Article: Registering the Birth

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Amidst the general excitment and chaosHand picture following the arrival of a new baby, you have a legal obligation, under the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953, to register the birth of your child within 42 days if you are living anywhere in England or Wales. Sometimes this can be done at the hospital, but generally it takes place at a register office. You can go to any register office to give information for the registration, although the process is quicker if you attend one which covers the district within which your baby was born. If you go to one outside of this area then the registrar will need to forward the information to the district where the birth took place, as this is where the birth certificate must be sent from.


To find your local register office, look in your local phone book or visit your appropriate council or London Borough website. You normally need to make an appointment, and the registration process takes approximately half an hour to complete once you are with the registrar. You will not be required to take anything with you to the registration, although you will be required to give information on yourself as well as your child, e.g. names, date and place of birth, address, date of marriage etc.


If the parents are married then either parent can register the birth. If the parents are not married to each other and the mother would like the father's details to be entered in the birth register, then both parents can sign the register together. For more information please click here. If the mother and father get married after the birth has been registered, then a re-registration will be required. For further information on this and other changes to the birth record, please click here.


Once the registrar has all the appropriate information, you will be asked to check the record and sign it. You will then be handed one short birth certificate free of charge, which contains details of the baby's name, sex and date and district of birth. A full birth certificate containing all the information in the register is available to buy, as are further short birth certificates.


From 1st April 2009, you will no longer receive a registration card (form FP58) when you apply for a birth certificate. This form was previously used to register your child with your local surgery. Instead, you will simply need your child's NHS Number (provided to you following the birth of your child) which should be included on the GP Practice's GMS1 form when you register.


For all other information regarding registration of the birth of your child, please click here.


You will need the birth certificate for a number of other reasons including applying for a child passport (full birth certificate), and receiving Child Benefit (short birth certificate).


Please click here to find out more about financial entitlements following the birth.


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