How to apply for a certificate
Beware of purchasing expensive certificates online: a number of websites are offering customers the chance to buy certificates which range in price from £19 to £60. Obtaining a certificate from the relevant register office is a straightforward process and is usually fairly quick, either same day or within a day or two by post.
To obtain a certified copy of a register entry, applications can be made either in person at, or in writing to, your local register office.
Personal callers at the register office are sometimes able to receive their certificate while they wait, but please see "Same Day Service" information below. Postal applications for certificates are generally processed in 3-5 days. This may vary depending on the level of information supplied.
Please be aware that, for various reasons, applications for certified copies of older records do often take longer to search.
Please note: a birth certificate of an adopted person cannot be obtained from the local Register Office since these records are held centrally for England and Wales. For more information on this, visit www.direct.gov.uk.
Applicants for certified copies of register entries must be able to provide the following details:
the full names and surname of the person whose certificate is required (no search can be undertaken without this information)
the date and place of the event (in the case of a religious marriage, this should include the actual building/church)
any other names, such as a maiden name, where relevant.
Fees and postage
Certificates for recent events (from a Registrar of Births and Deaths)
A free, short birth certificate is issued by the Registrar at the time of registration. Additional short and full birth certificates, requested on the day of registration, cost £4.
Death certificates, at the time of registration, are also £4.
From a Registrar after the day of registration (for a limited time) certificates cost £7.
From the Superintendent Registrar or from an archived register:
- Standard Service (dispatched within 4 working days) costs £10
- Express Service (same day issue for personal callers / 1st class post for telephone applications) costs £20.
Please note: Telephone applications will be charged at the Express Service rate.
Cheques or postal orders should be in pounds sterling and made payable to 'Superintendent Registrar'. Please write your full postal address on the reverse.
If applying for more than one certificate (particularly from older records) it is advisable to send a separate cheque/postal order for each certificate, in case it is not possible to locate all the entries required.
Please also enclose a stamped addressed envelope.