Marriages and Civil partnerships in England and Wales

Civil partnership

Find out if you can marry or enter a civil partnership.

As long as you submit all the legal requirements, you can marry or enter a civil partnership. 

Giving notice entails signing a formal declaration in a civil partnership or getting married at a registered office.

To form a civil partnership or enter into marriages, you must comply with all legal requirements. You must also provide the required documentation.

 Find out if you can marry or enter a civil partnership.

 If you’re in England or Wales, you can get married or form a civil partnership if you’re; 

● 16 years or older

● not married or engaged in a civil partnership

● not related in any way

 In England and Wales, same-sex couples can convert their civil partnership into a marriage. You can register it here—same-sex couple civil partnership

 If you wish to be married or form a civil partnership, there are different rules to follow: 

● In the Scottish Highlands

● The province of Northern Ireland

● Abroad

 To enter marriages or enter a civil partnership in England or Wales, even if you’re 18 and under, you will need your parents’ or guardians’ consent.

If you or your partner are not from the United Kingdom

 You must apply for a visa to marry or form a civil partnership in the United Kingdom if you:

● You are not a citizen of both the United Kingdom or Ireland;

● Do not have indefinite permission to stay in the UK.

● If you are not settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme on or before June 30, 2021, EU Settlement Scheme

● Or you did not apply to the EU Settlement Scheme on or before June 30, 2021

 Your partner’s nationality determines the type of visa or permits you’ll require and whether you plan on staying in the UK after the wedding.

 You can apply for the following jobs: 

● A marriage visitor visa – if you won’t be staying in the UK for more than six months and won’t be staying in the UK permanently;

● A family visa – You are entitled to live permanently in the UK if your partner is a British citizen, has settled in the UK, or has refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK.

● A family permit – to bring a member of your family from the EU, EEA, or Switzerland to the United Kingdom.

You won’t enter the nation if you don’t have a marriage visitor visa or a family visa.

You can still notify the Home Office of your intention to marry or register a civil partnership, but Immigration authorities will inform them. 

It is possible that the Home Office:

● Inquire about you and your connection- if this occurs, you may be required to wait up to 70 days before marrying or creating a civil partnership; if this occurs, you will be unable to marry or create a civil partnership in the United Kingdom.

● If they decide not to approve your notice – if ever this happens, you are unable to register a marriage or form a civil partnership in the UK.

Make preparations for your ceremony.

 Before ‘providing notice,’ you must pick where your marriage or civil partnership ceremony will occur.

 To give notice, you’ll sign a legal declaration at your local register office declaring your intention to marry or form a civil partnership. It must contain details about your event’s final location. You have 12 months to hold your ceremony after you’ve ‘given notice.’

Decide on the type of ceremony.

If you’re going to get married, you can have a religious or civil ceremony. There can’t be a religious ceremony if you’re entering a civil relationship.

 At the ceremony, you’ll have at least two witnesses.

 A registrar must perform your ceremony, or a registrar must be present. You can either hire a registrar yourself or have the venue do it for you.

 A registrar’s fee is:

● At a registered office, it will cost you £46.

● £86 in a registered religious structure

 Other permitted locations may charge a different fee.

What might occur during the ceremony?

If you’re getting married, you’ll need to exchange vows. Talk to the person performing the ceremony about any other wording you wish.

A civil partnership does not require you to exchange vows, but you can do so if you like. 

Civil ceremonies and marriages may use readings, songs, and music, but religious content is not permitted (for example, hymns, ve from the Bible). After a civil ceremony, you can seek a religious blessing on your marriage. 

You and your partner sign the marriage schedule or marriage contract at the ceremony if you’re getting married. You can include up to four guardians (for example, mothers, fathers, or step-parents).  

Give notice

To declare your intention to marry or enter a civil partnership, you must sign a legal statement at your local registration office. It is referred to as ‘providing notice.’ 

At least 29 days before your ceremony, you must give notice.

If you give notice on May 1, for example, the earliest you can marry or enter a civil partnership is May 30. Within 12 months of ‘giving notice,’ you must hold your ceremony.

Check with the wedding venue to see whether the process of giving notice differs for Anglican marriages.

Where should you give notice?

To provide notice at your local register office, you will generally need to book an appointment. You must have spent the last seven days in that registration district.

If you and your partner live in different registration districts, you’ll have to give a notification individually. It doesn’t have to be done on the same day.

If one of you isn’t from the United Kingdom,

Unless you and your partner have one of the following, you must provide notice together:

It would help if you gave a notice together at a registered office in the area where at least one of you lives. You must file an application for British or Irish citizenship determined to settle, or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, before July 30, 2021, and you must provide your notification together at a registered office in the neighbourhood where at least one of you lives.

If you and your partner gave separate notice before July 1, 2021, they would need to give notice again to you.

You’ll need the following documents to give notice.

To your appointment, you must bring originals of the following documents:

● details about your ceremony’s ultimate location

● a valid passport or a birth certificate issued in the United Kingdom (if you were born before January 1 1983)

● proof of your residential address

● evidence of any name changes (for example, a copy of a deed poll.

Provide at least one of the following documents to confirm your address: 

● a valid UK or Irish driving license, a recent gas, water, or electricity bill, a recent bank or building society statement

● Last year’s council tax bill

● current tenancy agreement letter from your landlord mortgage statement from the last 12 months (dated within the last seven days) authenticating your residence, as well as your landlord’s name, address, and signature 

You’ll also need one of the following documents

 If you’ve previously been married or in a civil partnership:

● a definitive or absolute decree

● a copy of your previous partner’s death certificate 

If your divorce, annulment, or dissolution was granted outside of the UK, Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man, you must present proof of it. If the local register office needs to check your paperwork, you’ll have to pay £50 or £75 if the General Register Office wants to check them.

In addition, if you’re from the European Union, the European Economic Area, or have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. You’ll need to present proof of either:

You’ll need a shared code, which you may acquire through the ‘see and prove your immigration status’ service, to prove your settled or pre-settled status (the code will be valid for 30 days). You’ll have to bring your certificate of application if you applied to the EU Settlement Scheme on or before June 30, 2021, and you’re still waiting for a decision.