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Registering a Birth

By law you must register a baby's birth within 42 days. The registration itself will take approximately 30 minutes. 

Registering a birth after the 42 days

If a birth occurs in England and Wales and has not been registered within 12 months of its occurrence it is possible for the late registration of the birth to be authorised by the Registrar General provided certain requirements can be met.

Before the Registrar General can authorise a late registration of a birth they must be satisfied by documentary evidence, of the child's exact date and place of birth. There must also be a person available who can attend any Register Office in England and Wales to give the information for the registration. More information about registering a birth and who can do this is available in WHO CAN REGISTER A BIRTH?

To apply for the late registration of an unregistered birth in England, Application for Late Registration (Form C45) should be completed. For an unregistered birth in Wales. Application for Late Registration (C45W) should be completed.

The application form explains in more detail the information you will need to provide and any documents you may need to send, with the completed application form, to enable a late registration of your birth to be considered.

Forms are available from the Corrections & Re-registration Section at the General Register Office on 0300 123 1837.

The completed application form and the documents requested should be sent to the Corrections & Re-registration Section. If you have any questions please contact this section.

No fee is charged for authorising a late registration however, if you want to buy certificates, in addition to the short certificate issued free on registration, the normal certificate fees will apply. You can also obtain certificates locally from the Register Office where the birth was registered.    

The birth should be registered in the district in which the birth occurred. 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 any Registration Office in England and Wales. 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. Certificates of the birth can be ordered and paid for at the time of making the declaration; you will need to pay by cheque or postal order, the current cost is £ 4 per certificate. The certificate will be posted to you by the registrar for the district where the birth took place.

Registering the birth outside the district in which it occurred will result in a short delay in receiving the birth certificate.

Where one or both of the parents are not British you should contact the relevant Embassy or Consulate in this country after registering the birth. Any query regarding British Nationality for a child should be directed to the Home Office, Nationality Division, 3rd Floor, Indian Buildings, Water Street, Liverpool, L2 0QN.

The baby does not need to be taken to the registration office to show that the birth has taken place. The local health authority or the hospital where the birth occurred will notify the Registrar of the birth.

Parents married to each other:

If the mother and father were married to each other at the time of the child's birth, either parent may register.

Parents not married to each other:

If the mother and father are not married to each other at the time of the child's birth, the mother alone may register the birth, but father's details cannot be included unless father is present.  If the unmarried mother registers alone, it is possible to add the father's particulars by re-registration at any future time, should they both agree and they both then attend together to carry out the re-registration.

However, the father's details can only be entered in the register if he is also present at the time of re-registration.

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.

Other people who may register births:

Although the majority of births are registered by the parents, sometimes neither the mother or the father are 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

An important change for unmarried couples - The right to be responsible for your child

The law has changed from 1 December 2003 to make it easier for unmarried fathers to get equal parental responsibility, for both parents to register the birth of your baby together.

        Parental responsibility for your child gives you important legal rights as well as responsibilities. Without it you don't have any right to be involved in decisions such as where they live, their education, religion or medical treatment. With parental responsibility, you are treated in law as the child's parent, and you take equal responsibility for bringing them up.

        Unlike mothers and married fathers, if you are not married to your baby's mother you do not automatically have parental responsibility for them.

Before this change, you could only gain parental responsibility by later marrying the child's mother, signing an official agreement with the mother or getting a court order. You can still get responsibility in these ways - you might want to think about this if you have other children.

The Registrar will see you in private and will ask questions about your baby, and both parents. These will be recorded and you will be asked to check this twice and sign that the information recorded is correct. Please check this information carefully, as it is very difficult to correct this after you have signed. The registration will take about 30 minutes. 
The information detailed below will be required:        

BABY
* Forename(s)
* Surname
* Date of birth
* Place of birth (town)
* Sex
Note: If twins, triplets etc then the time of each baby's birth will be required.

MOTHER
* Forename(s)
* Surname
* Maiden name (if married)
* Date of birth
* Place of birth (town and county)
* Address of mother at time of baby's birth
* Occupation (at the time of baby's birth or if not employed at that time, last previous employment)
* If married to father at time of baby's birth - date of marriage
* No. of previous children

FATHER  (where these details are to be entered in the register - see note above)
* Forename(s)
* Surname
* Date of birth
* Place of birth (town and county)
* Occupation at time of baby's birth, or if not employed at that time, last previous employment

It is important that the information supplied is accurate as any corrections to the register may be difficult to make.

What if I can't speak English?
Please bring someone to help you register together with passports and marriage certificates, where possible. You can ask a friend or relative to come with you but please remember that they cannot come instead of you.

After a birth has been registered, a short birth certificate showing the name, sex, date and district of birth is issued free of charge.

The short certificate meets most ordinary needs but a full (standard) birth certificate, which is a complete copy of the register entry, is also available for a small fee and is required if a person will need to apply for a passport in the future.

Additional short certificates and standard certificates may be purchased at the time of registration or at any time afterwards.

Get a copy of a certificate for a birth already registered.

Registration of a birth and one certified (short) copy of the entry are free of charge.

Copies of the standard certificate can be obtained at the time of registration for a statutory fee of £ 4.00 each, or for  £ 7.00 at a later date. 

Please note, once the actual birth register is completed, and has been passed to the custody of the Superintendent Registrar, the statutory fee is £ 10.00.

Fees are set by Parliament and reviewed regularly. Any register office can tell you the current fees.

All certificates purchased are Crown Copyright and may not be photocopied.

Important information

PLEASE BE AWARE we are experiencing a high volume of calls at the present time. It is likely that you will get through to an answer machine message, please leave one message and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

We would like to express our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused.