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How to Register a Birth in the UK

Find out how and when to register a birth in the United Kingdom? There are different procedures for registering the birth of a baby - it depends where the infant was born.

REGISTERING A BABY: There are strict rules about birth registration in the UK.

The parents of a newborn must register the birth within 42 days of a baby being born.

The 42 days registration rule applies to England, Wales, and in Northern Ireland. But, you must register a child’s birth within 21 days if the baby is born in Scotland.

You should register a birth at the local register office. Ideally this should be in the same area where the baby was born.

You can also sign at an alternative register office for the birth registration. In this case, they will then forward the details to the appropriate office.

In some cases you can register the birth of your child at the hospital. You must complete the birth registration before the child’s mother leaves the hospital. Check with the nursing staff because not all hospitals allow you to register the birth with them.

Note: The rules differ for registering a birth in Northern Ireland and in Scotland. You also need to follow a specific set of rules to register a birth abroad.

Information Needed to Register a Birth

You should prepare some family history information before you register the birth of your baby. You may not need all the information listed, but as a rule the register office will want to know:

  • Place and date of childbirth.
  • Name, surname, and gender of the baby.
  • Surnames and address of the parents.
  • Birth places and dates of the parents.
  • Date of the parents’ marriage or civil partnership.
  • Occupation of the parents.
  • Mother’s maiden surname.

Identification Needed to Register a Birth

You can use several different forms of identification at the register office. The identification needed to register a birth can be your:

  • When and How to Register a Birth in the United KingdomPassport or a birth certificate.
  • Certificate of marriage or civil partnership.
  • Deed poll.
  • Driving licence or a proof of address (e.g. your utility bill).
  • Council Tax bill.

The registrar may also ask to see the personal child health record. You might know it as the ‘red book’.

Note: If you plan to register the birth by yourself, they may ask for proof of paternity from the other parent.

Using ‘Tell Us Once’ Service

As a rule, having children affects your benefits entitlements and personal taxes. The birth of a baby may also affect certain services offered by your local council.

The Tell Us Once service is an easy way to report the birth of a child to several government organisations at one time. The registrar will inform you whether the ‘Tell Us Once’ service is available in your region.

If you use the Tell Us Once service make sure to take the right information to your appointment:

  • The date of birth, address, phone and National Insurance number of the people named on the birth register. This may also be any civil partner living in the same household.
  • Details of all benefits that the persons named on the birth register gets or has applied for.
  • Details of all benefits that any partner living in the same household gets or has applied for.

Note: What if the Tell Us Once service is unavailable in your local area? You will need to claim Child Tax Credit or contact JobCentre Plus for benefits.

How to Claim Child Benefit after Registering a Birth

The Tell Us Once service does not allow you to apply for Child Benefit after registering a birth. But, they can verify your claim during your appointment with them.

It means you can avoid having to buy a second birth certificate for the claim form. Your local registrar can confirm whether this is possible.

Who Can Register a Birth in United Kingdom

Opposite-sex Couple

Married Parents: Have the option that any parent can sign the register on their own. The certificate may include the details of both parents. But, only if the parents were in married status when they conceived the baby or when it was born.

Unmarried Parents: The certificate can include both parents’ details providing one of these occur:

  • The unmarried parents sign the register together.
  • One parent takes a statutory declaration of parentage form signed by the other parent.
  • One parent registers using a document from the court (e.g. court order) giving parental responsibility to the father.

Click to download the Statutory Declaration of Parentage‘ form on the government website.

The mother can perform the registration on her own, even if she is not married to the father of the child. In this case the certificate will not include the details of the father. Adding the father’s details later may be possible by applying to re-register the birth.

Click to download the ‘Application for the Re-registration of a Birth‘ form on the government website.

Same-sex Female Couple

Female Couples: Two females can include both names on the registration certificate for their child.

Married or Civil-partner Parents: Any of the female parents can register on her own, but only if both of the following apply:

  1. The mother has a child by donor insemination or fertility treatment.
  2. She was already married or in a civil partnership at the time of the treatment.

Unmarried Non-civil-partner Parents: What happens if a mother is not married or not in a civil partnership? In this case her partner gets considered as the second parent of the child if both women:

  • Get treated together by a licensed clinic in the United Kingdom.
  • Have both made a ‘parenthood agreement’.

There are certain other rules to consider in these cases. The details of both parents only get recorded if one of the following applies:

  • Both parents register the birth together.
  • One parents takes a ‘Statutory declaration of acknowledgement of parentage’ form to the registration.
  • One parent uses a court to show the second female parent has parental responsibility.

Same-sex Male Couple

Male Couples: Two males need a parental order before registering as parents. You can get this document from the court.

What if the Parents Cannot Register the Birth?

There may be medical reasons, or others, why the parents are unable to register a birth of their child. In this case registration may occur by other people, such as:

  • A person who was present at the birth.
  • Someone considered to be responsible for the child.
  • A member of the hospital administrative staff where childbirth took place.

Types of Birth Certificates

There are two types of birth certificates after you have registered the birth of your child. The registrar issues the short version or the full version for a fee of £11.

  1. The short version birth certificate contains only the details of the baby.
  2. The full version birth certificate contains details about the parents as well.

Registering the birth of a child in the same area means you get the certificate straight away. It usually takes a few days to receive the certificate if you register the birth in a different region.

The register office will sell extra copies of the birth certificate any time you want to buy them. They also sell the full version birth certificates for those who are willing to pay for them.

How to Register the Birth of a Baby in United Kingdom