Frequently asked questions

Here's a list of some common questions our customers ask. We hope this helps with your enquiry.

On this page:

    My question is general

    What are your opening hours?

    See information at Registry Office locations.

    My birth certificate was lost or stolen. What should I do?

    If you think you are a victim of identity theft, you should report it to your local police. See Safeguard your identity

    I cannot provide three forms of identification.  What else can I supply?

    Attach a covering letter stating your reasons. Include a completed application form and any identification that you do have.

    Other documents that may be accepted include: 

    • private health care cards
    • bills with your current residential address
    • superannuation documents
    • home/car insurance papers
    • ATO Notice of Assessment
    • Centrelink payment advice
    • School reports/university or TAFE transcript
    • infringement notices
    • electoral enrolment confirmation
    • deed poll/instrument evidencing a change of name
    • work termination notice/work reports/work references
    • release certificate from a correctional facility
    • Australian divorce papers
    • Defence discharge papers
    • documents issued by a foreign government
    • electoral enrolment card/letter
    • letters from a charitable organisation, benevolent society, and/or support services organisation e.g. Salvation Army, Anglicare, Link-Up.

    My certificate has an error. How can I have it corrected?

    You will need to return the original certificate, provide three forms of identification and complete the application. See Correct an entry.

    I have lost contact with a family member or friend. How can I find out where they live now?

    We cannot assist you in locating missing people, nor can we confirm a birth, death or marriage by email or telephone. This information can only be released in the form of a certificate for which there must be a matching formal application lodged.

    To protect privacy, information is only provided to the subject or person/s authorised applying for a certificate.  In the case of deaths, this is only those listed as next of kin or the informant.

    You might try social media, or searching through obituaries to find information. Here are some agencies which may be helpful.

    To use my NSW certificate overseas, will I require an apostille stamp or authentication

    When a certificate issued by the Registry is to be used overseas to establish identity or other personal particulars (such as marital status), there is often a requirement to have it legalised through either an authentication or apostille. 

    You must first check with the foreign government to confirm their requirements. Australian authentications and apostilles are issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade through the Australian Passport Office in Australian capital cities, or Australian missions overseas.

    For more information visit Notarial services and legalising documents overseas

    After applying I found my lost certificate. Can I get a refund?

    No, the Registry does not grant refunds for change of mind or if the certificate is no longer required.

    Are there any problems if I plastic laminate my standard birth certificate

    Standard certificates should not be laminated as this deactivates the security features of the certificate.

    I now live interstate. Do I have to apply to the NSW Registry to obtain my birth certificate?

    Yes, if you were born in NSW you need to apply with us by completing a birth certificate application. See Birth certificate.

    My fillable PDF application form is not working, what can I do

    Fillable PDF have issues in ​some internet browsers. You can save the fillable PDF form to your computer or device, start Adobe Reader and ​open it there. You may need to download Adobe Reader software

    If you're after a birth, death, marriage or replace a change of name certificate, you have the option to apply online. You can also save the PDF, print the application and complete manually.

    My question is about processing times

    When does the turnaround time start if I lodged an application online?

    Turnaround time commences from the next business day, providing the application meets all our requirements. See Processing times

    How many days for my certificate to arrive with priority processing?

    Turnaround times commence when we receive your application providing it meets all Registry requirements. Please allow additional time for postal delivery. ​​Check Processing times.

    Can I upgrade my certificate application to priority processing as I need it ASAP?

    Due to the high volumes we receive, we’re unable to upgrade individual applications. Please reapply, select priority processing and request a refund on your original application.

    My question is about birth

    My newborn arrived over 60 days ago. What do I need to know about registering the birth?

    See information about Registering after 60 days

    I need my parents' birth certificates to apply for a passport. Can I apply for them?

    Yes, if you are born after 20 August 1986 you can apply for your parents’ birth certificates to obtain a passport. When completing your application you must state your reason as for "passport" or "patriality".

    My question is about death

    Death certificate states "Cause still being determined by coroner". What shall I do?

