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Frequently Asked Questions

Apply for a certificate (birth, death, marriage or change of name)

If the event did not occur in Western Australia can I apply for the certificate at the Perth Registry Office?

No, you must contact the Registry Office in the state, territory or country in which the event occurred See BDM Interstate Locations for other Australian Registry Offices. See BDM Overseas Locations for some overseas contacts.

How do I apply for a certificate?

If the event occurred in Western Australia, you must provide the Registry with the following:

For full details Apply for Certificates.

Can I apply for another person's certificate?

If the certificate relates to a person other than yourself and you are not eligible under the Registry's Certificate Access Policies you must provide the written consent or authority from an eligible person. You must also provide evidence-of-identity for yourself and that person.

There is unrestricted access and no evidence-of-identity requirements for:

Births that occurred 100 years ago or more

Deaths that occurred 30 years ago or more

Marriages that occurred 75 years ago or more

For further details on applying for certificate see Apply for Certificates.

Do I need to provide identification when I apply for a certificate? 

Yes, unless the event has unrestricted access as stated above. Please see Evidence-of-Identity Requirements webpage.

At what age can I apply for a certificate?

A person must be 16 years of age or over to apply for a certificate and must provide evidence-of-identity.

A child under the age of 16 years applying for their own birth certificate must have the written consent from a parent named in the certificate and that parent's evidence-of-identity.

A parent named on a child's birth certificate can apply for the certificate. That parent's evidence-of-identity must be provided with the application.

Further information is available on the Evidence-of-Identity Requirements page.

For further details on applying for a birth certificate see Apply for Certificates.

What is the cost of a certificate and what methods of payment are accepted?

See Forms and Fees webpage for full details.

Can I apply for a certificate by phone, fax, email or online?

No, all applications must be made in person or by mail. See Apply for Certificates.

Register a birth

How long do I have to register my child’s birth?

The Birth Registration Form provided by the hospital or midwife must be completed and signed by both parents and sent to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages within 60 days of the birth of the child.

What must I do if the other parent will not sign the Birth Registration Form?

If only one parent has signed the form, he or she must attach a letter to the Registrar explaining why the other parent has not signed.

Is there a fee to register my child's birth?

No, registration is free but compulsory. There is a fee to obtain a birth certificate.

I have lost the Birth Registration Form.  How do I get a replacement?

You should contact the hospital or midwife for a replacement Birth Registration Form.

Register a death

What is the timeframe for registering a death?

It is compulsory for a person, usually a funeral director, to notify the details of a death to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages within 14 days from the date of death.

Register a marriage

What is the timeframe for registering a marriage?

It is compulsory for the authorised marriage celebrant to forward the marriage papers for registration to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages within 14 days from the date of marriage.

Getting Married

How do I get a marriage licence?

Marriage licences are no longer issued. To get married, a Notice of Intended Marriage form must be lodged with the person performing your marriage ceremony. For more details, see Getting Married.

We would like to marry in a church. Do we need to come to the Registry and lodge any forms?

No. You should lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage form with the minister at the church at least one calendar month before the ceremony.

How quickly can I get married?

Not less than one calendar month from the date a Notice of Intended Marriage form is lodged with the celebrant to the date of the ceremony, unless special permission is granted in extenuating circumstances.

Can I find out a person's married surname?

No, records in the Registry office are confidential.

Can I marry an overseas resident?

Yes, a person's residence is not a factor to marriage.

We intend to get married overseas, what do we do?

Contact the consul or embassy of the country in which you want to get married and ask their advice, as the requirements differ.

You should ensure that the ceremony will be recognised not only by the law of the overseas country but also under Australian law, i.e. the marriage should be legally similar in nature to a marriage conducted in Australia, in that you were both over the age of 18 years, free to marry (single, divorced or widowed) and you are not in a prohibited relationship (i.e. too closely related).  

Once married, it is advisable to obtain a marriage certificate from the registering authority of the overseas country before returning to Australia.

