How to register a birth
As parents of your new-born child, you are legally required to register the birth. You need to register your baby’s birth in order to obtain a birth certificate and give him/her an official identity. You can then use the certificate to claim child benefit and other family-related benefits. By law, you must register the birth of your child within 42 days (six weeks) of the date of birth.
Registering a birth
To register a birth, please contact your local register office to make an appointment.
The birth must be registered in the registration district in which it occurred. Babies born in Nottingham City Hospital or Queen's Medical Centre can be registered in any Nottinghamshire office.
If you would prefer to register the birth outside of Nottinghamshire, details of the birth may be given at any other register office in England and Wales by making a declaration. However, there will be a delay in such cases since any birth certificates you request will be sent to you by post.
Who can register a birth?
If you were married to each other at the time of the baby’s birth, either of you may attend to register. Should circumstances not allow either parent to attend in person within 42 days, please seek further advice from your local register office.
If you were not married to each other at the time of your child’s birth, the father’s details can only be entered into the register if either:
- both parents attend together or
- one of you makes a ‘Statutory declaration of acknowledgement of parentage’ or a relevant court order has been made
If the father’s details are not recorded at the time of registration, it may be possible to do this at a later date by re-registering the birth. Parents who subsequently marry each other are required to apply for the birth to be re-registered as a result of that marriage.
Same-sex female couples
Same-sex couples can now become equal legal parents of children they conceive together or conceive through a surrogate.
Married or civil partner parents
Female couples who are married or civil partners at the time of conception and conceive a child together through artificial insemination will both automatically be treated as their child’s legal parents. In such cases, either parent may register the birth.
Unmarried parents or not in a civil partnership
Female couples who are not married or civil partners at the time of conception but conceive a child together through a fertility clinic in the UK licensed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority may also be treated as their child’s legal parents. In such cases, the mother may register the birth alone, but the second parent’s details can only be recorded in the register if either
- they attend to register together or
- the mother or second parent makes a ‘Statutory declaration of acknowledgement of parentage’
Same-sex male couples
Different options are available to same-sex male couples depending on their specific circumstances.
Further information can be obtained from the Stonewall website - guide to 'Parenthood for same-sex couples'.
What to bring with you to your appointment
- your own personal identification e.g. passport, Council Tax Demand, driving licence or proof of address such as a utility bill
- the Red Book (this can occasionally be helpful but is generally not needed)
What documents will be given?
From 1 November 2017 the first short birth certificate issued at registration will no longer be free. All certificates (short and full) requested at the time of registration will be chargeable. Certificates requested at a later date will cost more. Please see our Fees page.
Please note that, for all official purposes, only the full birth certificate is accepted.
What happens at the appointment?
The appointment will last about 20 minutes. You will be asked basic questions about the parents and the child. You will then be asked to check and sign the completed entry in the birth register to confirm that all the information given by you is correct.
Any errors found at a later date can only be changed in accordance with the legal procedures. From 01/11/2017 there will be a statutory fee of £75 or £90 (depending on circumstances) for the consideration of a correction, regardless of whether your request is successful or not.
Tell us once
We can help you with informing local and central government departments who need to be notified of the birth of your baby.
By taking part in the 'Tell Us Once' service, we can notify the departments listed below of the birth on your behalf:
- Child Benefit
- Employment Support Allowance
- Families Information Service
- Housing and Council Tax Benefit
- Incapacity Benefit
- Income Support
- Job Seekers Allowance
- Tax credits.
The Tell Us Once service is provided straight after the registration of a birth, so you won't even need to leave the register office, and it will reduce the amount of time you will need to spend contacting these government departments individually.
Please note: the Tell Us Once service does not generate applications for allowances or benefits. It will only notify the requested departments of the birth. Any claims for tax credits or benefits will need to be submitted by the parents themselves to the relevant department.
However, for Child Benefit, if you bring a fully completed child benefit form, the Registrar can verify the child's date of birth and send this to HMRC for you, which will speed up the processing of this benefit application.
There is no charge to register a birth. The cost of certificates can be found on our fees page.