Registering a Birth

By law you must register a baby's birth within 42 days.

We appreciate that during COVID lockdown this was not possible but if this applies to you please book a birth appointment online.

If the birth was in Cumbria

The birth should be registered in the district in which the birth happened.  The service points for Cumbria are shown here - Cumbria Registration Service Points

If the birth happened outside Cumbria but within England or Wales

  • The birth should be registered in the district in which the birth happened
  • If you can't go to the district where the birth took place, the information for the registration may be given in any Registration Office in England and Wales
  • The information will be completed on a form of declaration and sent to the district where the birth happened
  • The office who receives the declaration will enter the information in the birth register
  • Certificates can be ordered and paid for at a later date by contacting the office where the birth has been entered in the register
  • The certificates will be posted to you
  • Registering the birth outside the district in which it occurred will result in a delay in receiving the birth certificate.

If the birth happened outside England or Wales

  • Please contact The General Register Office for advice on 0300 123 1837

Other information

  • Where one or both of the parents are not British you should contact the relevant Embassy or Consulate in this country after registering the birth. Any query regarding British Nationality for a child should be directed to the Home Office, Nationality Division, 3rd Floor, Indian Buildings, Water Street, Liverpool, L2 0QN.
  • The baby does not need to be taken to the registration office to show that the birth has taken place. The local health authority or the hospital where the birth happened will notify the Registrar of the birth.
  • We would ask that babies and other children do not attend the office unless you have no other childcare option.

If baby's parents are married to each other

If baby's parents are married to each other, they can attend together or either parent can register on their own.

If baby's parents were married at the time of birth, both mother and father automatically have parental responsibility.

As we try to keep numbers to a minimum in our interview rooms, we would ask if parents are married to each other that only one parent attends the appointment to register the birth. 

If baby's parent's are not married to each other

The mother has automatic parental responsibility and may register the birth on her own but is not able to add fathers details.

It is generally in your baby's best interests to have the father's details included in the entry.  If this is not possible at the time of registration it may be possible for this to be done at a later date.

Fathers details can only be entered in to the register in the following circumstances:

Where both mother and father attend together to register the birth

or

Where father can't attend with the mother, it is possible for him to make a statutory declaration acknowledging his paternity which would be produced to the Registrar.  You can get copies of this form from any office in England or Wales.  The mother will also have to make a declaration at the time of registration

or

In extreme circumstances where the mother is unable to attend the Registration Office with the father, it is possible for her to make a statutory declaration acknowledging the fathers paternity, which the father should then produce to the Registrar.  He will also have to make a declaration at the time of Registration

or

Where mother and father have made a parental responsibility agreement or either of you has obtained an appropriate court order this should be produced to the Registrar and the birth registered by either of you to include the father's details.

If you and your female partner are the baby's parents, as provided for by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008, the references above to father and marriage should be read as meaning female partner and civil partnership or marriage respectively.

If both parents wish to attend jointly to register the birth we would ask that where possible the baby and any other children do not attend the office with you.

Other people who may register births:

Although most births are registered by the parents, sometimes neither the mother or the father are able to do this. In these circumstances, the registrar will arrange for the registration to be completed by whichever of the following people is best able to do so:                     

  • the occupier of the house or hospital where the child was born
  • a person who was present at the birth
  • a person who is responsible for the child

The right to be responsible for your child

Since 1 December 2003 the law has made it easier for unmarried fathers to get equal parental responsibility, for both parents to register the birth of your baby together.

Parental responsibility for your child gives you important legal rights as well as responsibilities. Without it you don't have any right to be involved in decisions such as where they live, their education, religion or medical treatment. With parental responsibility, you are treated in law as the child's parent, and you take equal responsibility for bringing them up.

Unlike mothers and married fathers, if you are not married to your baby's mother you do not automatically have parental responsibility for them.

Before this change, you could only gain parental responsibility by later marrying the child's mother, signing an official agreement with the mother or getting a court order. You can still get responsibility in these ways - you might want to think about this if you have other children.

The Registrar will see you in private and will ask questions about your baby, and both parents.  These will be recorded and you will be asked to check this twice and sign that the information recorded is correct.

Please check this information carefully, as it is very difficult to correct this after you have signed.  The registration will take about 30 minutes. 

You will need the following information:        

Baby

  • The birth notification provided by the hospital
  • Date and place of birth (if twins, triplets etc then the time of each baby's birth will be required)
  • Whether the baby is a boy or a girl
  • The forenames and surname in which it is intended that the baby will be brought up with
  • A baby may be registered with any surname but if the surname is not the mother's or father's this may cause difficulties for the child in later life
  • If the parents are not married to each other and the baby is registered in the mothers surname it may be changed to the fathers surname later if the couple marry and subsequently re-register the birth
  • If a baby of unmarried parents is given the fathers surname this can not be changed at a later date

Mother

  • Your forenames and surnames at the time of the birth
  • Any other names you may have used
  • Your maiden surname if you are or have been married previously
  • Your date and place of birth
  • Your usual address at the date of the birth
  • Your occupation (job).  If you have been employed at any time before the birth this occupation can be used if you wish
  • If you were married to baby's father at the time of the birth you will be asked for the date of marriage
  • The number of previous children
  • Any documents such as passport or birth certificate to confirm these details are helpful during the registration

Father (where his details are being recorded)

  • Forenames and surnames at the time of the birth
  • Any other name he may have used
  • Date and place of birth
  • Occupation at the time of baby's birth, or if not employed at that time, his last occupation (job)
  • Any documents such as passport or birth certificate to confirm these details are helpful during the Registration

 

It is important that the information supplied is accurate as any corrections to the register may be difficult to make.

What if I can't speak English? 

Please bring someone to help you register together with passports and marriage certificates, where possible. You can ask a friend or relative to come with you but please remember that they cannot come instead of you.

