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Births, Deaths, Marriages & Civil Partnerships Coronavirus Update

Births, Deaths, Marriages & Civil Partnerships Coronavirus Update

Revised Operational Arrangements

Marriages and Civil Partnerships

The Northern Ireland Executive has recently made changes in relation to marriages and civil partnerships taking place.

  • The number permitted to attend marriages, civil partnerships and funerals, will be determined by a risk assessment at each individual venue.
  • Face coverings must be worn by all except the couple being married or forming a civil partnership. Current guidance states that children under the age of 13 do not have to wear a face covering.
  • Marriage and civil partnership ceremonies are not permitted to take place at a private dwelling, including the garden, unless one party is terminally ill.
  • Marriage and civil partnership ceremonies can take place in a person’s home if one of the parties is terminally ill with up to 10 people in attendance, which includes the couple, two witnesses and the officiant.

Arrangements for Marriages and Civil Partnerships  

Applications for new religious/belief marriages will be accepted by post only. Please note new bookings for civil marriages or civil partnerships are being taken for dates from October 2021.

For further details or if you have any questions, please contact:

  • Armagh office: 02837 529615
  • Banbridge Office: 02840 660600
  • Craigavon office: 02838 312440 or 02838 312441

Birth Registrations

Birth Registration forms can now be downloaded at https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/publications/birth-registration-form

This form – GRO4 – should be completed and returned by post or email to the Registration Office in the district in which you reside. You will then be contacted to arrange a suitable date and time to complete the registration as soon as reasonably practicable. Please note that due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the interruption to birth registration services there is a considerable volume of registrations to be processed. Only one parent should attend the appointment to register a birth, (the wearing of face coverings and adherence to all guidance is mandatory) unless a joint registration is required (parents unmarried) then both parents must attend to sign. Please do not take children to the registration office.

In line with current guidance, please do not attend the office if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of Covid-19, have tested positive for Covid-19 or if you are self-isolating.  If required, you can cancel your appointment and we will be able to rearrange at a later date.

Note: During this exceptional period, parents will not be penalised if the birth has not been registered within the required 42 days. If you do not wish to attend the office to register your baby’s birth until more easing of restrictions are implemented, please see the information below regarding accessing medical services and claiming child benefit.

Accessing Medical Services

Parents can continue to register their child at a GP practice – contact the GP with the following information:

  • Child’s Health & Care Number
  • Full name child is to be registered as
  • Home address child will be residing at

Child Benefit

GRO have agreed a process with the Department for Communities to enable parents to claim child benefit without providing a birth certificate.

When a baby is born, midwives have a legal duty to notify the birth to the registrar. This is done electronically through a ‘notification of birth’ form (CHS1). Each mother is also given a copy of this form.  This is a legal document and during the current situation, this fully completed form will be accepted as supporting evidence of the birth in lieu of the birth certificate.

Mother’s should submit the CHS1 form along with the child benefit application form.  You must retain a copy of the form, as it will be required when birth registrations recommence.

If you do not have a copy of the form, you should contact your midwife and they will be able to provide one.

Death Registration

Legislation has been implemented to allow death registrations to be carried out without family attending the registration office.

Death and Stillborn Registration
The Medical Practitioner who has issued the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death or the Certificate of Stillbirth will forward to the General Register Office.  GRO will then forward details to the Registrar in the District where your loved one lived.  The Registrar will make contact with you, the next of kin or the Funeral Director looking after the burial or cremation.   The Registrar will check details of your loved one so that accurate personal details are recorded.  If you need guidance please call:

  • Armagh office: 02837 529615
  • Banbridge office: 02840 660600
  • Craigavon Office: 02838 312440 or 02838 312441

Please leave a message if your call is not directly answered and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

We would like to offer our deepest sympathy to you and your family on the loss of your loved one. During this very exceptional and challenging time, staff are trying to manage Death and Stillbirth Registration. We appreciate your patience and assure you that we will look after the registration of your loved one, but it may take a little longer to look after families at this time.  We thank-you in advance for your patience.

Guidance for Funeral Directors

Important Notice
Legislation has come into force that will allow death registrations to be carried out without the attendance of an informant at the Registration office.

A Medical Certificate of Cause of Death or a Certificate of Still-birth must be sent electronically from the Medical Practitioner to the General Register Office  .  GRO will forward this to the Registration Office in the area where the deceased lived.  The Registrar will make contact with you and the family to register the death of their loved one.

For all other MCCDs already given to families please arrange to have these along with the completed GRO 73 Death Registration Form (which can be downloaded from www.nidirect.gov.uk) forwarded to the appropriate registration office

*Please note that all registration services will be kept under review and service alterations may be made at any time to comply with guidance issued by the NI Executive.