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

Coronavirus information

  • birth registration appointments can now take place at our Dorchester, Bridport, Ferndown, Gillingham, Wareham and Weymouth offices for babies born within the Dorset Council area (excluding Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole)
  • birth declaration appointments for babies born outside of the Dorset Council area will be made available once the backlog of local births has been progressed
  • you are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering when attending an appointment (unless exempt) to help keep our registrars safe
  • please arrive no more than 5 minutes before your appointment
  • if you are showing any symptoms of Covid-19 or are self-isolating you must not attend an appointment

Book an appointment to register a birth

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

You can also contact us to book an appointment.

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 weren't 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.

Read more information on who can register a birth.

Where to register a birth

You can register a birth in the Dorset Council area at one of our register offices.

What you'll need to tell us

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
  • date of parents' marriage if applicable
  • parents' occupations
  • mother's maiden surname

We'll also need to know: 

  • parents' names, surnames and address
  • places and dates of parents' birth

We recommend that you bring your passports or birth certificates to prove this information and prevent mistakes.

Birth certificates

You can buy a birth certificate at your appointment for £11. We accept cash, cheques and credit cards.

Births outside of the Dorset Council area

If the baby was born outside of the Dorset Council area (including Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole) you should register the birth in the district where the birth took place.

Privacy Notice

For more information about how we handle your personal data see the Registration Service Privacy Notice.

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