Registering a birth


All births should be registered within 42 days.

Birth registration interviews are in person at our register offices.

  • Please arrive no more than 10 minutes before your appointment.
  • Our offices are small, only those essential to the registration should attend. Where the parents are married or in a civil partnership, only one parent can sign the register.

Babies born in East Sussex (excluding Brighton & Hove)

Babies born elsewhere

The birth should be registered by the registrar for the district where the birth took place. Search for a Register Office (gov.uk)

We have special arrangements with Brighton & Hove City Council and also with West Sussex County Council for East Sussex residents who gave birth in their administrative areas.

Babies born in Brighton & Hove

Residents of Brighton & Hove who gave birth in Brighton and Hove City Council’s administrative area cannot register at East Sussex register offices.

Babies born in West Sussex

Residents of West Sussex who gave birth in West Sussex County Council’s administrative area cannot register at East Sussex register offices.


Married or civil partner parents

Either parent can register the birth on their own. They must include both parents’ details if they were married or in a civil partnership when the baby was born or conceived.

The law does not allow both parents to sign the register if they are married or in a civil partnership.

Unmarried, non-civil partner parents 

The details of both parents can be included on the birth certificate if they both sign the birth register.

During the appointment, the registrar will need to interview both parents. 

If the unmarried mother attends alone, the father will not be named on the birth certificate. But he can be added at a later time by Re-registering the birth.


Married or civil partner parents

Either parent can register the birth on their own if both of these statements are true:

  • the mother has a child by donor insemination or fertility treatment
  • she was married or in a civil partnership at the time of the treatment

Unmarried, non-civil partner parents

When a mother is not married or in a civil partnership, her partner can be registered as the child’s second parent if both women:

  • are treated together in the UK by a licensed clinic
  • have made a ‘parenthood agreement’

For both parents’ details to be recorded on the birth certificate, they must both attend  the appointment, and sign the register. 


Male couples must get a parental order (gov.uk) from the court before they can be registered as parents.

Please call us on 0345 60 80 198 to arrange to register in these circumstances.


In exceptional circumstances, if the parents cannot register the birth (for example, for medical reasons) certain other people can do it:

  • Someone who was present at the birth
  • Someone who is legally responsible for the child
  • A member of the administrative staff at the hospital where the child was born

Please call us on 0345 60 80 198 to arrange to register in these circumstances.


During your appointment, the registrar will ask you:

  • When was the birth
  • Where did it happen
  • The full names of the parent(s) (including alternative and previous names)
  • Dates and places of birth of the parent(s)
  • The occupations of the parent(s)
  • The home address of the parent(s)

You MUST check the entry carefully before signing. A correction to a birth register entry will cost up to £90 plus the cost of replacement certificates.

Certificates can only be issued after the register page is signed.

See our privacy notice, for more information about how we use your data.


Birth certificates can be ordered after the register entry is signed.

Why not ask your Registrar about purchasing Commemorative Certificate or a Registrar's Fountain Pen to mark the occasion?


You should make a claim for Child Benefit (gov.uk) after registering the birth.

In addition to monthly payments, Child Benefit can help protect your state pension (by providing National Insurance credits for periods away from work) and ensures that each child automatically receives their National Insurance Number at age 16. 

  • For your first child, you must complete the Child Benefit claim form (gov.uk). This should be sent to the Child Benefit office.
  • If you don’t have access to a printer, you can call 0300 200 3100 to request a form in the post.
  • The form also contains information for the small minority of families who may be eligible for the High-Income Child Benefit Charge (gov.uk).
  • If you already have a Child Benefit claim, you can add further children by calling HMRC on the number above.

Unmarried parents

To add the father to a birth registration at a later date, you can apply to re-register the birth using Form GRO185 (gov.uk).

Once the form is complete, phone us on 0345 60 80 198 to book your re-registration appointment.

Re-registration is free but new certificates, showing the updated registration are charged at the standard statutory fee of £11 each.

Married Parents

If you married after registering the birth of your child, you can re-register to show your married surname (if it is different to the surname used on the original birth registration).

You can apply to do this by completing Form LA1 (gov.uk).

Form LA1 can also be used to add the natural father's name to the birth registration after the parents have married, if he was not previously named on the original birth certificate.

Once the form is complete, phone us on 0345 60 80 198 to book your Re-registration appointment.


An unbaptised child's forename(s) can be changed in the register under certain, specific circumstances.

  • The application and change to the register must take place within 12 months of the original registration.

Or

  • The application and change to the register may be after 12 months of the original registration where the applicant supplies the Registrar with evidence showing the new name was used for the child within the first 12 months.

The original name remains on the register entry, but the new name is inserted in space 17 at the foot of the page and takes precedence.

  • Complete Form 14 below and submit the completed form with payment of the statutory £40 fee to the register office.
  • All original certificates should be surrendered to the register office.
  • This change to the register does not require you to attend the register office.
  • Order new certificates showing the new name after this change has been completed.

Call 0345 60 80 198 to arrange for a Space 17 Change of name.

Application Form Guide (Form 14) [56.9 KB] [pdf]

A guide to help you complete the application to change a child's name

Changing your child's name in baptism

A child's forename(s) can be changed on the register when baptised according to the rites of the Christian Church within the first 12 months.

  • The original name remains on the register entry, but the new name is inserted in space 17 at the foot of the page and takes precedence.
  • The officiating Minister or person with custody of the baptismal register should complete Form 13 below.
  • The parents should submit the completed form with payment of the statutory £40 fee to the register office.
  • All original certificates should be surrendered to the register office.
  • This change to the register does not require you to attend the register office.
  • Order new certificates showing the new name after this change has been completed.

Call 0345 60 80 198 to arrange for a Space 17 Change of name given in baptism.


Support for families

Family Hub East Sussex helps families from pregnancy onwards.

  • Help with pregnancy, birth and the early years, to give your child the best start in life.
  • What family hubs have to offer dads, partners and step-parents with children of all ages.
  • How to contact our family advice service if you are struggling with any aspects of family life.
  • Join a session or group and learn positive parenting skills to make family life easier.

Postnatal depression (PND)

Postnatal depression (PND) is a type of depression that many parents experience after having a baby.

It can affect any parent, regardless of whether they’ve suffered from a mental health condition before.

Postnatal depression is linked directly to giving birth and is a common problem, affecting 1 in 10 women within a year of giving birth.

It can also affect dads and partners.

Get help from PANDAS Foundation UK


Any person who knowingly and wilfully gives false information to a registrar for the purposes of the registration of a birth is liable to prosecution for perjury.


To book your appointment and to register a birth you will need to share some personal information with us.

Please refer to our Privacy Notice for details about how and why we use your data.

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