How to register a birth

As parents, you are legally required to register a 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. You can book an appointment online. The registration appointment will take approximately 20 to 30 minutes.

The birth must be registered in the registration district in which it occurred. Babies born in Nottingham hospitals such as City 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 the short free birth certificate and any extra certificates you request will be sent to you by post.

Who can register a birth?

Only the parent(s) can register a birth. If you are married to each other, either of the child's parents may register the birth. Should circumstances not allow either parent to attend to register the birth in person within 42 days, please seek further advice from your local register office.

If the parents are not married to each other at the time of the birth, the father’s details can only be entered into the register if either:

  • both parents attend together
  • a statutory declaration or 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.

What to take 

  • 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?

  • you will receive a short, free birth certificate showing the child's full name and date of birth only
  • full certificates, showing the parents' details, are also available from the registrar but after this day all additional copies will be more expensive (see Cost)

Please note that, for all purposes nowadays, only the full birth certificate is generally accepted. 

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 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 full certificates can be found on our fees page.

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