National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

NRS Updates: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

NRS Updates: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Latest updates

Ordering a Certificate

Following the recent announcement by the UK Government introducing strict new measures to tackle COVID-19/ Coronavirus (23 March 2020), our buildings are now closed and our staff are working from home.

We are therefore unable to process any certificate orders as we do not have access to our secure certificate paper or official seal. We are in the process of arranging full refunds for any orders which we have not been able to complete.

We understand that there may be very urgent cases where official confirmation of an event taking place is required. If this is the case, please use our contact form on ScotlandsPeople selecting ‘Certificates and Copies’ and one of our team will respond directly.

Information Regarding Registration Services

Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, most registration offices in Scotland are closed to members of the public .Local authorities have where possible moved to offering a 7-day registration service, though as the configuration of services is a matter for each council, hours are not universal and are designed to best meet local need. It is advisable to check the council’s website or contact the registration office to confirm opening hours.

Please be aware that during the period of the pandemic, registration offices may be operating with reduced registration staff. We ask for your patience when trying to make contact with an office. For public health reasons, registration staff will be prioritising the registration of deaths and still-births. Marriages and civil partnerships will not take place during the pandemic period, and most birth registrations will be postponed.

Local services

Registration of Deaths and Still-births

NRS understands that this is a very distressing and difficult time for bereaved families. We have been working closely with the Scottish Government and local authorities to introduce a system which will allow registrars to take ‘remote’ registration of deaths, by telephone or electronic means. This system is now live and further information is available from our Registration Services page or contact your local registration office (528 KB PDF) direct, to arrange an appointment.

Registration of births

Registration of births has been temporarily suspended whilst registration offices are closed to the public. An announcement about the commencement of birth registrations appointments will be made as soon as advice is received that it is safe to re-open registration offices and conduct registration appointments in person.

Registration of Marriages and Civil Partnerships

A marriage or civil partnership ceremony may not proceed in Scotland without the preparation of a marriage or civil partnership Schedule by a local registrar once they have processed notices of intention to marry/enter a civil partnership. Where a religious or belief marriage or civil partnership is intended, the local registrar must issue the Schedule to at least one of the parties to the marriage/ civil partnership, in advance.

However, for the present time, local registration offices are closed to the public and registrars must currently prioritise and focus on the essential work involved in the registration of deaths and still-births.

Consequently, unless there is a very pressing need for a marriage or civil partnership to take place, such as where one of the parties is seriously ill or about to be posted overseas in the armed forces, or another urgent consideration registrars are not as a matter of course processing marriage or civil partnership notices or completing/issuing marriage and civil partnership schedules. These arrangements will be kept under review by NRS and in the light of current public health guidance. Any ceremonies which do proceed must not contravene the current Health Regulations.

If you have already lodged notice of your intention to marry, or to enter a civil partnership, you should contact the local authority for the area where you lodged notice to discuss how you wish to proceed.

If you consider that it is urgent that your marriage or civil partnership takes place during this period, such as where one of the circumstances set out above, you should contact your intended celebrant and your local registration office local registration office (528 KB PDF) or the National Records of Scotland: marriage@nrscotland.gov.uk. We will need you to provide further details of your circumstances.

Your local registrar and the Registrar General for Scotland will consider your request carefully and let you know whether your marriage or civil partnership Schedule can be completed.   If your marriage or civil partnership is to proceed, the arrangements must still comply with the current Health Regulations and physical distancing guidance. Guidance is available on the Scottish Government website.

NRS Services

Marriages and Civil Partnerships:

If you have an urgent query about a marriage or civil partnership, please email: marriage@nrscotland.gov.uk.

Change of Name:

If you would like advice on how to have a change of name recorded, please email: namechange@nrscotland.gov.uk. Please be aware that no change of name requests can be processed until our normal service has resumed.

Re-registration of a Birth or Still-birth:

If you would like advice about the re-registration of a birth or still-birth, please email: reregister@nrscotland.gov.uk. Please be aware that no re-registration applications will be processed until our normal service has resumed.

Gender Recognition:

If you would like general advice about the gender recognition process or how the birth registration process works in Scotland, please email: grusupport@nrscotland.gov.uk.

Services which will not be available:

  • Corrections to register entries
  • The issue of Multilingual Translation Aids
  • Letters confirming the status of someone after a check of national indexes (To Whom it May Concern Letters).