    Once a coroner completes the inquest you will receive a letter. The coroner will also notify the Registry. The letter you receive from the Coroner will give instructions on obtaining a new certificate.  

    Return the death certificate to the Registry with a letter advising you want the updated version. We then issue a new death certificate with the coroner's findings.

    My question is about marriage

    How do I get married at the Registry?

    See information at Registry weddings.

    I need to show proof that I am not married. Is the Registry able to do this?

    A single status certificate can show that you have not been married in NSW within a specified period of time. See Single status certificate.

    I was married overseas, is my marriage valid in Australia?

    Yes. Marriages entered into overseas are generally recognised as valid in Australia: if the marriage was recognised as valid under the law of the country in which it was entered into, at the time when it was entered into, and providing the marriage would have been recognised as valid under Australian law if the marriage had taken place in Australia.

    How can I register my overseas marriage in NSW?

    You only have one lawful marriage, whether that is in Australia or overseas. You should obtain a marriage certificate or supporting documentation before you leave that country. We only record events that occur in NSW, and there are no options to register an overseas marriage in Australia.

    How do I change my name after marriage if I was married in NSW?

    If you were married in Australia a formal change of name is not required if you wish to take your spouse's name. Usually personal documentation, such as your driver's licence and passport can be changed to your married surname when you provide a standard marriage certificate.

    How do I change my name if I was married overseas?

    Please contact the organisations you wish to change your name with for their requirements. See Change of name.

    How do I get a copy of my divorce certificate?

    To obtain the divorce papers, contact the Family Court of Australia

    My question is about change of name

    Who can certify my documents for a Change of name (or Relationship) application?

    A Justice of the Peace, solicitor, lawyer, notary public or a person authorised to administer an oath under section 26 of the Oaths Act 1900. Find a Justice of the Peace

    Who can certify my documents, as I live overseas and there are no JPs available

    A notary public, or a consular officer at any Australian Consulate or Embassy. Please check with your local consulate or embassy.

    When I return my original Birth certificate is it accepted as one of the required forms of ID?

    If you applied for a change of name and were born in NSW, you are required to provide a form of identification from each of the four lists. This includes returning any NSW certificates for birth or previous change of name. You need to provide three forms of identification and your original NSW birth certificate.

    Why doesn't my change of name via Deed Poll appear on my birth certificate

    Until 1 April 1996, change of name via deed poll was lodged with the NSW Land Titles Office. The NSW Registry of Birth Deaths & Marriages is responsible for registering all changes of name in NSW. 

    If you changed your name by deed poll and attended a Registry or Court House after using the new name for 12 months, you could have had your name altered on your birth certificate. Otherwise, your change of name by deed poll does not appear on your birth certificate.

    Why do I need to pay for change of name and a birth certificate?

    If you applied for a change of name and you were born in NSW, your payment includes registration plus a fee for a standard certificate. Once you change your name, your original birth certificate is no longer valid and it is suggested you purchase a new birth certificate.

    How do I show proof of three years continuous residence in NSW?

    If you applied for a change of name and were born overseas, you must provide one document per year; with the most current less than three months old. PO boxes and bank statements are not accepted.

    Example: if you lodged your application in 2019, you'd have four documents dated 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

    Examples of documents: 

    • rates notices
    • utility bills
    • home insurance papers
    • ATO Notice of Assessment
    • Centrelink payment advice
    • school reports/university or TAFE transcript
    • car insurance papers
    • superannuation
    • infringement notices
    • private health care statements
    • electoral enrolment confirmation.

    My question is about Family History

    Is a family history certificate a legal document?

    A family history certificate is an accurate record of the Register, issued under seal. However, it isn't printed on security paper and organisations may not accept them for legal purposes. It is best to check the policies and requirements of each authority you are dealing with to establish what documents you require.

    The family history certificate I have is for a baptism. Why wasn't I sent a birth certificate?

    From 1788 to 1855 there are only early church records of baptisms, burials and marriages. There were few guidelines, and these records have limited information. For more details see Registry records.