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Re-registering a birth, correcting information and changing your name

A birth re-registration can be requested for two reasons:

  • to add the natural father's details to a birth certificate
  • to show that the child's natural parents have married each other since the birth

Details that are already on the birth certificate cannot be amended via the re-registration process. If any details are incorrect, a correction is required.

You will need to call 020 8379 1000 to book an appointment to re-register the birth.

If the child's parents are not married and wish to add the natural father's details to the birth registration, you will both need to attend the appointment. The father will need to tell the registrar:

  • his full name
  • where he was born
  • what he does for work

If you cannot attend the appointment together, you will need to contact us for more information.

If the child's natural parents have married each other since the birth and wish to show this on the birth registration, either parent can attend the appointment. Both parents are welcome to attend. Whoever attends will need to provide the necessary information to the registrar. If you were not married in the United Kingdom, you will need to contact us for more information.

The waiting time for a re-registration appointment varies and you may have to wait until one becomes available. This is because:

  • some re-registration circumstances are more complicated than others
  • customer demand is sometimes high
  • we give priority to new birth registrations

If the re-registration is urgent you should discuss your requirements with the registrar when you contact us to make your appointment.

A re-registration appointment takes around 40 minutes.

When you book your re-registration appointment you need to pay a booking fee by credit or debit card. This will be refunded in full after the re-registration appointment subject to terms and conditions.

At the appointment, you will need to hand in all your old certificates and buy new ones. New certificates cost a fee. The booking fee you have already paid can cover the cost of any certificates issued on the day of your appointment. We will then refund what's left of the booking fee.

A booking fee is payable to secure an appointment to re-register a birth. This will be refunded in full at the time of the appointment subject to the following exceptions:

  • the parent or parents arrive late for the appointment
  • the parent or parents fail to attend the appointment
  • the parent or parents fail to bring the correct documents required, including a valid fully completed application form
  • in the case of a joint re-registration, the parents arrive separately and at different times
  • there are errors or corrections in the birth certificate that the registrar has not been made aware of prior to the booking
  • the registrar cannot proceed with the re-registration because the matter must be referred to the Registrar General for authorisation
  • the parent or parents do not bring the same credit or debit card used to pay the booking fee

Rescheduling or cancelling an appointment

A notice period of two full working days must be given to:

  • rearrange an appointment
  • cancel an appointment with a view to receiving a refund

Once you have paid a booking fee, you thereby accept these terms and conditions.

If a person involved in a registration makes a mistake that they notice later, they can request to make a correction.

In some cases a correction will need approval from the General Register Office before the registrar can take any action. You will also need to supply an original and acceptable form of evidence showing the correct information.

The length of time it takes to get a correction depends on how straightforward your request is. For example, you may need an appointment with the registrar to complete the process or you may need approval from the General Registrar Office. There is a set fee to apply for a correction. You will need to hand in all your old certificates and new ones will cost an extra fee. You can make payments by credit or debit card only.

For information about what you need to do, contact us. We will give you a form to fill in and ask you to pay a fee for the consideration of your application. The fee is non-refundable even if your application is unsuccessful. You can also get more information from the General Register Office.

The Births and Deaths Registration Act allows changes to forenames to be recorded in the birth register. You can apply for this to be done if the child's new forename or forenames are given within 12 months of the birth being registered.

You can't change the child's surname in this way.

To do this, you need to contact us for a "Certificate of name not given in baptism" form. This form can be completed by either parent if the father's details are on the birth record. If the father's details are not on the birth record, the mother will need to complete the form.

If you have baptised the child with his or her new name, you can change the name recorded in the birth certificate as long as the child was baptised within 12 months of the birth being registered.

A form called "Certificate of name given in baptism" will need to be completed by the vicar or minister of the church where the baptism took place. This form is available from the Enfield Register Office. The church may charge you a fee to complete the form.

You will need to hand in all your certificates showing the child's old name along with your completed form.

There is a set fee for this service. This fee is for the consideration of your application to change the child’s forenames and is non-refundable, even if your application is unsuccessful. New certificates showing the new name cost an extra fee. If the child's forename changed within 12 months of the birth being registered but you have not applied for the register to be changed within this timeframe, you will need to supply documentary evidence that the name was changed within the 12-month period.

After we receive your form and fee, your application will take up to ten working days to process. We will tell you if your application is unsuccessful.

If you're not changing the name but wish to correct an error in the spelling, you will need to apply for a correction.

You will need to change the child's name by deed poll if:

  • the child is over 12 months old
  • you wish to change the child's surname
  • have no documentary evidence to show the child’s correct name

If both parents are named on the birth record they will both need to sign the deed poll to consent to a name change for a child aged 15 years or under.

Changing your name is not something that should be done without careful consideration of the consequences. This page provides a basic guide, but some points of law are complex. If you believe your circumstances are complicated, you should seek legal advice.

The most common use of a deed poll is to change a name, but a deed poll is actually a legal document that binds a person to a particular course of action. A deed poll to change a name is more formally known as a 'Change of Name Deed'. It commits you to the following actions:

  • to renounce and abandon the use of your former name or names
  • to use your new name or names at all times
  • to require people to address you only by your new name or names

A deed poll will enable you to formally change your name on documents and records such as your:

  • driving licence
  • passport
  • bank account

You will need to contact everyone who holds details about you because part of the deed poll declaration is that you will be using your new name at all times.

You can't change your birth and marriage certificates with your deed poll. If the purpose of your deed poll is to alter a particular document, you should check first with the issuer of the document that a change will be allowed.

You don't need a deed poll if you are:

  • a married woman changing her surname to her husband's using a marriage certificate
  • a person in a civil partnership changing their surname to their partner's using a civil partnership certificate
  • a divorced woman reverting to her maiden surname using her decree absolute
  • a widowed woman reverting to her maiden surname using her late husband's death certificate and her marriage certificate

Although the possibilities for a new name are almost limitless, there are some basic conditions that it will have to meet. These are mostly in place to make sure you don't have problems when changing documents such as your passport.

Anyone over the age of 16 can change their name by deed poll. Anyone under 16 needs written consent to change their name from the people who have parental responsibility for them. These people must also apply for the name change on behalf of the child.

Everyone who has parental responsibility for the child needs to be present to sign the deed poll and give their written agreement.

The only exception to this is a court order allowing a change of name without the consent of everyone who has parental responsibility. To do this you will need to make an application to a court for a ‘specific issue order' under Section 8 of the Children Act 1989.

To find out more you can contact us or visit GOV.UK.