Civil registration started in the 19th century in the world. While Iran was going through modernization and renovation, the need for identifying foreigners, forming a permanent army, and obtaining taxes turned the formation of a civil registration administration as a priority. Therefore, in December 1918 Iran ratified the civil registration law by issuing the first birth certificate for a girl named Fatemeh Irani in Tehran.
Before 1916 the birth and death of a person was registered according to religious beliefs and ruling customs of the time. The birth of a person was registered on the back cover of a holy book like Quran, and signs of the death of a person could only be seen on his or her gravestone. With the advancement of human knowledge and culture and the everyday growth of rural and urban population, the formation of an organization to register the birth and death tolls seemed inevitable. Gradually the thought of establishing an organization responsible for the registry of death and birth gained strength. First a document consisting of 41 articles was ratified by the parliament in 1918 and an administration named the “ID administration” was found as part of the interior ministry, and the first birth certificate was issued for Fatemeh Irani.
Consequently, the first civil registration law with 35 articles was established in July 1925 by the parliament of the time. According to this law, all Iranian citizens whether inside the country or abroad had to own a birth certificate.
Three years after the first civil registration law was ratified the new civil registration law with 16 articles was passed in 1928. According to this law the collection of all other statistics became the responsibility of this administration and therefore its name changed to the “Birth Certificate and Statistics Administration”. After this date, the civil registration legislation changed many times due to the changes and developments occurring in the country. Finally, in 1940, a cohesive and general legislation consisting of 55 articles were passed and the regulations following it with 131 articles were passed in the same year. This legislation remained generally intact for 36 years. After these years in July 1976, the new civil registration act with 55 articles was ratified and after the addition of some amendments in 1984, the law has not changed until today.
Briefly, the process of this legislation could be categorized as the:
1- Provision of the civil registration tenet in 1918 with 41 articles
2- Provision and ratification of birth certificate law in June 1925 consisting of 4 chapters and 35 articles
3- Provision and ratification of the “Birth Certificate and Statistics Administration” code in February 1936 with 196 articles and the provision of provincial organizations
4- Provision and ratification of civil registration amendments in May, 1940 consisting of 5 chapters and 35 articles
5- Provision and ratification of the civil registration regulations in 1940 with 131 articles
6- Provision and ratification of civil registration legislation in July 1976
7- Amendment of the civil registration legislation by the parliament in January 1985
8- Ratification of regulations on handling of disputes by dispute resolution boards
9- Ratification of regulations on violation, crime and punishment related to civil registration by the expediency council in 1992
With new regulations, coming up “The National Organization for Civil Registration” also updated itself and became more complete every day. By the year 1932, this organization only had 94 branches in other provinces. In 1930, the registration of death and birth tolls of Iranian citizens living abroad was assigned to the embassies and delegations of Iran in other countries. In 1959, the statistic branch of the organization was detached and continued its work under the “Office of General Statistics”. The civil registration organization changed to the “Office of Civil Registration” after this separation.
Finally, after the administrative divisions, the provincial offices also developed and the title of this organization changed to “The National Organization for Civil Registration”.
Since “The National Organization for Civil Registration” has access to all the identity documents, personal infrmation, and vital statistics, it is considered one of the main pillars of the government. Providing general services to the public and providing different pillars of the government with population information are among the specific and exclusive characteristics of this organization.
Currently this organization has departments, which fulfill the missions assigned to it: the leadership, three deputies (certificate affairs, statistics and information, and financial and administrative), six offices (legal affairs, birth certificate and research, external affairs registration, IT office , financial and administrative affairs), six staff offices (the office of statistics and population information, the office of development and information technology, the office of budgetary and organization, the office of public relations, the office of management evaluation and responses to complaints, and a training center), and thirty provincial registration head offices which are responsible for affairs like “policy making, strategic planning, supervision and evaluation, editing and amending regulations, and…”, and finally 476 administrative offices which are active in giving certificate and informatics services to the public.
The responsibilities of the organization are as followed:
1- Registration of birth and issue of birth certificate
2- Registration of death and issue of death permit
3- Replacement of current birth certificates
4- Registration of marriage and divorce
5- Issuance of birth certificate for Iranian citizens abroad, and the regulation of offices responsible for the registration of name entries
6- Formation of population information centers and the issuance of ID cards
7- Collection and publication of civil statistics of the country
8- Other responsibilities which are assigned to it according to the law