Following the birth of your child, you should have registered the event within 42 days. If you have done, there will be a birth certificate which you can request at any time, available from both the General Register Office and the local register office. Reasons for requesting a birth certificate can range from opening a bank account, to applying for a passport. A birth certificate is something which you cannot afford to go without and knowing where and how to get one, is important. Maybe you had a birth certificate, but are not sure anymore where it is. If you know where the birth took place, you can request a birth certificate from the register office, where the event took place. For some reason, births go unregistered. Again it is still possible to register the birth years after it occurred.
British citizen births outside the United Kingdom are usually registered overseas, at the British Consul or High Commission. In some cases the birth, might have been registered in the U.K. Not all births are registered in the United Kingdom though, meaning you should be able to get a copy of the birth certificate in the country you were born. Ring the embassy of the country you were born in, in the UK. If your language skills are not up to scratch, the Overseas Registration Department from the G.R.O. can do it for you. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Local Document Search should still be able to help you if you are unable to get a copy of your birth certificate from overseas.
If you are opening a baby’s bank account, a birth certificate will be needed. Errors when registering a birth do happen. They can be corrected, but documentary proof of the error will be required. Contact the office where the birth was registered. It does happen where a hyphen has been added incorrectly. The implications for the individual can be massive. Some banks are very strict about such small details, so best to get it sorted. When making the request for the birth certificate, make sure you know there are two types. Paying for the wrong one will be frustrating and for the most part useless. The one to request is the “full” birth certificate. It contains more details than the short one and will help you apply for passports, open bank accounts or inherit monies. The short version is just an extract of the full one; it does not contain all the details and will not give you the benefits mentioned.
Make sure if you have not got all the details about the birth, you have as much as possible. An index reference number is worth having. It refers to the birth event and is only of use to the General Register Office. It helps find the correct entry quickly. Most indexes from 1837 onwards can be found at some large libraries. A fee will be charged, which depends on whether you know the index number or not.