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You must register a birth within 42 days of the baby being born.
You have to book an appointment and go to the register office to register. There are two register offices in Bristol - Corn Street in the centre and at Southmead Hospital. Find the register office.
You should register at the local register office for the area where the baby was born. If the baby was born outside the Bristol City Council area you can come to our offices but we’ll have to send your details to office in the area where your baby was born.
If couples are married or in a civil partnership, either parent can register.
Parents who are not married or in a civil partnership must come to the appointment together, if they want both names on the birth certificate.
If the mother is not married or in a civil partnership, and she comes to the register office on her own, the other parent details will not be registered. Unmarried fathers cannot register on their own.
If the parents are married or in a civil partnership when the baby is born:
- both parents have parental responsibility
- they both keep parental responsibility if they later divorce
A father not married to the baby's mother can only get parental responsibility in one of three ways:
- jointly registering the birth of the child with the mother
- getting a parental responsibility agreement with the mother
- getting a parental responsibility order from a court
Parental rights and responsibilities on the GOV.UK website gives more information.
You will be seen in private and asked questions about the baby and parents. The registrar will enter the details onto a computer. You will be asked to check the information on the register page carefully and to sign that it is correct.
- passport or ID for each parent who goes on the register
- marriage or civil partnership certificate if you have it
- date and place of birth plus time of births for twins and triplets
- baby's first name, last name and sex
- parents' names and places of birth
- parents' occupations
- mother's address
- mother's maiden name
- date of the baby's parents' marriage and number of previous children
There are two types of birth certificate:
- the short version, which contains only the baby’s details
- the full version, which also contains the parents’ details
Once you have registered the birth, you will be given a short birth certificate for free.
You can buy extra copies of the birth certificate, as well as full versions, from the register office at any time.
Cost of certificates
- at registration: £4 each
- up to four week after: £7 each
- after four weeks: £10 each
You can pay by cash, debit or credit card.