Registering a birth
You must register your baby in the district where the birth took place within 42 days (or six weeks) of the birth.
If you can't go to the district where your baby was born, you can go to another office (still within 42 days or six weeks) and the registrar will send your details to the appropriate district office, who will then send you the birth certificate.
A full certificate (like the short certificate but also including parent details) is available from the Registrar for £4. Many parents purchase a full birth certificate at the time of the registration - charges afterwards vary
Who can register the birth
If parents are married at time of birth or conception, the mother or father can register the birth on their own.
If parents aren't married, but you want both parents details on the birth certificate, there are several options:
- both parents can go and sign the birth register together
- if one parent cannot go to the register office, they will need to complete a Statutory Declaration form (available from the Register Office). It needs to be witnessed by a solicitor, who usually charge. The parent registering the birth must give the completed form to the registrar
- where there is a parental responsibility agreement in force or either parent has an appropriate court order, this can be presented at the time of registration
Remember one of the parents must register the birth in person. You cannot ask a friend or relative to register the birth on your behalf.
What to bring to the appointment
Bring your letter from the hospital with you. You will also be asked to provide certain information:
- date and place of birth
- if the birth is one of twins, triplets, etc the time of each baby's birth will also be required
- sex of the baby
- first name and surname
- first name and surname, and any previous names he may have had
- date and place of birth of his birth
- current occupation, or if he is not working, his previous occupation
- address at the time of birth
- first name and surname, and any previous names she may have had
- maiden surname will also be required if she is or has ever been married;
- date and place of her birth
- address at the time of birth, and at the time of registration if different
- current occupation
- number of previous children (by her present and any former husbands and the date of her current marriage if applicable).
It is important that the information entered into the register is right as mistakes can be difficult to correct.
Re-registration of a birth
If a baby is born before the parents marry, you are obliged to re-register the birth after the marriage. There is no time limit on this but it is advisable to do it as soon as possible.
'Tell us Once' service
Tell us Once is a free service where all agencies and organisations that need to know about the birth are contacted for you. You won't need to post copies of the birth certificate, and in some cases it could speed up your application for certain benefits.
Information will be treated securely and confidentially. Organisations contacted will use the information to update their records and start or end benefits or services as appropriate.