996. Those who were born before January 1st 1996 may apply for via or household registration upon this “Birth Certificate”. Een dergelijke toevoeging heb ik niet eerder op een geboortecertificaat zien staan.=
Arne Jense  - MBC - Keuze van Naam   | |2011-07-20 10:17:30
Ha Thijs,

Allereerst. Geweldige en handige website met informatie. Al menigmaal geraadpleegd voor van alles en nog wat.

Wij verwachten ons kindje over een aantal weken en ben alle informatie aan het inwinnen over wat/hoe te doen qua papierwerk. Kan de naam in de MBC geheel in het "Roman Alphabet" zijn? Hoeft dus geen Chinese naam vermeld te worden?

Dank je

Thijs     | |2011-07-20 10:32:52
Het MBC schijnt per regio te verschillen. Hier in Shenzhen moesten we kiezen OF een "Nederlandse" OF een "Chinese" naam. Ik meen gelezen te hebben dat in Beijing er ook een "AKA" (also known as) veld op het MBC is waar je de andere naam kan vermelden. Wij hebben dat echter niet. Wij hebben dus geen Chinese naam (noch in Pinyin, noch in karakters) op het MBC staan. Omdat we geen Chinese naam hebben in karakters kunnen we geen Hukou krijgen aldus het ziekenhuis.
Arne Jense   | |2011-07-20 11:44:49
Ha Thijs,

Duidelijk. Dank je. Wij wonen ook in SZ en zullen dus dezelfde procedure krijgen als jij ervaren hebt. Geen Huou kunnen krijgen? Is dat onhandig? Heb jij dat dat jij weet nog ergens voor nodig in het dagelijks leven op het moment?


Thijs     | |2011-07-20 13:40:40
Hukou vs geen Hukou is denk ik een van de belangrijkste afwegingen die je moet maken. Officieel gesproken kan je niet een Hukou en ook Nederlands paspoort combineren. Wanneer je eerst echter een MBC met Chinese naam registreert, dan een Hukou aanvraagt en tegelijkertijd een Nederlands paspoort aanvraagt (waarin dan wel de Chinese naam in Pinyin komt te staan!), kan de Chinese regering dat nooit te weten komen (tenzij je bij de Chinese grens per ongeluk het verkeerde paspoort toont). Hukou heb je nodig om als volwaardige Chinees door het leven te gaan (studie, werk etc etc). Wij hebben gekozen voor Nederlanderschap, maar als je slechts 1 kind wilt en van plan zou zijn om lang in China te blijven wonen (10+ jaar?) dan kan een Hukou nu ook een goede optie zijn.
Kristof  - Maybe some help   | |2011-09-22 13:20:16
Hey Thijs,

Thanks for this brillant website. It's very informing, entertaining and it all seems so familiar.
I'm Belgian, working in Shenzhen, married to a chinese and recently became a dad. I could write in Dutch but, maybe there is somebody else reading this who could help us out.

Unlike your Dutch consulate, the Belgian one still needs this Legalized Notary Birth Certificate. The Notary office we usually go to does not want to give us this certificate without a hukou registration.

Is there anybody here that knows a notary office (preferably in Shenzhen) that can supply us this document?

Any help is welcome.

Thijs   | |2011-09-23 15:25:13
We went to a Notary office here in Shenzhen via the relationship of a family member of my wife (need to be a bit discrete here ). Anyway, they gave the document without problems, but not sure if they would do it without the Guanxi. This PSB was near the SZ Press Building in Futian District I believe. I'll mail you the exact name later.

3.26 Copyright (C) 2008 / Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

Last Updated ( Monday, 07 March 2011 )
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