Congratulations on your new arrival! The birth of a baby is a special and exciting time but don’t forget to register the birth.
All births in England, Wales and Northern Ireland must be registered within 42 days (six weeks) of the child being born.
You should do this at the local register office for the area where the baby was born. If your baby was born in North Lincolnshire you must make an appointment to visit the register office in Scunthorpe. To make an appointment please contact the Register Office on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01724 298555.
If you cannot register the birth in the area where the baby was born, you can go to another register office and they will send your details to the correct office. This is called 'making a declaration'.
What happens at the register office when I register a birth?
You will be interviewed privately and the registrar will ask you:
- Where and when the birth took place (if the birth is one of twins or triplets, for example, the time of each baby's birth will also be required)
- The sex of the baby
- The full names the baby will be brought up in
- The parents' full names and any previous names they may have used
- Dates and places of birth of both parents
- The addresses and occupations of both parents
It is helpful if you bring the baby's NHS number with you.
The names you give your baby are recorded in the birth register and the surname cannot be changed other than by re-registration or adoption.
There is no charge to register your baby. Once you have registered the birth, you can buy a certificate.
From 1 November 2017, there will no longer be a free short birth certificate issued following a birth registration.
You may, if you wish, buy a full birth certificate in order to apply for a passport or open a bank account. This shows the place of birth and parents' details. You can buy one of these at the time of registration for £4. Payment can be made by debit or credit card or by cheque. Please note that we do not take cash payments.
If you buy one at a later date, it will be more expensive and you should call to check the fee before applying. You can buy extra birth certificates from the register office at any time.
If you register the birth in the area where it took place, you will receive the birth certificate straight away. If you register the birth in another area, you will receive a birth certificate in a few days.
Who can register a birth?
If the parents are a married couple, only one parent has to come into the office to register the baby.
If an unmarried mother wishes to include the baby's father's details into the registration, he has to accompany her when registering. If the father is unable to attend, he can complete a statutory declaration of parentage form and the mother can take the signed form with her to register the birth.
If both parents are named in the birth entry, they will both have equal parental responsibility for the child.
You can download a 'statutory declaration of acknowledgement of parentage form' from the Government website.
The mother can choose to register the birth on her own if she is not married to the child’s father. The father’s details will not be included on the birth certificate.
It might be possible to add the father’s details at a later date by completing an ‘Application form to re-register a child’s birth’ .
Male couples must get a parental order from the court before they can be registered as parents.
Female couples can include both their names on their child’s birth certificate when registering the birth.
The rules vary depending on whether or not the couple are married or in a civil partnership.
Please visit the Government website or contact the register office for further information.
Other people who can register a birth
If the parents cannot register the birth (for example due to medical reasons), the following other people can do it:
- Someone who was present at the birth
- Someone who is responsible for the child
- A member of the administrative staff at the hospital where the child was born
Adding a forename after registration (within 12 months of birth)
Within the first 12 months after a birth has been registered, the law allows for a child’s forenames to be added, dropped, spelled differently or the order of names changed. This service is for first or middle names only (not surnames). Please contact the Register Office for more details. From 1 November 2017, the fee is £40.
Errors in birth entries
When you attend to register a birth, the details are entered in a register. You are always asked to check the entry carefully before signing the register.
Once the register has been signed by you and the registrar, it is deemed to be a legal record and cannot be changed easily.
There is a legal process to follow involving the production of supporting evidence before any correction can be considered. Some corrections can be authorised by registration staff at the Register Office, but others have to be submitted to the Registrar General for consideration and authorisation.
From 1 November 2017 the following charges will apply for any corrections where the informant has supplied incorrect information:
- £75 where the correction can be authorised locally
- £90 where the correction must be submitted to the Registrar General
If English is not your first language, you can ask a friend or relative to help and attend the office with you, but you must register the birth in person.