All birth certificates supplied are full long form certified copies for England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and include parents names.
The certificate will normally include full name of child, mother's name, father's name (when registered) DoB, where born and registration district.
In most countries, a birth certificate is a vital record usually containing most of the following information:
- Name at birth
- Date and time of birth
- Birth registration number (NHS number in UK)
- Legal parent(s) (in some countries including parents' occupations, places of birth, and maiden name of the mother)
The certificate is issued shortly after a person's birth, usually after the mother's physician files the required forms with the appropriate agency. It is normally compulsory to obtain a birth certificate for a newborn.
The official birth certificate is usually stored at a record office, and certified copies of the original are issued when requested. In Canada and the United States of America, it is stored with the receiver's state or province. In some American states, the responsibility for such Services has been delegated to counties or towns. As with other UK Services, the definitive copy is handwritten in highly-permanent ink, even though the rough-draft and official copies may be type-written.
A person can obtain a copy of their own certificate, and in many places, a member of the general public can obtain a copy of anyone else's birth certificate upon paying
a small fee.
The birth certificate can be used to authenticate one's identity and nationality, and assist with obtaining government-issued identity documents such as a passport or driver's licence. In the UK, birth certificates are not always accepted as proof of the identity of the bearer - only that a birth took place with those details. The certificate is signed or stamped by the registrar to authenticate the document as a faithful copy of the entry in the main register.
Holding a birth certificate makes it easier to prove citizenship in nations where citizenship depends upon location of birth. For family historians, the detail of the parents (including mother's maiden name) included on a full certificate is very useful in linking between generations. In some countries with advanced population registration systems, the birth certificates are only issued for foreign use: all authorities have direct electronic access to central population database which includes all personal details of all present and former citizens and residents.
Long forms. or certified photocopies (or book copies), are exact photocopies of the original birth record that was prepared by the hospital or attending physician at the time of the child's birth. The long form usually includes parents' information (address of residence, race, birth place, date of birth, etc.), additional information on the child's birthplace, and information on the doctors that assisted in the birth of the child. The long form also usually includes the signature of the doctor involved and at least one of the parents.