Registering and naming your baby

Babies born in Northern Ireland must be registered within 42 days of the birth. A baby can be registered in any District Registration office in Northern Ireland.

Who can register a birth?

  • the father or mother (if married to each other)
  • the father and mother (if unmarried)
  • grandmother
  • grandfather
  • uncle or aunt of the baby who has knowledge of the birth
  • any person present at the birth
  • any person having charge of the child
  • the occupier of the premises where the baby was born

In the case of a child born to an unmarried couple, the name of the father may only be recorded in the entry of birth if both parents are there to sign the registration together or a declaration of paternity is produced.

Download a declaration of paternity form

An unmarried father who registers the birth of his child jointly with the child's natural mother, and has his name recorded on the birth registration form, acquires parental responsibilities for children born on or after 15 April 2002.

For female couples in a civil partnership, where the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 applies to the birth, either parent can register the birth.

Where the female couple are not in a civil partnership, the mother must register the birth. The name of her partner can only be registered if the partner satisfies the agreed female parenthood conditions as set out in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008. In this case both parents must be there to sign the registration together.

Documents and information needed

You will need to provide the following to register a birth:

  • a birth registration form filled in by the person registering the birth
  • full name of the baby
  • sex and date of birth of the baby
  • district and place of birth of the baby
  • full names and dates of birth of parents
  • full addresses and occupations of the parents

Submitting the registration form

You can download the registration form at the link below.

A birth registration cannot be easily changed once completed, so make sure to fill out the registration form carefully.

Completed forms are to be brought in person to any district registration office in Northern Ireland

Documents you will receive

Once the registration is completed, the Registrar will give you one free short birth certificate and an Infant Registration Card (HS123) to register with the family doctor and get a medical card.

Additional copies of a birth certificate

Birth certificates, either short or long, can be bought from the Registrar at the time of registration for £8.00 per copy.

If you need to order additional copies of birth certificate after registration, you can find out more about ordering from the General Register Office

Re-registration of a birth

If your child’s birth was registered without the father’s details or before you and your partner were married, you may want to re-register the birth to update the registration and change the child’s name or surname.

If both the mother and the father want the father’s name to be recorded on the birth entry, you should complete application form GRO 12. 

If there has been a court issued Declaration of Parentage, you should complete form GRO 12A and send to the General Register Office with the declaration.

Where a child has been born to an unmarried couple who have since married, you should complete form GRO 15.

Completed forms should be sent or brought in person to the General Register Office.

Correcting a birth certificate

Occasionally an error may appear on a birth certificate, for example an incorrect address or wrong date. 

You should complete the following form to tell the General Register Office of the correction required.

Completed forms should be sent or brought in person to the General Register Office.


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