When to registerYou should register a birth within 42 days.
If you don't register in this period the register office will write to you to remind you of your legal responsibility.
How to register
The birth must be registered in the register office for the district where the baby was born.
If you have to go to any other register office, the details will be sent to the correct register office and the documentation (e.g. the short birth certificate) will be sent to you.
Who should register
If the parents were married to each other at the time of the birth either the mother or father can register the birth.
If the parents were not married to each other the simplest way is for both parents to attend to register together. If this is not possible there are 3 other ways the fathers details can be registered:
- The father fills in a declaration form to confirm he is the father and the mother gives this form to the register office. Copies of the form are available at all register offices.
- The mother fills in a declaration form confirming the fathers details and the father registers the birth at the register office alone.
- In some cases a court order will be made naming the father. In this case the mother can register the birth alone but please contact the register office first.
If neither the mother nor the father are able to attend, registration can be undertaken by one of these people:
- the occupier of the house or hospital where the child was born
- someone who was present at the birth
- someone who is responsible for the child
What surname can the child be given?
The mother of the child can give the child any first and surname she chooses. She may give the child the fathers surname if she wants and she does not need the fathers permission to do this.
A man registered on the birth certificate as the father of the child has no right to insist that the child is given a particular name, for example, his surname.
A married couple can also choose any surname for their child. It does not have to be the name of either of the parents.
Once a surname has been recorded it can only be changed if:
- the parents apply to re-register the baby because they were not married when the babys birth was first registered and the fathers details were not recorded, or
- the parents marry each other after the child was born. The birth must be re-registered in this case even if the baby was given the fathers surname when the babys birth was first registered.
What information will the register office need?
About the baby
- The date of the babys birth (if the baby is one of twins the time of the birth is also needed)
- The place of the babys birth
- The sex of the child
- The forename(s) and surname
About the father
- His forename and surname
- His date and place of birth
- His occupation or if not employed at that time, the last occupation
About the mother
- Her forename and surname
- Maiden surname if the mother is, or has been, married
- Her date and place of birth
- Her occupation or if not employed at that time, the last occupation
- The date of the marriage, if the parents of the baby were married to each other at the time of the birth
- The number of children the mother has had previously by her present husband and any former husband
What documents will the register office issue?
- A short birth certificate free of charge. This shows the name(s) and surname, sex and date and district of birth of the child.
- Full birth certificates that show the parents details are also available to buy.
- A FP58 form will be given to you so that the child can be included on the doctors list. You should give this form to the doctors surgery as soon as possible. You will only get one copy of this form.