Registering Births

Registering the birth of your new baby is one duty that can come quite unexpectedly – after all, with the many financial and lifestyle changes that expecting parents must prepare for, it is quite easy to overlook the paperwork that heralds the arrival of a new human into the world.

Fortunately, registering the birth of your new baby is quite straightforward, and the parents have some time to make an appointment with the register office to register the birth. In some cases, you may even be able to register your baby’s birth at the hospital.

Arranging the Birth Registration

To arrange a birth registration, you must make an appointment with a register office, ideally one the covers the district in which the baby was born. If necessary, you can make an appointment at a registry in a different district, as long as it is in England or Wales – however, the birth will not be registered here. The details will be sent to an appropriate register office, and you will have to wait a few days before receiving the birth certificate.

The birth registration must take place within six weeks of the birth itself.

The Birth Registration Process

The process of registering the birth is quite straightforward, and the registrar will guide you through it. You will need to inform the registrar of the following details:

  • The baby’s date of birth
  • The baby’s place of birth
  • The baby’s time of birth (if he or she was one of twins or triplets)
  • The baby’s sex
  • The baby’s full name
  • Your own name and birth details

Once the registration is complete, you will receive a short version of the baby’s birth certificate free of charge. You can buy additional copies in future, as well as longer version of the certificate which include the parents’ details in addition to the baby’s.

Who Can Register a Birth?

Knowing who can register the birth largely depends on the relationship between the parents, if two parents are to be named on the birth certificate.

The parents are married

If the parents are married, the process is straightforward – only one parent needs to be present for the registration, as married parents are automatically given joint parental responsibility.

The parents are not married

If the new baby’s parents are not married, both parents must be involved in the registration process to ensure that both of their names end up on the birth certificate. The most straightforward way to do this is to have both parents present for the birth registration.

However, if this is not possible – and given that the parents have a new baby to watch over, this is quite likely – the parent that does not attend the meeting can fill in a Statutory Declaration of Parentage form, which confirms their relation to the child. The parent that attends the meeting must present this form at the registration.

The other parent does not have to sign anything or attend if a parent has been named as such by a court order or parental responsibility agreement. If the registering parent has obtained such an order, this can be presented at the time of registration to have that the non-attending parent added to the birth certificate.

If neither parent can carry out the registration

It could be that the parents of the new baby are unable to carry out the registration, for some reason – in these unusual circumstances, another individual can register the birth. However, this individual must:

  • Be an occupier of the place at which the baby was born;
  • Be responsible for the child, or;
  • Have been present at the baby’s birth.

If, for some reason, the father of the baby was not named on the birth certificate during registration, the re-registering the birth at a later date may be possible.

Registering Births in Wales

Unlike in the UK, where births must be registered in English, it is possible to have births in Wales registered bilingually, in English and Welsh. Bear in mind that you must be able to give the details in Welsh, and the registrar at the register office must be able to understand and communicate in Welsh.