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.

We only register babies born in Suffolk. Please note, the James Paget hospital is in Norfolk and not in Suffolk.

Make an appointment and follow COVID-19 restrictions

During the 4 week lockdown phase, commencing 5th November 2020, we are still offering face to face appointments at some offices.  Travel is permitted to these offices, as the guidance on the Government's website shows.  Please be aware that we are still only able to allow the parent/s into the office, no babies or children.

You are able make face to face appointments at this office.

You don't need to complete a pre-registration form for an appointment at this office. If you have already completed the pre-registration form, we'll contact you to book an appointment.

Attending a face to face appointment

  • Appointments are available Monday to Friday and take about 20 minutes.
  • You will sit with a registrar who will be wearing a face covering and sitting behind a screen
  • If you're not married to the father (of the child) and want his details to appear on the birth certificate, both of you will need to attend the appointment together 
  • When you arrive at the office, a custodian will meet and let you into the building. You will not be allowed into the building if you do not have an appointment

Follow the guidance below

  • Only the parent(s) required to sign the register can attend the appointment unless you’re accompanied by an interpreter. If English is not your first language you will need to bring an interpreter to the appointment with you. Appointments may take longer if an interpreter is needed. Contact Bury St Edmunds office to book an longer appointment.
  • Babies or children are not allowed into the building
  • Arrive no more than 5 minutes before the appointment time
  • Check-in using the NHS COVID-19 app. QR codes are visible on arrival
  • Wear a face covering in line with Government guidance
  • Hand sanitiser is available at the entrance.  This must be used before and after your appointment
  • You will not be seen (and will miss your appointment) if you:
    • arrive more than 10 minutes late
    • have a child or children with you 
  • Check the register page very carefully before you sign it.   The responsibility lies with you to look for any errors on this legal document.  Corrections cost up to £90

Registering more than one baby/child

Appointments may take longer if you need to register more than one baby. Contact us to book an appointment if a longer time is needed.

Book a face to face appointment at Bury St Edmunds

Telephone appointments

You can choose a telephone appointment with the Stowmarket or Woodbridge office. You'll need to complete the pre-registration form and we will contact you to book an appointment.

There are two steps.

  1. During the telephone appointment you will provide the information needed to register a birth
  2. You will then need to attend a short face to face appointment later on the same day at either office to sign paperwork

You are able to make a face to face appointment at this office.

You don't need to complete a pre-registration form for an appointment at this office.  If you have already completed the pre-registration form, we will contact you to make an appointment.

Attending a face to face appointment

  • Appointments are available Monday to Friday and take about 20 minutes.
  • You will sit with a registrar who will be wearing a face covering and sitting behind a screen
  • If you're not married to the father (of the child) and want his details to appear on the birth certificate, both of you will need to attend the appointment together 
  • When you arrive at the office, a custodian will meet and let you into the building. You will not allowed into the building if you do not have an appointment

Please follow the guidance below

  • Only the parent(s) required to sign the register can attend the appointment unless you are accompanied by an interpreter. If English is not your first language you will need to bring an interpreter to the appointment with you. Appointments may take longer if an interpreter is needed. Contact Ipswich office to book an longer appointment.
  • Babies or children are not allowed into the building
  • Arrive no more than 5 minutes before the appointment time
  • Check-in using the NHS COVID-19 app. QR codes are visible on arrival
  • Wear a face covering in line with Government guidance
  • Hand sanitiser is available at the entrance.  This must be used before and after your appointment
  • You will not be seen (and will miss your appointment) if you:
    • arrive more than 10 minutes late
    • have a child or children with you 
  • Check the register page very carefully before you sign it. The responsibility lies with you to look for any errors on this legal document and corrections cost up to £90

Registering more than one baby/child

Appointments may take longer if you need to register more than one baby. Contact us to book an appointment if a longer time is needed.

Book a face to face appointment at Ipswich

Telephone appointments

You can choose a telephone appointment with the Stowmarket or Woodbridge office. You'll need to need to complete the pre-registration form and we'll contact you to book an appointment.

There are two steps.

  1. During the telephone appointment you will provide the information needed to register a birth
  2. You will need to attend a short face to face appointment later the same day at either office to sign paperwork

You are able to make a face to face appointment at this office.

You don't need to complete a pre-registration form for an appointment at this office. If you have already completed the pre-registration form, we will contact you to make an appointment.