Information Regarding Services to Record Depositors

Transfer of Records to NRS

The transfer of records to NRS is currently suspended. However we continue to offer advice and guidance to our client depositors. Please contact us as follows:

Retransmission Service

The temporary return of records to client bodies from NRS is currently suspended. We understand that there may be very urgent cases where access to records is required. If this is the case please contact as follows:

More Information

Which NRS services can I use during this closure?

We will continue to deliver a number of our services including:

  • Statistical publications: NRS is reviewing its data gathering and release practices, and focussing efforts on priority statistics in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Users and stakeholders will be advised of any changes as soon as possible. The latest information on publication dates and further information including contact details is available on our statistics publication page.
  • Historical and Legal documents: if you have any enquiries related to historical or legal documents held in our archives (which are not held on our ScotlandsPeople website) please contact us via email. Our access to these documents is limited.
  • Scottish Register of Tartans: You can currently apply to register your tartan online via your account and submit enquiries via email. We are registering approved tartans on our website but we are currently unable to issue tartan certificates related to recently approved registrations. We will issue these as soon as we can.
  • ScotlandsPeople: our online services are available as usual and our teams are currently working from home to make new records available for release. There are a number of our records which you can search and view for free. ScotlandsPlaces also offers a range of free resources which will help to support your research and ScottishHandwriting website, offers free online tuition in palaeography for anyone who is having difficulties reading manuscript historical records written in Scotland.
  • NRS Learning Services: Teachers, pupils and learners of all ages and stages can access and engage with our online resources via the Learning section of the NRS website. The resources available at Services for Schools and Scottish Archives for Schools are designed to support the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence and National Qualifications. If you have any enquiries, contact us by email.
  • NRS Web Continuity Service continues to operate. If you have any questions please contact digital_records@nrscotland.gov.uk.
  • Public Records Scotland Act (PRSA): The Records Management Plan and Progress Update Review rolling programme of assessmentcontinues as normal. We do however appreciate that many of our stakeholder authorities will themselves be experiencing disruption during this time. Please contact the team by email if you have any queries or concerns.
  • National Register of Archives for Scotland: Access to records held privately has necessarily been withdrawn during this period. The NRAS however continues to offer advice and guidance to owners and researchers, please contact us by email.
  • Advice and support for the archive sector: while premises are in lockdown, it is important to ensure that archive collections remain safe and secure. The National Archives has useful webpages covering collections safety, Archive Service Accreditation, and a list of useful guidance and resources from other organisations.
  • Disaster or incident control advice relating to archive collections can be provided remotely by the NRS Preservation team.  Please contact preservation@nrscotland.gov.uk.
  • Adoptions: Our team are currently working from home with limited access to our records. The registering of new adoptions and the issuing of new adoption certificates has been suspended until staff are able to get back into the office. Work on issuing original birth certificates will recommence once staff are able to return to the office. If you require information on ordering an older adoption certificate please see the Ordering a Certificate section. If you have any enquiries relating to adoptions please contact us by email.  
  • Enquiries: Contact us by email. We will endeavour to respond to all enquires. Due to current circumstances, we may not meet normal timescales for response and our normal access to our records may be limited, which will impact on the information and copies which we can provide at this time.

Contact Us

We are now able to answer general enquiries via our phone lines as a means of support for customers who do not have access to email or for those who have urgent enquiries. Please contact us on 08000 308 308 and one of our staff team will be happy to help. Our helpline will be open Monday to Thursday 9 am to 5 pm and Friday 9 am to 4.30 pm. Our teams across NRS will continue to answer direct enquiries through the email addresses below so please continue to use those if you have the means to do so. Due to our buildings remaining closed and current restrictions on services, there may be a limit to the information that we can provide at this time.

Service Email Address
Marriages and Civil Partnerships marriage@nrscotland.gov.uk
Change of Name namechange@nrscotland.gov.uk
Re-registration of a Birth or Still-birth reregister@nrscotland.gov.uk
Gender Recognition grusupport@nrscotland.gov.uk
Historical and Legal documents lsrhe@scotlandspeople.gov.uk
Scottish Register of Tartans enquiries@tartanregister.gov.uk
Learning Services education@nrscotland.gov.uk
Customer Services customerservices@scotlandspeople.gov.uk
Freedom of Information foi@nrscotland.gov.uk
Data Protection dataprotection@nrscotland.gov.uk