Registering your baby’s birth

In England and Wales you must register the birth of your baby within 42 days (six weeks) of the birth. In most areas, you will need to make an appointment at your local registry office although in some areas you are able to do this at the hospital before leaving to come home.

You are supposed to register the birth in the same district as the birth took place, however, in extreme circumstances where this cannot happen you are allowed to go to another office if pre-arranged and discussed with the registrar. The registrar will take all the information required and then send it to the correct district; you will then be sent your baby’s certificate in the post.

Upon leaving the hospital, you should be given information by your midwife on how and where to register your baby’s birth. You can also find out more information on locations of offices at www.directgov.uk. You will need to contact your local registry office to arrange an appointment. Opening times vary between offices.

If the parents of the baby are married, either parent can register the birth. If the parents are not married and want both parents to be named on the Birth Certificate, then both parents need to attend together and sign the relevant paperwork. However, if only one parent can attend, it is possible to complete a statutory declaration form which needs to be given to the registrar when the other parent is registering the birth.

It usually takes about 30 minutes to register the birth of your baby and you will be given a short copy of the birth certificate which you will need to keep safe as there are many reasons why you will need to show this certificate including when claiming benefits.  You will also be offered the chance to purchase a copy of the full birth certificate. It is advisable that you purchase this as you may need this documentation during your child’s life.

by Jenny, mum to William and James

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