BIRTH CERTIFICATES AND CERTIFIED TRANSLATION
We receive many requests for certified translations of birth certificates, both into English and from English to other languages. Your birth certificate is one of your primary identity documents, along with your passport or national identity card. It may be required in many situations, as it is the first official document that proves the identity and age of a person. If you are a British citizen living abroad, you might need it to renew your passport, get married, apply for local residency, etc. Here we present some information on what exactly a birth certificate is, how you might go about obtaining one in the the UK, and when you might need to get a certified translation of one.
WHAT IS A BIRTH CERTIFICATE?
Simply put, and according to Wikipedia, “a birth certificate is a vital record that documents the birth of a person. The term "birth certificate" can refer to either the original document certifying the circumstances of the birth or to a certified copy of or representation of the ensuing registration of that birth. Depending on the jurisdiction, a record of birth might or might not contain verification of the event by such as a midwife or doctor.”
THE HISTORY OF THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE
The documentation of births is something that has been going on for as for back as written records allow us to track, and was happening across many parts of the world, from ancient Rome and Greece, to China and in the Mayan and Aztec civilizations. The process continued throughout history and is now a universal and legally required practice throughout the world.
HOW A BIRTH IS REGISTERED IN UK: THE "BIRTH ENTRY"
The British birth certificate is the official document issued by the Registrar General's Office to attest to a person's birth. When a British citizen is born, the parents have 42 days to register him or her at the local General Register Office. This is where the birth and the newborn baby's details are recorded: forenames, surname, place of birth, date, time, sex and parents' details. This is called a "Birth Entry". Every time you need to certify these data (to prove your age and identity) you must apply for a Birth Certificate at the General Registry Office of the District where you were born.
BIRTH CERTIFICATES IN THE UK: "LONG FORM" AND "SHORT FORM”
In the UK there are 2 different types of Birth Certificates: Long-form and Short-form.
The long-form certificate is an exact copy of your Birth Registration Entry. The document is officially printed and attests to your last name, first name, date, time and place of birth and information about your parents (first names, last names and profession).
The short-form birth certificate is a document issued by the relevant registry and includes only your name, date and district where your birth occurred. As it does not include information about your parents, this certificate will not be useful in cases related to parentage: wills, inheritance, etc.
WHY MIGHT YOU NEED A BIRTH CERTIFICATE?
The birth certificate is the first official document issued by a country to prove a person's identity and age. This is why, in both the UK and abroad, a birth certificate is required for many important and official purposes. Any British resident can be asked to produce their birth certificate in order to get a driving licence, obtain or renew a passport or National Insurance Number. It may also be requested if you get married, apply for or accept certain jobs, open a bank account or apply for a mortgage. If your birth certificate is requested and it is and in a language other than English, you will a certified translation. Just ask us - we guarantee both acceptance and the cheapest possible price though our unique price guarantee.
WHO CAN REQUEST A BIRTH CERTIFICATE IN THE UK?
In the UK any citizen can request a Birth Certificate, either their own or someone else's. This information is considered a public record and, under UK law, any citizen can consult it.
WHAT DO YOU NEED IN ODER TO REQUEST A BIRTH CERTIFICATE?
The only requirement to apply for a Birth Certificate in the UK is to know and indicate all the details about the person whose certificate you are requesting. These details are: forenames, surname, place and date of birth, the mother's forename and maiden name and the father's forename and surname. If you provide this information and pay the fee for the certificate, you will obtain it without any difficulty.
WHO ISSUES BIRTH CERTIFICATES IN THE UK?
There are three institutions in the UK where data on births, deaths, marriages, civil unions and adoptions are stored and managed. They are also responsible for issuing the certificates:
- In England and Wales the body responsible for issuing Birth Certificates is the General Register Office.
- In Scotland the issuance of birth certificates is the responsibility of the National Records of Scotland.
- In Northern Ireland the General Register Office for Northern Ireland is responsible for issuing birth certificates.
HOW TO ORDER A BIRTH CERTIFICATE IN UK
In the UK you can request a Birth Certificate in 4 ways: (1) in person (2) by telephone (3) by post and (4) online. Choose the most convenient option in your case, taking into account whether you are abroad or are going to manage it from the UK. We explain you how to order one in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
ORDER THE CERTIFICATE IN PERSON
This is usually the quickest way to request a birth certificate, as in many cases delivery is immediate. The first step is to find the District Registration Office which applies to the town or city where the relevant person was born. Once you know which one it is, confirm by telephone, check the opening hours, and get an appointment is necessary.
