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Registering a Birth

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. So if, for example, your child was born in Bedford Hospital it 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 and once the registration is complete a free short birth certificate will be forwarded to you. If you wish to purchase a full birth certificate, you will need to call the Register Office where the birth will be registered and order one.


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


If you need to register a stillbirth please do not book online, please call us on 01234 718 028 and speak to a Registrar who can talk you through the process. You can also e-mail us on civil.registration@bedford.gov.uk 


Who can register the birth?

If the 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 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 birth certificate as well both parents must come in together. 


If the parents were not married to each other before the baby was born and one of them cannot attend, in order for both the mother and the father's details to appear on the birth certificate;

  • If the father cannot attend with the mother he must make a legal declaration in front of a solicitor to confirm that he is the father, the mother should bring this with her at the appointment. (forms are available at any Register office in England or Wales)
  • If the mother is unable to attend the office then she must make a legal declaration confirming the name of the father, which he should bring with him to the appointment. (forms are available at any Register office in England or Wales)
  • If either parent has obtained a relevant court order this should be given to the registrar who will advise.


If you are a same sex couple and want both of your names to appear on the certificate or if none of the above applies please contact us on 01234 718 028 or via civil.registration@bedford.gov.uk 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 can be downloaded as a Word document.


Birth Certificates

It is free to register a birth and you will receive a short birth certificate automatically. This shows details of;

  • Baby's name
  • date of birth
  • gender
  • district in which the birth occurred


Due to the limited amount of information shown on the short birth certificate it is not generally accepted as proof of identity or nationality, therefore we recommend that you get at least one full birth certificate. This will show all of the details that are recorded in the register. Each certificate costs £4 if bought at the time of the appointment. You may purchase as many certificates as you wish and can pay by card with the Registrar.


Appointments are 30 minutes long.

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