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UK Vital Statistics Certificates FAQ

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Many British citizens living in Canada and those Canadians who by decent can claim British citizenship may need to apply for essential British documents like birth certificates and passports.

British passport information for citizens living in Canada can be obtained from the British Embassy website or you can see our FAQ. For birth, marriage and death certificate from the UK please consult the following websites:

General Register Office England & Wales

General Registrar for Scotland

General Register Office for Northern Ireland.

What information must I supply to get a copy of a UK birth certificate?

If you are applying for a birth certificate for a birth that took place in the last 50 years you must provided the full name, full date of birth, and parents’ names including the mother’s maiden name. If the birth occurred over 50 years ago you need only provide the first name and surname and the date or year of birth. It is useful to include a location particularly if the name is common.

What information does a UK birth certificate contain?

British birth certificates contain Registration district, sub-district and county, the full name of the person born, date of birth, place of birth, father’s full name (if named), mother’s full name, mother’s maiden name (and any other previous names if relevant), father’s occupation, if named, signature, description and residence of informant, date the birth was registered, the signature of the registrar, the date the certificate was produced.

I want a copy of my grandfather’s British birth certificate. Am I eligible to apply even though he is still living?

Yes. In the UK birth, marriage and death certificates are considered public records and anyone can apply for a copy whether they are related to the person they are applying for or not.

How will the General Register office in the UK deliver my birth certificate to me in Canada?

Your certificate will be delivered by the UK Royal Mail. It takes around 7 days to arrive in Canada although you can pay to have priority delivery which may be slightly quicker.

I have lost my British birth certificate but I live in Canada. How can I apply for a new one?

You can order an English or Welsh British birth certificate online at the General Register Office website, which is a division of the UK Identity and Passport Office. For certificates from Scotland you need to apply through the General Registrar for Scotland and for certificates from Northern Ireland through the General Register Office for Northern Ireland.

How can I claim British citizenship by descent?

To qualify for British citizenship and the right to obtain a British passport by descent, you must be able to prove that your biological father was a British citizen at the time of your birth and that he was legally married to your mother at that time. To claim British nationality by descent on your mother’s side you must prove that your mother was a British citizen at the time of your birth.

I am a British citizen living as a permanent resident in Canada. How can I renew my British passport from Canada?

You can renew your British passport from Canada by visiting the British Embassy website. British passports for residents in Canada are issued from Washington DC, USA. Please see our FAQ for any further questions.

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