10 min read

Registering a birth

It may seem a long way off right now, but before you know it you'll need to register your new baby.

Here is our guide to registering a birth; when, where and who can register a baby’s birth. Along with what details and identification you will need to support the registration.

Below is a list of all you need to know, the only thing we can't help with is the name!

When do you need to register your baby's birth?

In England, Northern Ireland and Wales it is a legal requirement to register a birth within 42 days.

In Scotland, it needs to be within 21 days.

Where can you register a birth?

The baby needs be registered in the district where the birth took place. You can do this at the local registry office after the birth, and sometimes at the hospital before you go home.

If you can’t register the birth in the area where your baby was born, you can go to another registry office and they will send your details to the correct office.

Who can register a birth?

There may be slight variations within England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but as a rule the following should apply:

A child's parents have to register the birth. However, if this is not possible then the following people can register in their place:

  • A relative of the child's mother
  • A relative of the child's father, if the couple are married
  • Someone in permanent residence in the place where the child was born
  • Someone who was present at the birth
  • Someone who has charge of the child

If you’re not married then the father can only register the birth and be indicated on the register if:

  • The couple sign the register together
  • The couple both sign a declaration (available from the registrar's office) indicating the parentage of the child
  • A court finds that the dad is indeed the father

What details will you need to register the birth?

There may be slight variations throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland but as a rule when registering the birth, you should know:

  • place and date of the birth
  • name, surname and sex of the baby
  • parents’ names, surnames and address
  • places and dates of parents’ birth
  • date of parents’ marriage or civil partnership
  • parents’ jobs
  • mother’s maiden surname

You might not need to give all of this information, depending on who is registering the birth.

Take at least 1 form of identification when you go to the registry office. You can bring:

  • passport
  • birth certificate
  • deed poll
  • driving licence
  • proof of address (e.g. utility bill)
  • Council Tax bill
  • marriage or civil partnership certificate

You may need proof of paternity from the other parent before you give their details if they aren’t going to the registry office with you.

If you don't have any of these, the registrar can still register a child's birth. Afterwards, you’ll be provided with a certificate summarising the birth entry, free of charge. However, a full birth certificate can be obtained from the registrar for a fee.

To find your local register office use the finder at the Direct.gov website. 

What you need to do afterwards

You will get what's called a 'short birth certificate' at the registrars and you can either pay for and get a full certificate there and then or take an application form away with you.  It is also possible to get a full certificate online at the General Registry Office (GRO)

The registrar will also give you a registration card, which you will need to register your baby with a doctor.

Note: Whilst we take care to ensure Talking Finance content is accurate at the time of publication, individual circumstances can differ so please don’t rely on it when making financial decisions.

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