Ordering life event certificates

Find out about the different ways you can order birth, adoption, death, marriage or civil partnership certificates, the type of certificates available and how much they cost.

Order online

You can order life event certificates online. You will need a credit or debit card to use this service.

If you would like to order a stillbirth certificate, visit the registering a stillbirth page.

Order by phone

If you have a credit or debit card you can also order a certificate by phone.

You cannot order a certificate for collection at the General Register Office over the phone. You can only do this if you go in person to the office and order over the counter.

  • 0300 200 7890 (+44 300 200 7890 from outside the UK)

Order by post or in person

If you do not have a credit or debit card, or you would like to order by post or in person, you can download and print out the relevant application form below.

You can send the application by post or bring it to the General Register Office in person.

If you order a certificate in person over the counter, you can ask to collect your certificate. If not, it will be posted out as long as you have included a postal address on your application. See the processing times on this page for more information on collection times.

If you are paying for your certificate by cheque or postal order you should make it payable to ‘The Registrar General’.

Types of certificate

Certified copies of certificates

You can order certified copies of birth, adoption, stillbirth, marriage, civil partnership and death certificates.

Certificate available from 
Birth certificates 1864 to present
Adoption certificates 1931 to present
Marriage certificates 1845 to present (non-Roman Catholic marriages)
1864 to present (all registered marriages)
Civil partnership certificates 2005 to present
Death certificates 1864 to present

Long birth or adoption certificate

A long certificate shows the surname, name, sex, date of birth and (in most cases) the district of birth. It also shows details of the registered parents and their occupations. You’ll need a long certificate for driving licence or passport applications

Short birth or adoption certificate

A short certificate shows only the surname, name, sex, date of birth and (in most cases) the district of birth. A short certificate is generally only accepted as proof of age.

Commemorative certificate

You can order a commemorative certificate to mark special occasions, such as a wedding anniversary or a significant birthday. The certificate is printed on specially-designed paper, mounted in a frame and comes in a custom-made presentation box.

Commemorative certificates are only available for births, marriages, civil partnerships and deaths.

You should note that these certificates are for commemorating a significant event only and do not have any legal or evidential value.

Priority certificate

A priority certificate is one that is needed urgently. An additional fee will be charged for priority processing.

Statutory purpose birth certificate

A statutory purpose certificate is a birth certificate that you may be able to get for a reduced fee. They are usually certificates needed for education or social security purposes, for example claiming benefits or if you need a copy of your child’s birth certificate for registering at a new school.

You can’t order these certificates online. You must apply by post or in person.

You’ll need to provide proof with your application that the certificate is required for a statutory purpose. These certificates can only be used for the purposes provided.

Ask for a certificate translation aid

Translation aids for certificates are available in other EU languages.

If you want to ask for a translation aid for a certificate you own or have ordered, you can do so using the form at this link:

Once you have filled in the form, send it by post or email to GRONI.

As the MSF is not a legal document, you’ll need to send it together with the relevant certificate.

GRONI will deal with your translation request within 15 working days.

The aid will be posted to you using non-tracked standard delivery and may take up to five working days within the UK or up to four weeks for Republic of Ireland, Europe and the rest of the world. 



Type of certificate fee (excluding postage)
One certificate (any type including long or short) £15.00

Two or more certified copies of the same certificate

(must be ordered at the same time)

first copy will be charged at £15.00

additional copies cost £8.00 each

Priority certificate (certificate fee plus priority fee) £20.00
Commemorative certificate £40.00
Statutory purpose birth certificate £8.00


Priority and non-priority orders to go to addresses in the UK may take up to five working days from date of issue unless you have chosen to pay for next day delivery.

All certificates to go to addresses outside the UK (ROI/European/Rest of the World) are sent by international standard delivery. This service is not tracked and may take up to four weeks from date of issue.

You can choose to have a priority certificate sent within the UK using Royal Mail's guaranteed next day delivery service. You will be charged a fee for this service.

The following amounts will be added to your payment to cover postage costs:

Country one certificate two certificates three certificates four or more certificates
UK 0* 0* 0* 0*
Europe £0.90  £1.37 £1.37 £2.27
Rest of the world £1.20 £2.03 £2.03 £3.43

* £6.20 for sending priority certificates by guaranteed next day delivery within the UK (£8.10 for commemorative certificates).

Processing times

GRONI aims to issue most non priority applications by the fifth full working day after receipt of the application, however it may take longer during busy periods.

See table below for processing times for priority certificates.

Priority order received Order dispatched
before 12.00 noon on a working day same working day
after 12.00 noon, at weekends or during public holidays next working day


Applications for collection in person may only be made at the General Register Office in Belfast . Non priority applications will be ready to collect on the third working day. If not, it will be posted out providing you have included a postal address on your application.

While you wait

GRO offer a 'while you wait' service for priority applications at the General Register Office in Belfast. Waiting times will be around 20 to 30 minutes.

If you fail to collect your certificate within three working days it will be posted out to the address you have provided.



Share this page


Your comments are anonymous and can’t be responded to - if you would like a reply, use the feedback form.

Your comments
Plain text only, 750 characters maximum. Don't include personal or financial information.