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Birth Registration / Marriage and Civil Partnership / Registering a Death / Useful links

Births, Deaths, Marriages and Civil Partnerships

The main registration office is the Highland Archive and Registration Centre, Bught Road, Inverness.

Other Local Registration Offices:

| Ardgour | Ardnamurchan | Assynt | Aviemore | Black Isle | Broadford | Clyne (Brora) |
| Dingwall and Carnoch | Dornoch | Durness | Fort Augustus | Fort William and Ballachulish | Gairloch | Glenelg | Golspie | Grantown-on-Spey and Nethybridge | Helmsdale | Inverness | Kingussie | Kinlochbervie | Kirkton and Tongue (Bettyhill) | Lairg | Lochalsh | Lochbroom and Coigach (Ullapool) | Lochcarron and Shieldaig | Nairn | Portree and Raasay | Rosskeen (Invergordon) | Small Isles | Tain | Thurso, Strathy and Mey | Wick |

Birth Registration

How and where do I Register a Birth?

If a baby is born in Scotland, you must register the birth within twenty-one days by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. You can go to any registration district in Scotland.

Who can Register a Birth in Scotland

  • A child's father or mother must register the birth.
  • If the father or mother cannot register the birth, they (or a relative) should contact the registrar for advice.
  • A father who is not married to the mother can only register the birth and be named in the register as the father if;
    • He jointly signs the register with the mother;
    • He and the mother sign declarations (these are available from the registrar) that he is the father; or
    • A court declares that he is the father and the mother registers the birth.
  • Information on who has parental responsibilities and rights for a child is available in the Scottish Executive publication Family Matters: family law and young people in Scotland.

What Documents do I take to the Registrar?

  • the birth card issued by the hospital giving the child's date and time of birth;
  • the parents’ marriage certificate (if they are married to each other). You can still register the birth if the above certificates are unavailable.

Documents Issued by the Registrar at the time of Birth Registration

  • Abbreviated Birth Certificate which shows the child's name, date and place of birth (free of charge),
  • Form EC58 which has the child's National Health Service Number should be submitted to the family doctor.
  • A full birth certificate can be obtained but must be paid for. This shows details of parentage.

Re-registration of a Birth

Re-registration can be made later to add parentage details or add the parents' marriage details if that marriage took place after the birth.
Re-registration can be carried out at any Registration Office in Scotland; in some circumstances the written authority of the Registrar General is needed.
All enquiries should be directed to a local Registration Office to ensure that the correct information can be given, based on the circumstances.

Marriage and Civil Partnership in the Highlands

Religious Marriage Ceremony

A Religious Marriage Ceremony (which includes other belief systems) may take place anywhere and may be solemnised only by a minister, clergyman, priest, pastor or any other person entitled to do so under the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1977.
In addition to consulting with the celebrant, couples must also contact the registrar.

Civil Marriage and Civil Partnership Ceremony
A Civil Marriage is a non-religious ceremony conducted by a Registrar. Music, personal vows, readings etc. may be included and the Registrar will be very happy to discuss this with you. Civil Partnership is the legal way to formalise same-sex relationships, and to get the same rights as married couples. It is available from 5th December 2024 .

The rights you get include:

  • recognition for inheritance and succession to property
  • employment and pension benefits
  • social security and tax provisions
  • exemption from testifying in court against your partner
  • recognitions for immigration and nationality purposes
  • protection from domestic violence
  • recognition as the nearest relative
  • a duty to provide maintenance for your partner and any children

Cohabiting same-sex partners, who do not register a civil partnership, have more limited legal protections and obligation.

For more information about various aspects of Civil Partnership, see Civil Partnership in Scotland.

Ceremonies may be conducted in:

  • Registration Offices in a wide variety of locations throughout the Highlands. Several offices have ceremony suites set aside for this purpose ( Inverness, Dingwall , Fort William , Wick, Portree)
  • Other Venues approved for this purpose by means of The Marriage (Scotland) Act 2024.

