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Registering a Birth

Who can Register a Birth in Scotland?

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A child's father or mother has a duty to register the birth. In the case of the death or inability of the father or mother the following persons can register the birth:

  • Any relative of the mother or father, if he is married to the mother, being a relative who has knowledge of the birth;
  • The occupier of the premises in which the child was, to the knowledge of that occupier, born;
  • Any person present at the birth;
  • Any person having charge of the child.

A father who is not married to the mother can only register the birth and be named in the register as the father if:

  • He jointly signs the register with the mother;
  • He and the mother sign declarations (these are available from the registrar) that he is the father; or
  • A court declares that he is the father and the mother registers the birth.
Information on who has parental responsibilities and rights for a child is available in the Scottish Government publication Family matters:  family law and young people in Scotland

How and Where do I Register a Birth?

Any birth which occurs in Scotland must be registered within twenty-one days by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. The law allows a birth to be registered in any registration district in Scotland.  You can obtain the address of the local registrar from the hospital, the doctor, the telephone book (see under 'Registration of Births, Death and Marriages') and the Directory of Registrars in Scotland (172 Kb pdf file).
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What Documents Should I Take to the Registrar?

You should take with you:

  • The card issued by the hospital;
  • The marriage certificate of the child's parents.

Do not worry if any of these documents are not available as the registrar can still proceed to register the birth.

When the registration is complete the registrar will give you free of charge an abbreviated extract (i.e. excluding parentage details) of the birth entry.

You can obtain a full extract of the birth entry for a fee.

What if the Birth Occurs Abroad?

You should register the birth according to local regulations in the country concerned and obtain a birth certificate. You may also be able to register the birth with the British Consul in that country for a fee. However, you are under no obligation to do so. A record of the birth will be sent to Scotland and you will thereafter be able to obtain a copy from New Register House.

Page last updated: 2 August 2012

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