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Registering a birth

Find out how to register a birth.

How to register a birth 

You can only register a birth in the district where the baby was born.

If your baby was born in the borough of Lewisham, you can book an appointment using our online form.

You must decide on your baby's full name before the appointment.

Who can register a birth?

If the parents are married or in a civil partnership with each other

  • either of you can register the birth

If the parents are unmarried or not in a civil partnership

  • the mother can register the baby’s birth on her own
  • the father’s details will not be included on the birth certificate

Both parents can be registered on the birth certificate if

  • you both attend the appointment and sign the birth register together
  • one of you completes a statutory declaration of parentage form - either of you can give us the signed form at the registration appointment

If you're not in the Lewisham registration district

If you're not in our registration district, you can go to any register office in England or Wales to make a 'declaration' and they'll send us the details.

A declaration is when another register office takes details of the birth, and sends it to the correct registration district on your behalf.

If the baby was born in another district

If you are in our district but want to register a baby that was born elsewhere, book an appointment to make a declaration using our online form.

If you don't speak English

We can arrange for an interpreter to be present at the appointment if needed, but please note this may delay the registration.

It may be quicker if you bring a friend or relative along to translate for you.

What happens next

You'll be invited to our register office for your appointment which will last approximately 20 minutes. When registering the birth, you will be expected to know:

  • date and place of birth
  • forename(s), surname and sex of the child
  • parents’ forename(s), surname(s), address and occupation
  • date of parents’ marriage or civil partnership
  • mother’s maiden surname

What documents do I need?

To help to ensure that the information recorded is accurate, it would be useful if you could bring some supporting documents with you.

During your appointment you will be asked to show one of the following documents:

Supporting documents for parents

  • passport
  • proof of address (for example. council tax bill, utility bill)
  • driving licence
  • birth certificate
  • change of name deed (if applicable)
  • marriage/ civil partnership certificate (if applicable)

Supporting documents for the baby (required)

  • notification of birth (this is usually given to a mother by the hospital soon after giving birth) or
  • personal child health record or ‘red book’

What if I'm late for the appointment?

If you arrive late for your appointment, you will need to book again.

Getting a birth certificate

We no longer issue a free short certificate. You can purchase full birth certificates before or after you register a birth. You will be given the opportunity to purchase certificates while booking your appointment online.

Cost of full birth certificates

  • at time of registration: £11 (collection)
  • standard service: £11 (collection and posted)
  • priority service: £35 - issued next working day if ordered by 2pm (collection or posted 1st Class)

Payment can be made by debit or credit card.

Correcting a birth registration

If there's an error on the birth entry, for example, if there's a spelling error in the baby's name, you can apply to have the birth certificate corrected.

Fees

  • correction application processed by the Register Office: £75
  • correction application referred to the General Register Office: £99

Re-registering a birth

Registering a stillbirth

We'll provide you with:

  • certificate for burial or cremation - the registrar will email this to the funeral director
  • certificate of registration - this is proof of registration and shows the date of the stillbirth and any names given to the child
  • stillbirth certificate (optional - fee payable)

Support for people who have suffered a stillbirth

The death of a baby can be overwhelming. It can be hard to take in information, to make decisions or to imagine how you are going to cope.

  • Sands provides support and information for bereaved parents and their families when you need it, and many of their staff have been through this experience themselves - call their helpline on 020 7436 5881
  • Child Bereavement Charity gives online information for people and families who have lost a child
  • arranging a funeral