For initial information contact

Isobel MacKellaig ( Fort William Registration Office)
Meg Gillies ( Portree Registration Office)

You can also receive more information on the Highland Council website.

Preliminaries to Marriage in Scotland
The bride and groom are each required to complete a marriage notice (Form M10) and submit these notices to the registrar. The forms may be collected, or sent to you from any Registration Office in Scotland. Alternatively the Marriage Notice forms can be viewed and printed off together with the accompanying notes at the General Register Office for Scotland website .

The minimum period for lodging marriage notice forms is 15 days before the date of your marriage. The maximum period is three months. However, it is recommended that the marriage notice forms be returned to the registration office of the district in which you are to be married, about four to six weeks before the date. With the marriage notice forms, you should enclose:

  • The appropriate fees (see 'Current Documents' )
  • Your birth certificates
  • If you have been married or in a registered civil partnership before and the marriage or civil partnership has been dissolved or annulled, a decree of divorce or dissolution or annulment or a certified copy decree. A decree of divorce or dissolution granted outwith Scotland must be absolute or final - a decree nisi is not acceptable.
  • If your spouse or civil partner is deceased, the death certificate of your former spouse or civil partner.
  • If you are domiciled in another country, outside the United Kingdom, a certificate of no impediment issued by the competent authority, to the effect that you are free to marry
  • If any of these documents is in a language other than English, a certified translation in English must also be provided
  • Additional information including details of the witnesses

Do not delay giving notice simply because you are waiting for any of the documents mentioned above to come to hand. The documents may be supplied later but it is critical that they are made available to the registrar before the marriage.

All certificates must be certified (not photocopies) and all documents, apart from Certificates of No Impediment, will be returned to you. In most cases these forms, documents and fees will be handed personally to the registrar but arrangements can be made for postal delivery.

You can find more information in the leaflet Marriage in Scotland (RM1) issued with the marriage notice forms (available from any Registrar’s Offices in Scotland) or on the General Register Office (Scotland) website. If you require further information or clarification of your arrangements, please do not hesitate to contact the relevant Registrar.

Registering a Death

The death can be registered by:

  • Any relative of the deceased, or
  • Any person present when the person died, or
  • The deceased's executor or other legal representative, or
  • The occupier of the property where the person died, or if there is no such person,
  • Anyone else who knows the information to be registered.

What to do when someone dies (checklists)

Before you start, it would be useful to have the following information to hand about the person who has died.

  • National Insurance number
  • NHS number
  • date and place of birth
  • date of marriage or civil partnership (if appropriate)
  • tax reference number

Documents and information needed when someone dies

Find out about wills and probate

What to do in the first five days

There are a few steps that need to be taken shortly after the death. In many cases the hospital or GP involved will help you with these early steps:

  • notify the family GP
  • register the death at a register office
  • find the will - the deceased person’s solicitor may have a copy if you can't find one
  • begin funeral arrangements - you will need to check the will for any special requests
  • if relevant, complete form BD8 given to you when you register the death and send to the local Jobcentre Plus or Social Security
  • if the person who has died was receiving any benefits or tax credits, advise the offices that were making the payments - if you can't find relevant correspondence, use the links below to the tax credit helpline and Jobcentre plus

Registering a death

Arranging a funeral

If there is a will

Contact the executor if this isn’t you (usually nominated in the will to sort out the deceased's affairs) to enable them to start the process of obtaining probate

If there is no will

Decide who will apply to sort out the deceased's affairs , contact the Probate Registry to apply for 'letters of administration'.

What to do if there is no will

What is probate?

Applying for probate

Who else to contact

As well as informing people who are close to the person, in many cases you'll need to close down accounts, or cancel or change insurance details, subscriptions, agreements, payments or direct debits.

