East Lothian Council

Registering a birth

Why register a Birth?

Man holding a baby

You need to register your baby to get a birth certificate. To claim child benefit and any other family-related benefits you will need a birth certificate.  You will also need a birth certificate to enrol your child at school or obtain a passport for going on holiday.

How long do I have to register a birth?

A birth in Scotland must be registered within 21 days

Who can register a birth?

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

  • Any relative of the mother or father/parent, if he or she is married to or in a civil partnership with 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.

A woman who is not married to, or in a civil partnership with, the mother can only register the birth and be named in the register as parent if the provisions of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 apply to them and:

  • She jointly signs the register with the mother;
  • She and the mother sign declarations (these are available from the registrar) that she is the parent; or
  • A court declares that she is the parent 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 on the Scottish Government website.

Married couples

If the child’s parents are married to each other or in a registered civil partnership,  either the mother or father/parent can register the birth. 

Unmarried couples

Where the parents are not married to each other or in a registered civil partnership,  the mother can either: 

  • Register the birth herself (where the father’s/parent’s name is not to be recorded) or
  • Be accompanied by the father/parent where his/her name is to be recorded in the register (please contact the registrar, who can offer further advice, should there be circumstances where both parents cannot attend together)

Same sex parents’ details can only be inserted in the register if the provisions of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 apply.  For more information see http://www.hfea.gov.uk

Where can I register a birth?

The birth can be registered in any registration district in Scotland.  

More details can be found at National Records for Scotland

In East Lothian, you can make an appointment to register a birth at Haddington, Musselburgh or Dunbar (see making an appointment information below).

What documents do I need to bring with me to register a birth?  

Documents to be taken when registering a birth: 

  • The birth card issued by the hospital giving the child’s date and time of birth (Essential)
  • The marriage certificate/civil partnership certificate of the child’s parents (if they are married to each other or in a registered civil partnership) (If Available)
  • Parents birth certificates if parents not married to each other or in a civil partnership (If Available)

What can I expect when registering a birth?

  • The Registrar will aim to see you as close to your appointment time as possible.  We would not expect this to be any later than 10 minutes.
  • You will be invited into a private interview room where the Registrar will ask you for any information needed to Register your baby
  • There is no charge to register a birth.
  • After the birth is registered, the registrar will issue the following, free of charge:
      An abbreviated birth extract (which does not show parentage)
      Form EC58 (this allows the child to be registered with a doctor) 
  • A full birth extract can be purchased (on payment of the statutory fee) from the registrar at any time.  If the extract is purchased at the time of registration or within 1 month of registration, the fee is £10.

Please note that any further extracts purchased out with one month of the Registration taking place will be £15 per copy.

Making an appointment

All Births Registrations are by appointment only. 

Appointments can be made in either Haddington, John Muir House, Musselburgh, Brunton Hall or Dunbar, Bleachingfield Centre. 

Appointments can be made by telephone, e-mail or in person.  Please contact one of our Registration Offices to make your appointment. 

East Lothian Council, John Muir House Brewery Park Haddington East Lothian EH41 3HA.