New Law on Civil Status
Taking effect January 1 next year, the new Law on Civil Status (the Law) will guarantee harmony among the legal frameworks on civil status, family records and citizen identity. Composed of 77 articles arranged in seven chapters, the Law focuses on competence and procedures for civil status registration.
Ensuring civil status registration right and obligation of individuals
As per the Law, civil status events include birth, marriage, guardianship, parent and child recognition, civil status change and correction, ethnicity re-determination, civil status information addition and death.
Vietnamese citizens as well as stateless persons permanently residing in Vietnam have the civil status registration right and obligation. Unless otherwise provided by a treaty to which Vietnam is a contracting party, this provision also applies to foreign citizens permanently residing in Vietnam. The Law further stipulates that the State will adopt comprehensive policies and measures and create conditions for individuals to exercise and perform their civil status registration right and obligation, and ensure budget, physical foundations, human resources and investment in information technology development for civil status registration and management activities.
Under the Law, individuals may request civil status registration in a manner most convenient for them. They may submit dossiers of civil status registration directly to a civil status registration agency or send them by post or via the online civil status registration system. The Law also adds the right to choose a place for civil status registration. Accordingly, an individual may make civil status registration at a civil status registration agency in his registered place of permanent or temporary residence or in the place where he is living.
Civil status registration requesters will be granted one original civil status extract, instead of one original civil status document for each registered civil status event under current regulations. Individuals, regardless of their places of residence, may request any civil status database-managing agency to issue civil status extract copies on their registered civil status events.
Particularly, civil status registration agencies still grant original birth certificates and marriage certificates to registrants.
Civil status registration involving foreign elements
Under the Law, district-level People’s Committees will be responsible for registering civil status events involving foreign elements. This decentralization aims to bring into full play the capacity of local authorities and strengthen the state management role of provincial-level People’s Committees toward achieving the long-term objective of absolute delegation of the power to register civil status to local authorities.
According to Chapter III of the Law, civil status events involving foreign elements include:
– Birth registration for children born in Vietnam and having a parent being a Vietnamese citizen and the other being a foreigner or a stateless person, a parent being a Vietnamese citizen residing in the country and the other being a Vietnamese citizen residing abroad, both parents being Vietnamese citizens residing abroad, or both parents being foreigners or stateless persons; birth registration for children born abroad with their birth not yet registered abroad and taken to reside in Vietnam and having both parents being Vietnamese citizens or a parent being a Vietnamese citizen;
– Marriage registration between Vietnamese citizens and foreigners; between Vietnamese citizens residing in the country and Vietnamese citizens residing abroad; between Vietnamese citizens residing abroad; between Vietnamese citizens who also have foreign citizenship and Vietnamese citizens or foreigners; and between foreigners residing in Vietnam;
– Guardianship registration between Vietnamese citizens and foreigners together residing in Vietnam;
– Registration of parent and child recognition between Vietnamese citizens and foreigners; between Vietnamese citizens residing in the country and Vietnamese citizens residing abroad; between Vietnamese citizens residing abroad; between Vietnamese citizens also having a foreign citizenship and Vietnamese citizens or foreigners; and between foreigners either or both of whom permanently residing in Vietnam;
– Death registration for foreigners or Vietnamese citizens residing abroad who die in Vietnam.
The Law regulates that foreigners who wish to have their civil status information corrected and supplemented should send their requests to district-level People’s Committees of their previous places of civil status registration or places of residence.
Overseas Vietnamese may send their applications for civil status change, correction, supplementation and ethnicity re-determination to district-level People’s Committees of their previous places of civil status registration for settlement.
As for matters related to citizenship and adoption, they will be dealt with in accordance with the Law on Vietnamese Citizenship and the Law on Adoption, unless otherwise provided by this Law.