Getting Married in the UK

If you are planning to get married in the UK and you are subject to immigration control while in the UK, you will need to follow rules below.

If you are a British citizen, a national of a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) or you have a certificate of entitlement giving you right of abode in the UK in your passport, you are not subject to immigration control. These new rules do not apply to you.

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If you are subject to immigration control you will need to give notice of marriage to a registrar at a designated register office. Read 'Giving notice of marriage at a designated register office' for more details.

If your usual place of residence is not in England or Wales and you are setting up a temporary residency in any registration district in England or Wales in order to fulfill the legal residential requirements you need to be resident for at least seven full consecutive days and nights immediately prior to the day you attend to give your notice of marriage.  You will need to provide proof of your residency.  For further information on how the seven days are calculated please contact a member of the registration staff.

Now read 'Giving notice to marry at a designated register office' for more details.

If you are subject to immigration control, you and the person you plan to marry will need to give notice of marriage at a designated register office. All the registration offices in Scotland and Northern Ireland are designated registration offices and 76 register offices in England and Wales have been selected as designated register offices. A list of these 76 offices is available on the General Register Office website.  See 'where to get more information' for this website address.

In England and Wales, both of you must have at least seven full consecutive days and nights residence in a registration district before you can give your notices to marry. Those notices can be given at any designated register office, but both of you must attend together. You will need to bring evidence of your names, addresses, ages, nationalities and if either of you has been married before, your marital status.  See Documents to be produced at the time of giving notice

In England and Wales, once your notice to marry has been accepted, the wedding can take place at any register office or approved premises.  If you plan to marry in a church or religious building registered for marriage please contact Cornwall Registration Service on 0300 1234 181 as different rules may apply with regard to the area where you need to set up temporary residency immediately before giving notice of marriage.  

After you have given notice of marriage, you have to wait 28 full days before your wedding can take place.

All proposed marriages and civil partnerships involving a non-EEA national who does not provide specified evidence of settled or permanent resident status, a marriage or civil partnership visa, or exemption from immigration control will be referred to Home Office Immigration under the provisions of phase 2 of the Immigration Act 2014. This is a new process called the referral and investigation scheme. Those couples referred under the scheme may have the notice period extended from 28 days to 70 days. Further information on these changes is available on the changes to marriages and civil partnership page of the GOV.UK website. 

The notice of marriage is valid for one year from the date on which it was given in England and Wales. Your marriage must take place within this time, or you will have to give notice of marriage again.

Read 'where to get more information' to find out sources of further information about getting married in the UK.

If you plan to get married at an Anglican Church in England or Wales, after marriage banns or an ecclesiastical licence you must contact a member of the clergy at the church where you plan to get married to make the appropriate arrangements.

Couples wishing to marry in the Church of England / Church in Wales where at least one of the couple is a non-EEA national will have to give notice via civil preliminaries at a Register Office (if they provide specified evidence they are exempt from immigration control) or at a Designated Register Office. 

If you plan to marry in any other form of religious ceremony, you will have to follow the procedures as detailed above before the marriage ceremony can take place.

For more information about getting married in the UK please contact the Registration Information Service on 0300 1234 181 between the hours of 8:30am - 6:00pm Monday to Friday.

Or you can contact the appropriate General Register Office:

England and Wales

Write to:     

Marriages and Civil Partnerships Section
General Register Office
Smedley Hydro
Trafalgar Road
SOUTHPORT
PR8 2HH

Phone: 0300 123 1837 (Option 1)

Fax: 0151 471 4523

Email: marriages.gro@ips.gsi.gov.uk

Website: Marriage and civil partnerships - DirectGov

Scotland

Write to:     

Marriage Section
General Register Office for Scotland
New Register House
West Register Street
EDINBURGH
EH1 3YT

Phone:  0131 334 0380

Website: http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/

Northern Ireland

Website:     http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/