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Registering a birth

Births in England or Wales must be registered in the district in which they take place although this may be arranged through any register office within these countries.

Births in Wales may be registered bilingually in English and Welsh.

Every birth in England or Wales must be registered in the district in which it takes place within 42 days of the date of birth.

The information you provide is usually recorded on computer, it is also recorded in the birth register and the person registering the birth signs the record.

If it is inconvenient to go to the district where the birth took place, the information for the registration may be given to a registrar in another district.

The registrar will record the registration particulars on a form of declaration and send it to the registrar for the district where the birth occurred.

The registrar who receives the declaration will enter the information in the birth register.

The registrar for the district where the birth took place will post certificates of the birth, which may be ordered and paid for at the time of making the declaration.

The baby does not need to be taken to the registrar's office to show that the birth has taken place.   However it is necessary where possible to produce proof of identification in the form of passport, birth certificate or driving licence and proof of address by means of utility bill, bank statement or driving licence. 

The local health authority or the hospital where the birth occurred will notify the registrar of the birth.  You may be asked to produce baby’s red book.

Parents married to each other
If the parents of the child were married to each other at the time of the birth (or conception), either the mother or the father may register.

Parents not married to each other
If the parents were not married to each other at the time of the child's birth (or conception), the father's particulars may be entered in the register only in the following circumstances:

  • the mother and father go to the register office and sign the birth register together, or
  • where the father is unable to go to the register office with the mother 
    the father may make a statutory declaration acknowledging his paternity which the mother must produce to the registrar (this form may be obtained from any registrar in England or Wales), or
  • where the mother is unable to go to the register office with the father - the mother may make a statutory declaration acknowledging the father's paternity which the father must produce to the registrar (this form may be obtained from any registrar in England or Wales), or
  • where the mother and father have made a parental responsibility agreement or either has obtained an appropriate court order
  • the agreement or order should be produced to the registrar by either parent

If the father's particulars are not recorded in the birth register, it may be possible for the birth to be re-registered to include his details at a later date. You can obtain further information about how to apply for the re-registration of a birth.

Other people who may register births
Although the majority of births are registered by the parents, sometimes neither the mother nor the father is able to do this. In these circumstances, the registrar will arrange for the registration to be completed by whichever of the following people is best able to do so:

  • the occupier of the house or hospital where the child was born
  • a person who was present at the birth
  • a person who is responsible for the child

It is necessary where possible to produce proof of identification in the form of passport, birth certificate or driving licence and proof of address by means of utility bill, bank statement or driving licence.  You may also be asked to produce baby’s red book.

Child

  • date and place of birth; if the birth is one of twins, triplets, etc. the time of each child's birth will also be needed
  • sex of the child
  • the forename(s) and surname in which it is intended that the child will be brought up

Father (where this information is to be entered in the register)

  • forename(s) and surname
  • date and place of birth
  • occupation at the time of the child's birth or, if not employed at that time, the last occupation

Mother

  • forename(s) and surname
  • maiden surname if the mother is, or has been, married
  • date and place of birth
  • occupation at the time of the child's birth or, if not employed at that time, the last occupation
  • usual address at the date of the birth
  • date of marriage, if married to the child's father at the time of the birth 
    number of previous children by the present husband and by any former husband

It is vital that the information recorded in the birth register is correct. If any mistake is made, for example in the spelling of a name or surname or in the description of the father's or mother's occupation, a request for correction must be made formally and can take several weeks to be approved and completed.  There may be occasions when a correction may not be authorised or the certificate annotated instead of corrected.  The person registering the birth should check the information to be recorded in the register extremely carefully before the entry is signed.

You can obtain further information about correcting particulars in a birth registration by contacting any of our offices.

After a birth has been registered you will be given a short birth certificate showing the name, sex, date of birth and the district of registration.  This is issued free of charge and is used to claim Child Benefit.

A full copy of the entry (a complete copy of the register page) showing parent’s names, addresses, birth places and occupations, is available to purchase at the time of registration at a fee of £4.00 per copy.  This certificate is required for purposes such as opening bank accounts and obtaining passports. 

Further certificates may be purchased any time after registration.  Please contact any of our offices for further information.  

A new addition to the family is always a great time of celebration and a Naming Ceremony is an occasion to welcome a baby, adoptive child or step-child into the family circle.  We are able to work with you to create a ceremony that will offer a special opportunity for family and friends to gather together to celebrate and pledge their support for his/her journey through life.

It's suitable for any age and may include welcoming more than one child and you may want to include promises and pledges from parent and other significant individuals, alongside music, poetry and gifts.

A naming ceremony has no legal status and therefore allows us a certain amount of creative freedom and flexibility in their design and delivery. 

If you would like to discuss a Naming Ceremony, please contact us.

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Have your say

If you have recently used our service to register your new baby, please take a minute to complete our brief birth survey.  Your thoughts are very important to us.

Complete our survey

Page updated on: 07/03/2017

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