We explain the when, why, how and who of registering your baby's birth once they make their arrival into the world.
Where, when and why?
Once your baby arrives you'll need to register his or her birth, this is not only a legal requirement but is a means for you to get the official documentation you need to claim child benefit and register your baby for medical care from your GP. If you live in England or Wales you need to do this within 42 days of your baby's arrival, if you live in Scotland you have only 21 days.
Fortunately most hospitals will help you to register the birth of your child before you are discharged, however in some circumstances this isn't possible. In this instance you'll need to visit the local registry office and register the birth of your baby yourself. Your baby's arrival needs to be registered in the district where they made their appearance into the world (regardless of whether this is your home town) so ideally you'll visit the corresponding registry office. If this isn't possible you can go to another registry office and the registrar will forward the details for you. However, it is worth noting that if your baby was born in England or Wales they'll need to be registered in England or Wales and if they were born in Scotland they'll need to be registered in Scotland.
If you do need to register your baby's birth at a registry office you'll usually need to make an appointment. For information on locating your local registry office click here
If mother and father are married at the time of conception or when their baby is born, either can register the birth. However, if the mother and father are not married (regardless of whether they live together) the procedure is slightly different.
In unmarried couples both mother and father have an equal right to have their name on the birth certificate and from then on to have legal parental rights and responsibilities for their child. However, in this instance its necessary for both mother and father to go and register their child's birth together. If it is not possible for both to attend for whatever reason either mother or father can register the birth alone, however, they will need to take with them a statutory declaration signed by the other parent. For more information on this click here
. In certain circumstances it is possible to add the fathers details later on if they were not included in the original registration process.
What information you need?
Information about your baby
- You will need to include the place and date of your baby's birth, whether they are a boy or a girl and what you have chosen as their forenames and surnames.
Information about the mother
- The mother will need to include both her forenames and current surname along with her maiden name (if applicable). Her date and place of birth, occupation, current address, date of marriage and details of any other children (again, if applicable).
Information about the father
- The father will need to include his forenames and surname along with his date and place of birth, current occupation and present address (if it is different to the mother's).
What documentation do you need?
You don't need any official documentation to register your baby's arrival, however it can help to bring your hospital discharge slip if available. Once you have registered your baby's birth you will be given a copy of your baby's birth certificate and a registration card that will allow you to register them for medical care. If you would like additional copies of your baby's birth certificate these can be purchased at an additional cost from the registry office.
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