We were married overseas, do we have to register in Australia?

No, there is no provision to register an overseas marriage in any Australian Registry Office. If the marriage in the overseas country is recognised by the authorities of that country as a legal marriage, you obtained a marriage certificate from that country's registering authority, in general terms the marriage should be recognised in Australia (e.g. couple over 18 years of age, not married to someone else, not closely related to each other, etc.).

I need a certificate to say I have not been married before or am not currently married.  Does the Registry provide this?

Yes. For further details see Single Status Certificate.

Register a change of name

Can I register a change of name in Western Australia?

Yes in certain circumstances. See How to register an adult's change of name or How to register a child's change of name.

What can I do if a child's parent will not consent to a change of name?

If the child is under 18 years of age and one of the parents named on the child's birth registration will not give consent, you must obtain a court order through the Family Court which authorises the change of name.

When a court order is obtained you can make an application to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages for a Change of Name certificate.

Custody and guardianship orders do not allow a parent to change a child’s name without the consent of the other parent or an order from the Family Court.

See How to register a child's change of name.

Can my family change their names on one application?

No. A separate Application to Register a Change of Name must be completed for each family member and a change of name certificate will be provided for each person. Where a family apply to change their name together (i.e. legally married or de facto couples, whether of different or same sex) all applications for children of that family under 18 years of age are not charged a fee, i.e. each adult applicant pays a full fee and each child no fee is payable.

Can I revert to the use of my maiden surname?

Yes, a married woman is entitled to revert to her maiden surname at any time. However, to avoid difficulties with obtaining recognition of use of your maiden name, registration of the change should be considered.

How does a change of name differ to an adoption?

A change of name only authorises a person to use another name. It does not alter the rights and obligations of the parents. Adoption creates a new birth record showing the adopting parents as the legal parents.

If I registered my change of name outside of Western Australia can I apply for my change of name certificate at the Perth Registry Office?

No, you must contact the Registry Office in the state, territory or country in which your change of name was registered. See BDM Interstate Locations for other Australian Registry Offices. See BDM Overseas Locations for some overseas contacts.

General

Are records held at the Registry Office confidential?

Yes. Information in Registry records is private and confidential and will only be issued to eligible applicants in accordance with the Certificate Access Policies and evidence-of-identity requirements.

If you are not an eligible applicant you must provide the written authority of a person who is entitled to the certificate together with your own and the authorised person’s evidence-of-identity.

Where is the Perth Registry Office located, what is your postal address and what are your business hours?

See Locations and Links webpage.

Can I apply for a WA certificate at a Court?

Yes, refer to BDM Other Locations for details. Does not include applying for a Commemorative birth certificate, a Change of Name certificate, a Single Status Certificate or uncertified copies of images which are only available from the Perth Registry Office.

Where can I apply for an Australian passport?

An application for an Australian passport can be made through the Passport Office in your capital city or by appointment at any official post office. For more information, visit http://www.passports.gov.au/.

Any questions about passport application requirements should be directed to the Passport Office.

Where do I get a copy of a will?

The Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages does not register or issue copies of wills.

If probate has been granted you may obtain a copy of the will from:

Probate Office
Level 14, 111 St Georges Terrace
Perth WA 6000
Phone: (08) 9421 5152

How do I become a civil marriage celebrant?

See Becoming a Celebrant on the Commonwealth Attorney General's Department website or contact:

Marriage Celebrant Unit
Family Law Branch
Attorney General's Department
Robert Garran Offices
National Circuit
Barton ACT 2600

I want a divorce, how do I go about it?

Please direct your enquiries to a lawyer or the Family Court of Western Australia at:

Family Court
Department of the Attorney General

150 Terrace Road
PERTH  WA  6000
Phone: (08) 9224 8222
Fax: (08) 9224 8360
Counselling Service: (08) 9224 8248 or 1800 199 228 (Toll Free)


Last updated: 15-Aug-2017

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