Registering the birth

When you're announcing your new baby to the world, don't forget to tell the government, too! Here's how to go about getting your little one registered.

If you haven't already done so, you'll need to register your baby’s birth within 42 days of the birth date (or 21 days if you live in Scotland). If you gave birth in hospital, this might have been taken care of for you before you left, but if not, you'll need to do it at the registry office of the district where you gave birth, if possible (you might need to make an appointment, so it's best to telephone first).

If you're married or in a civil partnership (or you were at the time of conception or birth), then either you or your partner can register the birth. If you aren't married, and you'd like to register your partner’s name on the birth certificate, then both of you will need to be present. If either of you can't be present, you'll need to make a statutory declaration using a form 16 (you can get one from the register office or from

Registering your baby's birth usually means deciding on a name once and for all (though if you just can't decide, don't panic – you can usually register the birth and leave the name blank, which gives you an extra year to come up with the perfect name).

After you've registered the birth, you'll get an official birth certificate for your baby, plus a registration card, which you'll need to take to your GP's surgery. You'll also be eligible for the Child Tax Credit, and you might be able to claim additional benefits through Job Centre.