All births in England, Wales and Northern Ireland must be registered within 42 days of the child being born. 

You should do this at the local register office for the area where your baby was born. Type in the postcode of the place where you had the baby and you will be provided with a list of all the relevant register offices. 

Register office opening hours vary from one district to another and most operate an appointment system. Allow about half an hour to complete the registration process once you are with the registrar. 

If you can't register the birth in the county where your baby was born, you can go to another register office, they will send your details to the correct office and you will receive the birth certificate a few days later. 

Information you need when registering a birth

When registering the birth, you should know: 

  • place and date of the birth 
  • name, surname and sex of the baby 
  • parents' names, surnames and address 
  • places and dates of parents' birth 
  • date of parents' marriage or civil partnership 
  • parents' jobs 
  • mother's maiden surname 

You might not need to give all of this information, depending on who is registering the birth. 

What you should take

You should take at least one form of identification when you go to the register office. 

You can use: 

  • Passport 
  • Birth certificate 
  • Deed poll 
  • Driving licence 
  • Proof of address 
  • Council Tax bill 
  • Marriage or civil partnership certificate 

You should also take your child's personal child health record/red book as some registrars may ask to see it. 

Who can register the birth?

It is expected that either or both of the parents will register their child's birth. If the parents of the child are married then either mum or dad can provide the information to the registrar who will register that the child was born. However, if they are not married:

  • Mum will provide all the required information to the registrar, even if she is younger than 16 years.

  • Dad can provide the information, but only if he has the agreement of mum. This agreement must be given by signing a declaration (Form DPM) and dad must also sign a declaration (Form 27).

  • Since 2006, if an unmarried dad jointly registers the birth of a child with its mum, he will automatically acquire parental responsibilities and rights towards the child.