Skip to main content

Registering a birth

On 1 November 2017 the 'free short birth certificate' was withdrawn. If you require a short birth certificate they are available at the same cost as a full birth certificate.

Births must be registered within 42 days (6 weeks). It is free to register a birth.

Births are always registered within the district where the birth took place. For example, if your child was born in Bedford Hospital they will be registered with Bedford Borough Council's Registration department.

You can however attend any Register Office in England and Wales to give the information required for the registration. This information will be sent to the office where the birth took place (usually by post).

You will not automatically receive a birth certificate.

If you wish to purchase any birth certificates (whether short or full), you will need to call the Register Office where the birth will be registered and order them.

You can book an appointment to register a birth online, or by calling 01234 718 028.

Registering a stillbirth

If you need to register a stillbirth please do not book online. Please telephone 01234 718 028 and ask to speak to a Registrar who can talk you through the process. You can also email us on

Who can register a birth

If the biological parents were married to each other before the baby was born then only one of them needs to attend the appointment to register their child, however they are both welcome to come.

If the biological parents were not married to each other before the baby was born then the mother has to come to the appointment. For the father’s name to appear on the certificate he will usually also need to attend the appointment. If either biological parent cannot attend contact us on 01234 718 028.

For same sex couples it may be possible to have both names appear on the certificate, please contact us on 01234 718 028 if you would like to discuss this with a Registrar.

If none of the above applies please contact us on 01234 718 028 or via before booking an appointment.

In all cases the birth must be registered within 42 days (6 weeks).

What you need to bring

You do not need to bring the child to the appointment, however they are welcome.

The registrar will ask you for the following information;

  • date and place of birth of the child
  • full name of the child
  • full name of the child's parents (and whether you have been known by any other names)
  • mother's maiden name (if applicable)
  • address of child's parents
  • occupation of child's parents
  • parent's dates and places of birth and date of marriage (if applicable)

It will help the Registrar if you can bring any documents with you that confirm the above information.

e.g. passports, council tax bill, driving licences, marriage/civil partnership certificate, birth certificates, deed poll documents.

Details of our privacy policy (Word, 83KB).

Birth certificates

It is free to register a birth. Each certificate (including any short birth certificates) will cost £11.

You may purchase as many certificates as you wish and must pay by card with the Registrar.

Appointments are 30 minutes long.