when to register

You must register your baby’s birth within 42 days (21 days in Scotland) of the birth. A stillbirth must also be registered within 3 months. You may need to make an appointment with your local register office so check before you go.

where to register

You have to register the birth in the registration district where you had your baby. If you can’t register in that district, if you have recently moved for example, then go to any register office in England or Wales. They will send the details to the register office in the district where you gave birth who will then post you the birth certificate and doctor’s registration form.

who can register

If the baby’s parents are married when baby is born then either one of them can register the birth.

If baby’s parents are unmarried but you want to include both their details in the register then you must both go.

If you are not married you are not obliged to include the father’s details in the register. If you don’t and you want to at later date there are special procedures that may allow you to do so. Contact the Registrar for more information.

choosing a name for your child

A mother can choose to give her baby any first or last name she likes. Baby can have her last name or the father’s. A father has no right to insist that his last name is used.

A married couple can choose to give their baby any last name – it doesn’t need to be the same as theirs.

information you must provide

The Registrar will ask for the following information: –

  1. The date and place of birth (for multiple births you will also need to give the times of birth)
  2. Baby’s full name and sex (if you haven’t chosen a name when you register, it can be added within the next 12 months)
  3. The parents’ full names and places of birth
  4. The parents’ occupations
  5. The date of the parents’ marriage (where applicable) and the number of previous children
  6. The mother’s address and her maiden name

if you can’t decide on a name

If you haven’t thought of a name for your baby within the time limit of 42 days then you must still register the birth but the name will be left blank. You have up to one year from the date of registration to decide on a name and enter it on the register.

further information

If you would like more information on registering the birth of your baby contact your local register office. Details can be found in the Yellow Pages under ‘Government Offices’.

certificates and forms

There are two kinds of birth certificate – the long certificate is a full copy of the entry in the register and the short copy only gives the child’s name, date and place of birth. It will not show either of the parent’s names.

When you register the birth you will be given a short certificate, which confirms the entry in the register along with a form to register the baby with a doctor. This is free.

You can ask for extra copies of the birth certificate. You will be charged a small fee for these but they can be very useful. If you are applying for benefits, you will need to send original certificates with your claims, so extra copies may save you time and help you to get any entitlement faster.

There are a number of ways to get copies of birth certificates. You will have to pay for any copies.

in England and Wales

  • go in person to the office where the birth was registered
  • go in person to the

Family Records Centre
1 Myddleton Street

Telephone 0171 233 9233

  • apply by post to the

General Register Office (GRO)
PO Box 2

Telephone 0151 471 4800

  • by telephone/fax from the GRO (if you have a credit card). There are different fax numbers for different surnames so ring first to check which one you need

Telephone 0151 471 4800

If you’re looking for a birth certificate and you don’t have all the information, call the Family Records Centre on 0171 233 9233 for advice.

in Scotland

For births in Scotland you can get up to date information on procedures and fees from

General Register Office for Scotland
New Register House
3 West Register Street

Telephone 0131 334 0380

in Northern Ireland

For births in Northern Ireland you can get up to date information on procedures and fees from

The Registrar General
Oxford House
49-55 Chichester Street
Northern Ireland

Telephone 01232 252 000

In the Republic of Ireland

For births in the Republic of Ireland you can get up to date information on procedures and fees from

The Registrar General
8-11 Lombard Street East
Dublin 2

Telephone 003531 6711 00