Attending a face to face appointment

  • Appointments are available on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and take about 20 minutes.
  • You will sit with a registrar who will be wearing a face covering and sitting behind a screen
  • If you are not married to the father (of the child) and want his details to appear on the birth certificate, both of you will need to attend the appointment together 
  • When you arrive at the office, please wait outside and phone the office (0345 607 2070) to let them know you've arrived. We will then advise when you are able to enter the building. You will not be allowed into the building if you do not have an appointment

Please follow the guidance below

  • Only the parent(s) required to sign the register can attend the appointment unless you’re accompanied by an interpreter. If English is not your first language you will need to bring an interpreter to the appointment with you. Appointments may take longer if an interpreter is needed. Contact Lowestoft office to book a longer appointment.
  • Babies or children are not allowed into the building
  • Arrive no more than 5 minutes before the appointment time
  • Check-in using the NHS COVID-19 app. QR codes are visible on arrival
  • Wear a face covering in line with Government guidance
  • Hand sanitiser is available at the entrance.  This must be used before and after your appointment
  • You will not be seen (and will miss your appointment) if you:
    • arrive more than 10 minutes late
    • have a child or children with you 
  • Check the register page very carefully before you sign it. The responsibility lies with you to look for any errors on this legal document and corrections cost up to £90

Registering more than one baby/child

Appointments may take longer if you need to register more than one baby. Contact us to book an appointment if a longer time is needed.

Book a face to face appointment at Lowestoft (Please be aware that we are unable to register babies born at the James Paget Hospital)

Telephone appointments

You can choose a telephone appointment with the Stowmarket or Woodbridge office. You will need to complete the pre-registration form and we will contact you to book an appointment.

There are two steps.

  1. During the telephone appointment you will provide the information needed to register a birth
  2. You will need to attend a short face to face appointment later the same day at either office to sign paperwork

You can only book a telephone appointment with this office.

  • Appointments can only be made on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday.
  • Face to face appointments are not available.

Arrange a telephone appointment

  • Complete a pre-registration form to book a telephone appointment to register a birth. You'll be contacted within 10 working days to make arrangements for the registration
  • Two appointments will be needed:
    • During the first appointment, which will take about 20 minutes, the registrar will telephone you to ask for the information needed for the registration.
    • The second, very short, appointment will take place later on the same day, when you will visit the office to check and sign the register page.
  • If you're not married to the father of the child, and want his details to appear on the birth certificate, you will both need to be available for the first and second appointments. You can visit the office to check and sign the register separately during the same appointment slot

Please follow the guidance below when you visit us

  • On your arrival at the front entrance of the Town Hall for the second very brief appointment, please use the intercom system and the registrar will collect you. You will not be allowed into the building if you do not have an appointment.
  • You will be asked to check the register page very carefully before you sign it.  The responsibility lies with you to look for any errors on this legal document.  Corrections cost up to £90

Book a telephone appointment at Stowmarket

Face to face appointments

If you would prefer, you can register a birth in person by booking a face to face appointment in Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich or Lowestoft.

You can only book a telephone appointment with this office.

  • Appointments can only be made on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.
  • Face to face appointments are not available.

Arrange a telephone appointment

  • Complete a pre-registration form to book a telephone appointment to register a birth. You will be contacted within 10 working days to make arrangements for the registration
  • Two appointments will be needed:
    • During the first appointment, which will take about 20 minutes, the registrar will telephone you to ask for the information needed for the registration.
    • The second, very short, appointment will take place later on the same day, when you will visit the office to check and sign the register page. 
  • If you're not married to the father of the child, and you want his details to appear on the birth certificate you will both need to be available for the first and second appointments. When you visit the office to check and sign the register, this can be done separately during the same appointment slot

Please follow the guidance below when you visit us

  • On your arrival at the entrance to the registration office, the registrar will collect you. You will not be allowed into the building if you do not have an appointment.+
  • You will be asked to check the register page very carefully before you sign it.  The responsibility lies with you to look for any errors on this legal document.  Corrections cost up to £90

Book a telephone appointment at Woodbridge

Face to face appointments

If you would prefer, you can register a birth in person by booking a face to face appointment in Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich or Lowestoft.

Appointments are not available at these offices.

To register a birth you will need to know the following:

  • 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

Costs £11 per copy. This shows only the baby's name and date of birth.

Full certificate

Costs £11 per copy. This will include details of the parent(s).

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.

The fee applicable to this process is £40. Please contact one of our offices for details.


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.

If you wish to re-register your child after you marry the child's natural father, you should read the information from GOV.UK about adding a father's name to a birth certificate.

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 (PDF, 88KB).

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 £11 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?

Adding the natural father’s details into the birth entry will give you both equal parental responsibility. In the first instance, you should read the information from GOV.UK about adding a father's name to a birth certificate.

To add a father's name to a birth certificate, complete the relevant form available from GOV.UK or your local registration office. Please contact your local 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 £11 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, please read the information on GOV.UK. You are also able to download the relevant forms. When completed, the form needs to be taken to a Registration Office with all the documents required as proof and the necessary payment.

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