Since the invention of the internet, we have been able to access much more information, more easily and more quickly than was previously possible. Whatever the topic, wherever in the world, we can search and read up about much anything. Up until the arrival of the internet, we either had to go by word of mouth or use books from our local library to find out more information. Before we make up our minds about spending money online, we can read up about the product, or if it’s a destination you are thinking of visiting, you can often browse the location through official websites. In more recent times, we have had the addition of what some people see as the controversial Google street view. Anybody who is living in Europe, but would like to know more about another part of the world, all I have to do is use street view, to see if the area I am interested in looks worth visiting. We can also read up reviews about a book or author we are interested in. If we like the book, we can order it and have it sent to anywhere in the world.
Another benefit of the internet has been the ability to order important documents which we would have had to either pick up in person, having had to fly to the location, or having to kindly ask a relative to pick up an item for us and take on the costs of sending the item. We can now find out the necessary information online and find out additional information through the use of electronic mail or in some cases use a live chat to get information quickly. If you were born in the United Kingdom but have since moved to live somewhere else, you can still have important documents sent to you.
Ordering a birth certificate will require knowledge of some basic details, to help the process run more smoothly. Often the details are not known, as some births go unrecorded, especially in less well off countries. If a person(s) has moved to the United Kingdom and would like to settle here and work, get married or open a bank account, they will need a birth certificate. Some less well off countries are retrospectively registering births, which offer an opportunity to get an official identity and a job and an income to settle into a stable life. To request a birth certificate, you need to first register with an officially credited website. This is a process that will only need to be done once. This information will be stored and used in future if you wish to request any other certificates such as marriage, adoptions, deaths or civil partnerships. In order to keep an up to date system, the details you supplied, will also be checked should you make another application. The information you supply can be changed at a later date. Not everybody stays at the same address and some people’s personal situations or details change. A central copy of all registrations in Wales and England, is available from the General Register Office, but for a more regional birth, death, adoption or marriage, there is the option of a Local Register Office, which is more useful for those that know the location of the event.
Another point to note is the General Register Office index reference, which allows you to order “full” birth certificates from as far back as 1837. If however you have not got the index reference number, you can still order certificates for any event from 1900 onwards, as long as you know the exact date of the event. Supplying the index reference number gives you the bonus of being sent within four working days. Without the reference there is a longer delay of about 15 working days. So if you have not got the number, but have got some time on your hands, it might be worth having a look for it, depending on how urgently you need it. The General Register Office is able to give certificates for some births, deaths and marriages registered overseas, for further details about these, speak to a member of staff who can fill you in on the requirements. Most town and cities have a centre where citizens can request help or assistance in finding the right people and place to go, if you still are not sure what to do, or are having difficulty filling out any paperwork. Most businesses that deal with the general public are aware and have made the necessary steps to help people who might be dyslexic, short sighted, or even blind or not yet understand the English language, if they come from a non- English speaking country.
Having registered with the website and gathered the necessary data related to the event you can now proceed with the order. Few things are done for free these days, if you are ordering a certificate, a fee of £9.25 will be charged for the standard service. For a more urgent service, the fee increases to £23.40, this could be worth it, if you need it quickly. What should also be noted is the fee of £23.40, although it might appear expensive, it is a priority service and includes the price of each individual copy. With the priority service, if your order is in by 4.00pm on a working day, the certificate you ordered, will be sent out by first class post the very next working day. To use the special delivery option, orders have to be done over the phone. For Northern Ireland, similar service exists and can be processed in the same way. Due to the changing history in the province, the ordering of certificates might not always be available for the required period. Fees vary for Scotland and Northern Ireland and should be checked before proceeding. For those without a credit or debit card, an application form can be used and sent by post, enclosing a cheque or postal order.