How to register a birth

Find out how to register a birth in Suffolk, book an appointment to see a registrar and make changes to birth registrations.

Births should be registered within 42 days. 

You can register a birth in Suffolk by making an appointment at one of our six register offices.

How to book an appointment

You can book an appointment to register a birth in Suffolk quickly and easily online. Please note late arrival to an appointment may cause it to be rescheduled.

Book an appointment online

If your baby was born outside of Suffolk, you are able to make a declaration of the birth at any of our offices. The birth certificate will be sent in the post to you and will cause a delay of up to 5 working days. It is not possible to book appointments for declarations online, so please contact one of our register offices by phone.

Children of married parents can be registered by either parent. If the parents are not married and you would like the other parent's details included in the registration, both parents must attend.

To register a birth you will need to know the:

  • date and place of birth - the time of birth will be recorded if you are registering twins, triplets, etc.
  • baby's gender
  • full name/s of the baby - and the correct spelling
  • forenames and surname of the parent/s, including any names that have been used previously
  • date and place of birth of the parent/s
  • addresses and occupations or previous occupations of the parent/s
  • number of previous children by the mother
  • date of marriage and the mother's maiden name (if applicable)

You can bring the health authority's notification of your baby's birth and your own passports, birth certificates and marriage certificates to help with spellings and information. However, these documents are not required for the registration to take place.

Short certificate

When registering a birth you may buy a short birth certificate, which costs £4 per copy.

This will show the baby's name and date of birth.

Full certificate

A full certificate also costs £4 per copy when registering the birth, and includes details of the parent(s).

The price of copies of birth certificates increases after registration.

There is an error on the birth certificate – what should I do?

Once an entry is signed as being accurate the entry is considered complete. A legal process has to be followed to make changes. This will usually require referral with appropriate evidence to the Registrar General. If there is an error on your child's birth certificate please contact one of our register offices for guidance.

Can I change my child’s forenames?

You can change a child’s forename in the following circumstances:

  • If new forenames were given in baptism or by regular use within 12 months of the birth being registered.
  • If your child has been baptised, only the baptismal names can be added to the register - the minister with custody of the baptismal register needs to confirm this using a 'Certificate of name given in Baptism' form available from your local registration office.

Please also note:

  • You must be the mother, father or guardian of the child to make the change.
  • Forename changes can only be made once – any further forename changes cannot be recorded.
  • You must comply with any court orders in force about the naming of your child.

Can I change my child’s surname?

You can only change a child’s surname in their original birth record to correct a spelling mistake or at re-registration following marriage of the natural parents/addition of the natural father’s details.

What happens if the natural parents of a child marry each other in future? 

If the natural parents of a child marry each other at any time in the future, the child’s birth entry must be re-registered to reflect this. This is a legal Requirement which must be carried out regardless of the surname your child has been given at birth.

To re-register a child's birth following the marriage of natural parents, complete the relevant form available from GOV.UK or your local registration office.

As part of this process you will have the opportunity to change the surname of your child if you wish.

When you have completed the form please contact your local registration office to complete the process.

There is no charge to re-register your child unless you would like a replacement birth certificate which is charged by statutory fee (currently £4 for both full and short certificates).

What is parental responsibility? 

A child’s mother automatically has parental responsibility for her child. 

A father has this responsibility if he is married to the child’s mother or is named as the father on the child’s birth entry (only for births registered after 1 December 2003).

Can I add the Natural Father's name to the birth entry?

The addition of the natural father’s details into the birth entry will give you both equal parental responsibility.

To add a father's name to a birth certificate, complete the relevant form available from GOV.UK or your local registration office.

As part of this process you will have the opportunity to change the surname of your child if both parents agree to this.

When you have completed the form please contact your local registration office to complete the process.

There is no charge to re-register your child unless you would like a replacement birth certificate which is charged by statutory fee (currently £4 for both full and short certificates).

Can I remove or amend the father’s details from the birth entry?

A paternity correction can only be made when it has been proven either by a DNA test or a court order that the man named on the certificate is not the natural father of the child.

To correct a birth registration, download and fill in the relevant form and send it to the General Register Office (GRO).