Register a birth

You must register a birth within 42 days of the child being born in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. You should register the birth of your child at the local register office for the area the baby was born or at the hospital before the mother leaves the hospital. Staff at the hospital will tell you if you are able to register a birth there.

If you’re unable to register the birth in the area where the baby was born, you can go to another register office and they will send your details to the correct register office.

There are different rules for registering a birth in Scotland, registering a birth in Northern Ireland and registering a birth abroad.

Information you need to register a birth

When registering a birth, you should know the following information:

  • place and date of the birth
  • name, surname and sex of the baby
  • parents’ names, surnames and address
  • places and dates of parents’ birth
  • date of parents’ marriage or civil partnership
  • parents’ jobs
  • mother’s maiden surname

You might not need to give all of this information, depending on who is registering the birth.

What you should take to the register office

You should take at least one valid form of identification when you go to the register office. You can use:

  • your passport
  • your birth certificate
  • deed poll
  • your driving licence
  • proof of address (for example, a utility bill)
  • your Council Tax bill
  • your marriage or civil partnership certificate

You should also take your child’s personal child health record or ‘red book’ as some registrars may ask to see it.


If you’re going to the register office on your own, you may need proof of paternity from the other parent before you give their details.

Organisations you need to contact when registering a birth

Having a child may affect your tax and benefits and services from your local council. The Tell Us Once service can report a birth to several government organisations in one go. The registrar will let you know if this service is available in your area.

Bring the following information to your Tell Us Once appointment:

  • the date of birth, address, phone and National Insurance number of the people to be named on the birth register, or of any partner living in the same household
  • details of benefits anyone to be named on the birth register is getting or has applied for
  • details of benefits any partner living in the same household is getting or has applied for

If the Tell Us Once service is not available in your area, you’ll need to:

  • claim Child Tax Credit
  • contact JobCentre Plus about your benefits

Child Benefit

You cannot apply for Child Benefit through the Tell Us Once service but you may be able to have your claim verified at your appointment. This means that you will not have to buy a second birth certificate to send off with your claim form.

Ask your local register office if you can do this when you make your Tell Us Once appointment.