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

Book an appointment to register a birth

From 1 May 2024, Dorchester Registration Office will be located at County Hall, Colliton Park, Dorchester DT1 1XJ.

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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. 

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. If you are resident in the Dorset Council area you can make a declaration with us for a birth that occurred elsewhere. We will take the details and send them on to the registrars where the baby was born and they will complete the registration. You may need to contact them to order certificates.

Privacy Notice

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