British Birth Certificate Overseas

British Birth Certificate Example

Key Takeaways 

  • To get a birth certificate, you have to register the birth online at the General Register Office (GRO).
  • For a Consular Birth Certificate, you have to have been born on or after January 1, 1983 & have your foreign birth registered at a British consulate or high commission (embassy).

How to get a British birth certificate overseas

To get a British Birth Certificate overseas, first you need to register the birth at the General Register Office (GRO). For births in England and Wales, go here to this UK government page and click on the green Start Now button. You’ll need to register with GRO if it’s your first time visiting the site, and then you can apply for a Birth Certificate online.

  • Once registered, you will have to provide information about the birth for which you are applying for a certificate for. If unable to fill in all the fields (boxes), you won’t be able to apply online for your British Birth Certificate and should instead use the telephone service:
    • Call +44(0) 300 123 1837 for further information on applying for a birth certificate by phone.
  • Please note that GRO can only provide birth certificates for births that occurred at least 6 months prior to the date of application.
  • The cost for the online service is £11 if you can supply them with your GRO index reference. If you don’t have your GRO index reference, then the cost is £14. The priority service costs £35 and £38,
  • If you live overseas, allow a minimum of 15 working days for delivery from the estimated date of despatch (the date the document is sent to you). If you still haven’t received your birth certificate, go here to this GRO webpage to fill out an online form to contact the office.

For people born overseas, you will have a local birth certificate and not a British Birth Certificate. You can use your local birth certificate (as long as it’s certified and translated into English if in another language) to obtain a British passport, as well as for obtaining other services. However, if you wish, you can get what is called a Consular Birth Registration Certificate or Consular Birth Certificate for short.

Tip for Renewals: Click here for country-specific information: Canada and USA. 

To apply for a Consular Birth Certificate online, you must:

Please remember that if you already have British nationality, you do not need to register your birth abroad with UK authorities in order to get a UK passport. If you haven’t automatically acquired British citizenship by descent, you can register as a British national by descent, if you are eligible.

To register a birth abroad, go to this UK government page and click on the green Start now button. Choose the country and then answer questions on the parents’ nationality, their marriage or relationship, and where they currently live. You then receive a set of instructions on where to register the birth. Normally this will be in the overseas country where the child was born, although you may also be able to register the birth with British authorities.

  • If the child is born in Australia, Bermuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, the British Virgin Islands, Canada, the Falkland Islands, New Zealand, Saint Helena Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, or Turks and Caicos Islands, you must register the birth with the authorities in that country/territory only. However, your birth certificate will be accepted and recognized in the UK.