  • A face covering - up to date guidance can be found through Gov.uk
  • A Pen to sign the registration - blue or black biro is fine
  • A payment card in your name to pay for any certificates you wish to order
  • Birth notification paperwork issued by the hospital to confirm your baby's birth
  • We recommend that each parent/informant brings a form of identification to the registration as this is a legal document and it is essential that the information recorded is correct.


Registration of a birth is free of charge.

Birth certificates can be purchased at a cost of £11 each.

During the registration the Registrar will confirm how many certificates you need and give these to you on the day.

To buy a Birth Certificate after the time of registration please order a certificate online.

 

During the registration you will be asked by the registrar to check the information recorded in the register is correct.  It is important that you take the time to make sure you have given the correct information, but also that the registrar has recorded it correctly.

After the registration has been completed and you have signed the document, any applications to correct the entry will have a charge.

A charge of £75 will be made to consider the request at your local registration office or alternatively if the request for a correction has to be made to the General Register Office then a fee of £90 will apply.

Payment of this fee does not guarantee the correction will be granted and fees paid will not be refunded if the request is denied.

Fees are set by Parliament and reviewed regularly.

All certificates purchased are Crown Copyright and may not be photocopied.

  • Book a birth appointment online
  • If you can't book an appointment online, telephone: 0300 303 2472
  • If your baby was not born in Cumbria please read the section below on Where do I register a birth.

Please bear with us as we experience high call volumes.  We highly recommend booking online if you are able to do so.


Cumbria Registration Service takes the welfare of you and our team very seriously.  We can confirm that safety measures are in place, so are now able to offer appointments to register the birth of your baby.  Our offices reopened on Monday 20 July 2020.

We need your help to make sure we can provide you with the services you need as safely as possible.  Please read the following notes very carefully.

What you need to know or do before the appointment:

  • Do not attend your appointment if you or anyone in your household has COVID or displayed symptoms of COVID in the last 14 days.  In these circumstances, please contact our office
  • Make sure you allow enough time for parking and confirmation of your arrival at our office 
  • Do not arrive more than 5 minutes before your appointment time as you may risk crossing with other customers
  • Do not arrive late as we will not be able to see you safely and perform our cleaning and safety checks in time for the next client.  You will need to book a further appointment.
  • Please wear a facemask or face covering to offer protection in public areas.  In your appointment, the officer will have a screen around the desk.  You may also want to wear gloves for your own protection
  • Toilet facilities or baby changing facilities will not be available for public use
  • Our officers will wash or sanitise their hands between each appointment, and we will wipe down desks and chairs before you enter the room and waiting area
  • Please bring your own pen with you to reduce any risk of cross infection.  Blue or black biro is fine
  • Prepare any documents you need to bring with you carefully, these are noted below.


Only those legally required to attend the appointment should come to our office:

  • If baby's mum and dad were married to each other at the time of the birth, only one of you should attend
  • If mum and dad were not married to each other at the time of the birth and mum is happy for dads details to be on the registration then you both must attend together
  • If only mums details are going on the registration then only mum should attend
  • No children or babies should attend the appointment with you unless you have no alternative support or childcare 

Arriving and leaving:

  • Follow the signs around the building and listen carefully to any safety instructions given by our officers
  • When you arrive, you will be asked to use hand sanitiser before moving through the building.  We would recommend doing this again as you leave for your personal protection
  • You may be asked to wait in a specific waiting area.  Please do not wander from this area.  Our layout has been carefully planned to keep everyone as safe as possible
  • For the time you are in our building, please observe social distancing at all times of 2 metres
  • When you leave the building the officer will explain how to exit.  Please carefully follow this guidance as there may be a one way flow which means you exit through a different door than when you arrived. 

During the appointment:

  • The full details of the registration will be taken when you come to see us
  • It is important that the registration is completed accurately.  Take care to have all the correct information and spelling available.  When you come to sign the registration page, it is your responsibility to make sure you have given the information correctly and that it has been recorded correctly.  If there are any future corrections needed there is likely to be a charge of £90
  • You can buy certificates of the birth registration at your appointment at a cost of £11 each.  Payment is by card only.  We are not accepting cash or cheques at this time
  • If you can't pay by card, you can order the certificates at a later date online or by telephone.  Perhaps you know someone who could order these and pay on your behalf
  • The documents we ask you to bring are for your own use at the appointment.  The Registrar will not touch these documents.  You will need to look at them and find the information needed.  If we need to see something we will just ask you to hold it up to the screen
  • When we need you to sign the register page it will be attached to a clip board and passed to you through the screen.

Please contact Cumbria Certificate Services for additional copies of births registered in Cumbria.  

For certificates of births that were registered outside Cumbria and for all adoption certificates please contact General Register Office.

For all certificates for births registered prior to 1837 please contact the Archive Centre

Corrections and Re-registrations

We recommend that each parent/informant brings a form of identification to the registration as this is a legal document and it is essential that the information recorded is correct.

During the registration you will be asked by the registrar to check the information recorded in the register is correct.  It is important that you take the time to ensure you have given the correct information, but also that the registrar has recorded it correctly.

Please note after the registration has been completed and you have signed the document, any applications to correct the entry will incur a charge.

A charge of £75 will be made to consider the request at your local registration office or alternatively if the request for a correction has to be made to the General Register Office then a fee of £90 will apply.

Payment of this fee does not guarantee the correction will be granted and fees paid will not be refunded if the request is denied.

To discuss a correction or change to a completed birth registration please contact us on 0300 303 2472 so we may offer guidance.

Please note that at this time we have a high volume of birth registrations to undertake which could not be completed during lockdown.  Unless the correction is critical at this time you may have a longer than usual wait for an available appointment.