- If you were born in England or Wales, find the address and telephone number of the District Register Office you need by using the General Register Office District Search Engine.
- If you were born in Scotland: download the directory of Offices of the "National Records of Scotland".
- If you were born in Northern Ireland: you must go to the General Register Office for Northern Ireland headquarters at Colby House, Stranmillis Court, Belfast, BT9 5RR
ORDER THE CERTIFICATE BY PHONE
In the UK you can also order a birth certificate by phone. When you call you will be asked for all the details of the birth you want to certify and you will have to provide the details of a Credit/Debit Card (Visa or Maestro) to pay for the certificate.
- England and Wales: request your English or Welsh birth certificate by telephone on 0300 123 1837 (Monday to Friday from 8 am to 8 pm and Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm).
- Scotland: you can order your Scottish birth certificate by calling 0131 314 4411 (if calling from outside Scotland use +44 131 314 4411). The opening hours are Monday to Friday from 9 am to 4.30 pm.
- Northern Ireland: order your Northern Irish birth certificate by phone on 0300 200 7890 (or +44 300 200 7890 if you are calling from outside the UK). The opening hours are Monday to Friday from 9 am to 4 pm.
ORDER THE CERTIFICATE BY POST
In the UK it is also possible to order your birth certificate by post.
- If you were born in Wales or England: download the General Register Office Birth Certificate application form and fill it in using block capitals with a black pen. Then send it to the following postal address: General Register Office, PO Box 2, Southport, Merseyside, PR8 2JD.
- If you were born in Scotland: download the National Records of Scotland Birth Certificate application form and send it to the following postal address: HM General Register House, 2 Princes Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3YY.
- If you were born in Northern Ireland: download the Birth Certificate Application Form from the send it to the following postal address: General Register Office: Colby House, Stranmillis Court, Belfast, BT9 5RR
ORDER THE CERTIFICATE ONLINE
You can also order your Birth Certificate online using the Official Portal of the UK country where you or the person corresponding person was born.
- For England and Wales us the website of the General Record Office, England & Wales
- For Scotland use the website of the Scotland People, Scotland
- For Northern Ireland use the website of the General Record Office for Northern Ireland
HOW MUCH DOES A BRITISH BIRTH CERTIFICATE COST?
Ordering a birth certificate costs £11.00 in England and Wales, £12 in Scotland and £15 in Northern Ireland. Additional charges may be added to these amounts (£10-£15, for example, if you request express delivery). You can pay for your birth certificate in cash or by cheque (if you apply in person) or by VISA or Maestro Credit/Debit Card if you apply by post, telephone or internet.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET A BIRTH CERTIFICATE?
If you have requested a birth certificate in person at relevant District Registration Office, delivery will be immediate or within 4 days. Each office has its own delivery times but if you have ordered your certificate online or by post and you live in the UK it will take approximately 2 weeks. Deliveries outside the UK usually take a minimum of 4 weeks. If necessary you can use the Express Delivery Service (only for UK shipments) and receive it the day after your order.
LEGALISATION BY "HAGUE APOSTILLE"
The Hague Apostille is the procedure that will allow you to legalise your birth certificate in English so that it will be valid in countries that are signatories of the Hague Convention, a treaty that was established to reduce diplomatic bureaucracy. By obtaining this stamp on your British document, known as the Hague Apostille, it will be recognised in most other countries (China is a notable exception).
You must obtain the Apostille stamp in the UK before translating your birth certificate. You will find all of the necessary information on how to legalise British certificates on this UK government website.
CERTIFIED TRANSLATION OF A BIRTH CERTIFICATE
If you have a foreign birth certificate, in a language other than English, and wish for it to be translated into English for official use in the UK, the process is simple. We can get it translated by a qualified translator and add the necessary certification which is required by the UK government and other British organisations and institutions. We guarantee acceptance, along with the cheapest prices for certified translations.
If you need your UK birth certificate translated into another language for official use abroad, we can also do this for you, but the process is a little more complicated as it will need to be according to the rules regarding certified translations of the country in question. Just get in touch for more details.