Registering a Birth

When can I register my baby's birth?

Your baby's birth must be registered within 42 days of the date of birth.

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To make an appointment to register your baby ring 0300 1234 181 (8:30am - 6pm) Monday to Friday. 

Your baby's birth must be registered in the district where the baby was born, this can be done in your local registration office or you may be able to register the birth in hospital before the mother goes home.

If it is not convenient for you to visit your local registration office for the district, you can go to any other registration office in England and Wales (within 42 days of your baby's date of birth) to make a declaration of the particulars required for the registration. In that case, any birth certificates you require will be sent to you by post.

Please remember that you have a legal duty to register the birth within 42 days.

If the mother and father were married to each other at the time of the child's birth, either parent may register.

If the mother and father are not married to each other at the time of the child's birth, the mother alone may register the birth.  The father's details can be entered into the register if both parents attend together to register the birth.  If the mother registers alone, it is possible to add the father's particulars by re-registration at any future time, should they both agree.

The baby's parents must provide the Registrar with the following information:

  • The baby's birth date and place of birth, forename(s), surname and sex of the baby.  If the birth is one of twins, triplets etc., then the time of each baby's birth.  
  • The mother's full name, date of birth and place of birth, current address, current or last occupation and, if applicable, maiden surname and date of marriage. If the mother has been working at any time prior to the birth her occupation can be entered into the register if required or housewife may be entered.  Date of marriage if applicable. The number of previous children by the present and any former husband.
  • If the father's details are to be entered in the register, the Registrar will need the fathers full name, date of birth and place of birth, current address, current or last occupation.

It is important that the information recorded in the register is correct. If any mistake is made it will put you to some trouble to have it corrected. 


After registration you will be given a short birth certificate free of charge. To order copy certificates (birth, death or marriage) £10 each or may be obtained by the Cornwall Register Office at the following address:- Certificate Applications (Registration), PO Box 94, Truro, TR1 9AZ.

The law changed on 1st December 2003 to make it easier for unmarried fathers to get equal parental responsibility - all you have to do is 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 the change in 2003, 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.

For contact details and opening hours please see our Registration Offices page