Registrars statutory data retention times

Minimum period of the preservation of official documents

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Appointment and ceremony bookings When the document may be destroyed
Information relating to all appointments/ceremonies 1 year from date of service (apart from financial records)
Nationality Checking Service and the Nationality Document Return Service authorisation 6 years
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Correspondence When the document may be destroyed
Relating to appointment and conduct of officers 2 years
Relating to registration of births, marriages, civil partnerships and deaths, correction of errors, birth re-registrations not made (Forms LA1 and GRO185 and copy documents) and irregular burials 3 years
Relating to false information given to registration officers, falsification and forgery of certificates of birth, marriage or death, marriage of foreigners and persons divorced abroad 3 years
Other correspondence from the General Register Office 3 years
Applications for copy certificates 1 year
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Counter foils of certificates and forms When the document may be destroyed
Standard certificates of birth, marriage, civil partnership, death and stillbirth 2 years
Requisitions to persons liable to register who have failed to do so 1 year
Forms of report of death to coroner by registrar 1 year
Certificates for disposal
  • before or after registration of death
  • of still-births
  • of no liability to register
5 years
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Document type When the document may be destroyed
Appointment forms of registration officers 1 year after retirement
Forms for appointment of authorised persons under the Marriage Act 1898 or the Marriage Act 1949 2 years after vacation of office
Registrar General’s authorities for registration after 12 months in accordance with sections 7 and 21 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953 2 years
Books recording the issue of books and forms of medical certificates (Form 17) 5 years after last entry
Notifications of disposals of bodies of deceased persons 5 years
Declarations made by applicants for certificates for disposal (no liability to register) 5 years
Marriage and civil partnership notices 1 year
Caveats against the grant of a superintendent registrar’s certificate or Registrar General’s licence for marriage or civil partnership 2 years
Superintendent Registrar’s certificates for marriage 2 years from the date of the marriage
Civil partnership schedule 3 months from the date of civil partnership then sent to the Registrar General
Notifications of the issue of the Registrar General’s licence for marriage/civil partnership and Registrar General’s licences for marriage/civil partnership 2 years from the date of the marriage/civil partnership
Requisitions for certificates of birth, marriage, civil partnership or death issued under certain Acts of Parliament for the purpose of those Acts 2 years
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Premises licensed for marriages or civil partnerships When the document may be destroyed
Approval of premises to be used for a civil marriage or civil partnership ceremonies 4 years following expiry or termination of licence
Religious building registered for legal marriage ceremonies 12 months from removal of the building from the register
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Registers When the document may be destroyed
Registers of births, deaths, marriage and civil partnership Never – retained indefinitely
Annual indexes of all registers Never – retained indefinitely