Registering a Birth

Registering a Birth

Who can Register a Birth in Scotland?

A child's mother or father/parent has a duty to register the birth.  In the case of the death or inability of the mother or father/parent the following persons can register the birth:

  • Any relative of the mother or father/parent, if he or she is married to or in a civil partnership with the mother, being a relative who has knowledge of the birth;
  • The occupier of the premises in which the child was, to the knowledge of that occupier, born;
  • Any person present at the birth;
  • Any person having charge of the child.

A father who is not married to the mother can only register the birth and be named in the register as the father if:

  • He jointly signs the register with the mother;
  • He and the mother sign declarations (these are available from the registrar) that he is the father; or
  • A court declares that he is the father and the mother registers the birth.

A woman who is not married to, or in a civil partnership with, the mother can only register the birth and be named in the register as parent if the provisions of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 apply to them and:

  • She jointly signs the register with the mother;
  • She and the mother sign declarations (these are available from the registrar) that she is the parent; or
  • A court declares that she is the parent and the mother registers the birth.

Information on who has parental responsibilities and rights for a child is available in the Scottish Government publication Family matters: family law and young people in Scotland on the Scottish Government website.

How and Where do I Register a Birth?

Any birth which occurs in Scotland must be registered within twenty-one days by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. The law allows a birth to be registered in any registration district in Scotland.  You can obtain the address of the local registrar from the hospital, the doctor, the telephone book (see under 'Registration of Births, Death and Marriages') and the Directory of Registrars in Scotland (70 Kb PDF file).

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What Documents Should I Take to the Registrar?

You should take with you:

  • The card issued by the hospital;
  • The marriage or civil partnership certificate of the child's parents.

Do not worry if any of these documents are not available as the registrar can still proceed to register the birth.

When the registration is complete the registrar will give you free of charge an abbreviated extract (i.e. excluding parentage details) of the birth entry.

You can obtain a full extract of the birth entry for a fee.

What if the Birth Occurs Abroad?

You must register the birth according to the regulations in the country where the child was born. You will be given a local birth certificate.

This local birth certificate should be accepted in the UK. You might need to have it translated and certified if it is not in English.

You may also be able to register the birth with the UK authorities. You don’t have to do this but it means that a record of the birth will be sent to the National Records of Scotland and you can order a consular birth registration certificate from New Register House.

More information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/register-a-birth