National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

How to Order a Certificate (Also Known as an Official Extract)

How to Order a Certificate (Also Known as an Official Extract)

Please read the guidance below before ordering birth, death or marriage certificates (official extracts from the registers).  You can also download a pdf copy of our leaflet S2 - how to order a certificate (also known as an official extract) and forms.

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How to apply 

There are various options for obtaining a certificate of an entry from the statutory birth, death, marriage, adoption, divorce, civil partnership and dissolution registers, the Old Parish Registers and census records.

Order online - you can search for, and order, birth, death, marriage, divorce, civil partnership and dissolution of civil partnership, census and Old Parish Register certificates online at our ScotlandsPeople website.

Searching the indexes is free and certificates cost £12 per certificate. You will need a credit or debit card to use this service and we will send your extract within 15 working days.

Apply in person at New Register House and the ScotlandsPeople Centre and we will send your certificate within five working days.  If you use our priority service before 13:00 your certificate will be ready for collection by 16:00 that day;  or after 13:00 it will be ready by 11:00 the next working day.

Apply in writing and we will send your certificate within eight working days. You can use the downloadable versions of the forms below:

  • Form SU3 if you are applying for a certificate from the statutory birth, adoption, marriage, divorce, civil partnership and dissolution, death registers or the Old Parish Registers

  • Form SU9 if you are applying for a certificate from the 1841 to 1911 census records

  • Form SU19 if you are applying for a no trace divorce letter.  This is not an official certificate.  We issue a formal letter in support of a divorce application through the courts as evidence of an individual's marital status within Scotland.  This letter has to cover the period from the date of marriage to the present date.  Both parties’ names, date and place of marriage must be provided.

Apply by telephone using our Certificate Ordering Service for post-1855 births, deaths and marriages.  The telephone number is 0131 314 4411 (+44 131 314 4411) and lines are open from Monday to Friday 9:00 to 16:30 except for certain public holidays.  You will need to quote credit or debit card details.

Apply to a local registrar - certificates from the Scottish records may also be obtained from local registrars of births, deaths and marriages.  You can find their contact details from our Directory of Registrars in Scotland or the local authority website. 

Information Required

Full name of individual(s) concerned, date and place of the event. If a common surname, further details such as parents’ names are required.  Abbreviated certificates are available for births and deaths at the same charge.

In the case of service deaths we require the individual’s rank, regiment and number. 

For adoption records we require the full adoptive name, date of birth and adoptive parents’ names.  For recently granted adoptions, please quote the court and date of the adoption order.

For certificates from the census records we require the census year, name and address.

For certificates from the Old Parish Registers we require for:

  • Births and baptisms - full name, date or year, parent’s names and place of birth (if known)
  • Proclamation of banns and marriages - full name of both parties, year and place of marriage (if known)
  • Deaths and burials - full name, date or year of death and precise place of death

You can also order an official extract from the 1939 National Identity Register.

Fees and Charges (Excluding Postage)
  • Online - £12, priority service £27
  • In person at New Register House, by telephone, by post - £15
  • Priority service - £30
  • No trace charge - £5 for each five years (or part thereof)
  • In person at the ScotlandsPeople Centre - £10
  • No trace divorce record - £5 for each five years (or part thereof)

All certificates are issued by 1st class UK mail or standard airmail or by the alternative delivery option selected by the customer.

  • Collection at New Register House - nil
  • UK standard 1st class - £0.85
  • Standard airmail - £2.95
  • UK recorded delivery 1st class - £1.95
  • UK special delivery - £6.20
  • UK special delivery (Saturday) - £10.44
How to Pay

We accept payment by these methods:

  • Online - credit or debit card
  • New Register House - cash, credit or debit card, sterling cheque with cheque card, travellers’ cheque in sterling
  • By post - sterling cheque, British postal order.  Please do not send cash by post.
  • By telephone or fax - credit or debit card.

If paying by credit or debit card please quote your card number, cardholder's name, signature and address, start and expiry dates, security code (the three digit number on the reverse of the card) and, for Maestro transactions, the issue number where applicable.  This will allow us to charge the correct amount whether the requested event is traced or not. (Please note that we do not accept American Express cards.)  For security reasons we do not recommend sending credit or debit card details by email.

Payments by sterling cheque or British postal order should be crossed, and made payable to the ‘Scottish Government'.  If payment is by cheque or postal order, we will refund, by cheque, any excess funds remitted over £4 (£5 for international orders). We will not automatically refund monies below these amounts.

Typed extracts

Certificates will normally be produced electronically from images of the actual register page entry.  It is only in cases where the entry has been altered as a result of an RCE or contains a clerical error, that a typed certificate may need to be issued.