Here’s a list to help you keep track; just cross through the ones that don’t apply:

  • relatives and friends
  • employer
  • school
  • solicitor/accountant

Government organisations

  • the relevant tax office
  • National Insurance contributions office if they were self-employed (to cancel payments)
  • Child Benefit office (at latest within eight weeks)
  • Tax Credit office
  • local authority if they paid council tax, had a parking permit, were issued with a blue badge for disabled parking, or received social services help, attended day care or similar
  • UK Identity and Passport Service, to return and cancel a passport
  • DVLA, to return any driving licence, cancel car tax or return
  • car registration documents/change ownership

What to do about tax and benefits after a death

Returning a deceased person's passport

Financial organisations

  • general insurance companies - contents, car, travel, medical etc
  • any other company with which the deceased may have had rental, hire purchase or loan agreements
  • if the deceased was the first named on an insurance policy, make contact as early as possible to check that you are still insured
  • pension providers/life insurance companies
  • banks and building societies
  • mortgage provider
  • hire purchase or loan companies
  • credit card providers/store cards

Utilities and household contacts

  • landlord or local authority if they rented a property
  • any private organisation/agency providing home help
  • utility companies if accounts were in the deceased's name
  • Royal Mail, if mail needs re-directing
  • TV/internet companies with which the deceased had subscriptions

Royal Mail redirection service

Other useful contacts

  • Bereavement Register and Deceased Preference Service to remove the deceased's name from mailing lists and databases
  • clubs, trade unions, associations with seasonal membership for cancellation and refunds
  • church/regular place of worship
  • social groups to which the deceased belonged
  • dentist
  • creditors - anyone to whom the deceased owed money
  • debtors - anyone who owed the deceased money

Register with the Bereavement Register

Deceased Preference Service

Benefits and financial help

You may be able to claim certain benefits and one-off payments if you lived with or were dependent on the deceased. Time limits apply, so contact your nearest Jobcentre Plus office as soon as possible to find out.

  • contact Jobcentre Plus
  • make a claim for Bereavement Allowance
  • make a claim for Widowed Parent’s Allowance
  • make a claim for a Bereavement Payment
  • make a claim for a Funeral Payment
  • check your current benefits and tax credits

Find your local Jobcentre Plus office

Bereavement Allowance

Widowed Parent's Allowance

Bereavement Payment

Funeral Payments

Making a new will

Surviving relatives and friends of the deceased may need to make a new will. It's important to ask a solicitor about this.

Making a will

Bereavement – counselling and support

Everyone deals with bereavement in their own way. If you or someone you know needs counselling or support, ask your family doctor or contact an organisation such as Cruse Bereavement Care.

Local Regional Information Cruse Bereavement Care

Fort William

E-mail contact:



E-mail contact:



E-mail contact:


Print out and keep the checklist handy (PDF)

Other relevant information about what to do if someone dies can be found below

  • Paying for a funeral
  • Registering a death
  • Documents and information needed when someone dies
  • Arranging a funeral
  • Advice, support and comfort for the bereaved
  • Organ and body donation
  • General Register Office guidance
  • Highland Council – When and where should a death be registered

Useful URLs

  • Highland Council website: http://www.highland.gov.uk/livinghere/birthsdeathsandmarriages/
  • General Register Office for Scotland: http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/
  • Civil Partnership in Scotland: http://www.civilpartners.org/Equality/Web.nsf/home?openform
  • Direct.gov.uk: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Governmentcitizensandrights/Registeringlifeevents/index.htm
  • Citizen’s Advice Bureau: http://www.yell.com/s/citizens+advice+bureaux-highland+council.html
  • Register with the Bereavement Register: http://www.the-bereavement-register.org.uk/
  • Deceased Preference Service http://www.deceasedpreferenceservice.co.uk/
  • Royal Mail redirection service https://www.royalmail.com/delivery/inbound-mail/redirections
© 2024 Highland Wellbeing Alliance.
Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme.