Statutory data retention timescales

Minimum period of the preservation of official documents

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
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
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
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
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
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