People in the UK conduct their registrations for life events in their local register offices. The General Register Office is where the copies of registered births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships in UK are held centrally. It has administrative centers in Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales that branch out in different locations in the country. It is important that registrations be done in the local office of the area where the birth, marriage, or death took place. If you are unable to go to the appropriate district office where the event occurred, you may try any of the district offices in the area and all details shall be duly transferred to the original council office. Registrations can be done in person or by appointment.
To register a birth, you must go to your nearest local register office not more than 42 days of the baby's birth (not more than 21 days in Scotland). All transactions will be held in private. It is crucial that you are clear and precise when stating information as these may be difficult to change in the future. You may have to undergo a series of legal procedures that will cost you time and money if errors were to ensue.
The child must ideally be registered by the parents. If they are married, it can be done by either one of them as long as necessary information about the other can be supplied by completing a statutory declaration form. Otherwise, a re-registration shall be needed in the future containing the particulars of the other parent. If they are unmarried when the child was born, a prescribed legal document that has been signed by the other parent should be presented.
If the parents are not present, the following people can assume the responsibility: a relative from either side of the parents' kin who has knowledge of the birth; owner of the house where the child was born; someone who was in attendance during the delivery; or someone owning guardianship of the child.
Here are the information needed in registering a birth:
- The place and date of the baby's birth
- Baby's name and surname
- Baby's parents' full name, surname, birthplace, and occupation when the baby was born
- Baby's mother's address
- Baby's mother's maiden name
- The date of the baby's parents' marriage and the number of children they currently have.
- If the mother had been married earlier, the number of children she has with the first and consecutive husbands should also be mentioned.
The birth certificate will be issued immediately after the registration process unless you are not in the designated district office, in which case you may have to wait for a few days. The office will only issue a short birth certificate containing the baby's name, surname, sex, birth date and the district of registration free of charge; the complete extract for a fee. You may obtain a certified copy of documents for £3.50 at the registration time or pay the standard fee £7.00 for the full birth certificate and £5.50 for the short birth certificate if you decide to get it at a later time.
In the case of babies born in a foreign country, it is a requisite that registrations be filed in the British High Commission in that country. All records shall be held in the GRO within 12 months of processing and all additional copies can be ordered from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. You cannot, however, register births that occurred in the following countries: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, South Africa and British Overseas Territories.