Register of Births

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The following information applies generally to the United Kingdom of Great Britain, and specifically to the Register of Births in England and Wales. Scotland and Northern Ireland may have variations on the text below.

A birth should be added to the Register of Birth at the local Register Office. This is located in the District where the event took place.

The surname that a baby is given would usually be the surname of either the mother or the father. The baby can be given the father's surname even if the father is not present at the registering, and if the parents are not married to each other. After the surname has been registered, only in certain circumstances can the surname be changed.

There has been legislation in effect since December 1st, 2003 which has helped enable equal parental responsibility for fathers who are not married to the mother of the child. From the date above, all that is required is that both mother and father jointly attend the registering of the birth of their baby.

Further information which may be requested by the Registrar, but will not appear on any birth certificate, nor be recorded in the register is the amount of children the mother had prior to the birth of her new child, whether any still-births had occurred, and the date of marriage if the parents are married at the event of birth.

If there are any previous children, it is recommended that their birth certificates, if available, should be brought also to register, as also parental identification, such as their own birth certificates and passports.

After registration, a birth certificate is issued, which is often a short birth certificate. For a certificate which has all the information supplied at the time of registration, a full birth certificate is required.

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