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During the current coronavirus pandemic births are being registered in a two stage process.

Stage One – Apply to register your baby’s birth using our online form (please note any details from the form can be amended during stage two).

Stage Two – After receiving your completed application form we will telephone you to arrange a face-to-face appointment to complete and sign your baby’s legal record.

Apply to register a birth

Parents have 42 days (six weeks) in which to register their newborn baby’s birth. They are obliged by law to register the baby in the place it was born.

Below is information about registering a baby born in Portsmouth.

There is more information about birth registration on Gov.uk, and about applying for child benefit.

The process is slightly different to register a stillborn baby.

For more information on any of the above questions, email the Portsmouth register office at registrars@portsmouthcc.gov.uk or call 023 9282 9041.

Apply to register a birth.

After receiving your completed form we will telephone you to arrange an appointment time. We will be contacting parents according to the date that your baby was born.

Your appointment will be at Portsmouth Register Office. Please wear a face covering during your appointment in our office.

The registrar will ask you the same questions as on your application form and then you will be handed your baby’s legal register page to check and sign. It is extremely important that you check through the details very carefully and thoroughly before you sign the register page and ask any questions whilst you are with your registrar. Any details can be amended up to the point of signing the register page but after that it can be very timely and costly (up to £90) to apply for any corrections.

Following the registration, birth certificates must be ordered online. The certificates will then be posted out to you.

We only require the parent/s of the child to attend and if you are a married couple or in a legal civil partnership only one of you needs to attend. You do not need to bring your baby and you must not bring other family members with you.

If you or any member of your household is self-isolating or has any recent symptoms of Covid-19 please do not attend and call the Register Office to rearrange your appointment.

Please bear in mind that the process in which we will be registering your baby is quite different to how we used to do things before the pandemic and social distancing regulations. This is also a very new way of doing things for the registrars. This new procedure and the changes we have made to our working practices are for the safety of the team here and for you and your family.

Where can I register a birth?

Register babies born in Portsmouth at Milldam House, Burnaby Road, Portsmouth, PO1 3AF.

Call 023 9275 6597 to make an appointment to register a birth. Opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 4.30pm.

If it would be difficult to come to the register office in Portsmouth, you can register a birth in registry offices in Fareham, Havant, Gosport or Petersfield. Birth certificates will be issued at the same time in these offices. They all have an appointment system, so please contact them first on 0300 555 1392.

You can give information for the registration to any other register office in England or Wales, and they will post the information to us to register the birth. Portsmouth register office will send you your documents once we have registered the birth.

Who can register a baby's birth?

Parents must register their baby’s birth themselves – they cannot ask a relative or friend to do it for them. If English is not the parents’ first language, they are welcome to ask a relative or friend to come with them to help with the registration.

If the mother and father are married to each other at the time of the baby’s birth, either parent may register the baby, although the mother is considered to be the primary informant.

If the mother and father were not married to each other at the time of the baby’s birth, only the mother may register the birth. She is not obliged to include the father’s details. If the father is also present at the time of the registration, his details can also be entered in the register. This gives the father parental responsibility for the baby. If the father’s details are not entered at the time of registration it may be possible for this to be done at a later date.

There is more information on Gov.uk about registering a birth, including recording two female parents on a child’s birth certificate.

If you need further information, please contact Portsmouth register office.

What information is needed to register a birth?

Please bring the following documents to your birth registration appointment (you can still register a birth if you are unable to provide these documents).

  • Proof of your identity (e.g. passport, driving licence or birth certificate)
  • Proof of your address (e.g. driving licence, council tax bill, utility bill)
  • Marriage or civil partnership certificate (if applicable)

The table below shows the information the Registrar needs when you come to register a birth:

Babydate and place of birth boy or girl time of birth (for multiple births we need the time of each baby’s birth) first names and surname
Motherfirst names and surname maiden surname if she is, or has been, married date and place of her birth her usual address at the date of birth occupation at the time of baby’s birth or, if she was not working at the time, her previous occupation how many children she has had
Father or second parent(if these details are being entered in the register) first names and surname date and place of birth occupation at the time of baby’s birth or, if not working then, the previous occupation
GeneralIf the parents were married to each other or in a civil partnership at the time of the birth, the registrar will ask for the date of the marriage or civil partnership

Is there a charge for a birth certificate when I register a birth?

Births registered from 1 November 2017 will no longer receive a free ‘short certificate’.

All certificates purchased on the day of registration are £11. You can also order commemorative certificates. Find out more about birth certificates.

The parents’ details appear on a full birth certificate, which is a complete copy of the entry in the register. The child will need a full birth certificate to, for example, apply for a passport or open a bank account.

Can I change my child's first name?

To change your child’s first name or names within 12 months of the birth registration date, there is a non-refundable fee of £40.  You will need to complete a form at the register office and we will amend the original birth registration. You can then buy certified copies from this amended registration from £10 per certificate.

If the child has been baptised in the Christian faith within the 12 month period after birth registration, you can take a form from the register office to be completed by a minister in the church where the child was baptised.

Can I change my child's surname?

If the parents were not married to each other at the time of the birth and the father did not attend with the mother to register the baby, it is possible to re-register the birth at any time to include the father’s details in the registration and change the surname of the child. The parents fill in a form available from the register office. The easiest way for the birth to be re-registered is for both parents to attend the register office together.

Once the child has been registered with the father’s surname, only a statutory declaration or deed poll can revert the child to the mother’s surname.  The original birth registration does not change. Instead, the statutory declaration (see ‘What is a statutory declaration?’ below) or deed poll document is attached to the original birth certificate to provide evidence that the child is being brought up in a surname different to that recorded in the birth registration.

If the parents have married each other since the birth was registered, the child should be re-registered to accurately record the current legal status. The register office can provide a form to be signed by both parents. Either parent can attend the register office with the completed form and a copy of the marriage certificate. The birth will then be re-registered and the child’s surname changed, for example to the father’s surname or become double-barrelled.

You can buy a certified copies of the re-registered birth registration or a certificate of an amended entry from the registrar. There is no charge for re-registration.

There is more information on adding a father’s name to a birth certificate on Gov.uk.

What is a statutory declaration?

It is a declaration or oath signed in front of a solicitor or other person able legally to witness an oath, acknowledging that you are the parent of the child. Either parent can make a statutory declaration. Alternatively either parent can seek a court order naming the father.

In these cases the birth will be registered again and certified copies of the re-registered birth can be bought from the registrar.

Official copy certificates

The register office can provide a copy certificate for a birth, marriage, civil partnership or death that occurred within the city of Portsmouth. You will need to provide the following information:

  • certificate type: marriage, civil partnership, death or birth
  • name or names the certificate applies to
  • date and place of the event
  • any other relevant information that may help us to locate the certificate