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Register a birth

Book, amend or cancel an appointment to register a birth online.

Every birth in England and Wales must be registered within 42 days (6 weeks) of the child being born.

Book an appointment online

You can book, cancel or amend a birth registration appointment online. 

Book a birth appointment

Where to find us

You can register a birth in Dorset at any of the following offices:

Blandford Registration Office

Bridport Registration Office

Christchurch Registration Office

Dorchester Register Office

Ferndown Registration Office

Gillingham Registration Office

Shaftesbury Registration Office

Sherborne Registration Office

Swanage Registration Office

Wareham Registration Office

Weymouth Registration Office

View Dorset registration offices on a map

Information you need when registering a birth

You don't need to bring any documents with you, but the registrar will need to know:

  • the date and place of the birth (the time is only required in the case of multiple births e.g. twins)

  • name, surname and sex of the baby

  • parents' names, surnames and address

  • places and dates of parents' birth

  • date of parents' marriage if applicable

  • parents' occupations

  • mother's maiden surname

Who can register a birth

Married parents

Either parent can register the birth on their own. They can include both parents' details if they were married when the baby was born or conceived.

Unmarried parents

If you were not married to each other when the baby was born or conceived then the mother can register the birth alone, but only her details can be recorded

If you would like the father's details to be recorded then both parents must attend and both sign the register. If it is not possible for the father to attend please contact us​ for further advice.

If you have special circumstances such as a parental responsibility agreement in force, or court order, or circumstances in which the unmarried mother is unable to attend please contact us for further advice.

For more information on who can register a birth see the Gov.uk website (opens in a new window).

Birth certificates

Short birth certificate

Once you have registered the birth, your baby will be issued with a short birth certificate for free.

Full birth certificate

You can purchase the full birth certificate at your appointment for £4. We accept cash, cheques and credit cards.

Births outside of Dorset

If the baby was born outside of Dorset (including Poole or Bournemouth) you can still attend an office in Dorset to register by 'declaration'. The details will then be sent onto the Register Office in the district where the baby was born and they will send you the birth certificate, usually within a week. If you want a copy of the full certificate you should bring a cheque or postal order for £4.

Can I change the baby's name after my appointment?

When you see the registrar you will be asked for the names and surname of your baby. These names will be recorded in the register and will appear on the birth certificate. The surname on the birth certificate cannot be changed at a later date except in special circumstances by re-registration, for example, if parents later marry or by adding father's details, or adoption. Take care when deciding upon the name especially if the mother and father have different surnames.

 

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