Legal requirements of marriage and civil partnership for foreign nationals

Please note, you are not booking your marriage or civil partnership ceremony. This appointment is to complete the legal paperwork only.

It is your responsibility to ensure that the legal formalities have been completed.


You are subject to immigration control, and possibly the Home Office referral and investigation scheme, where either of you:

  • is not a British or Irish national or
  • do not have settled or pre-settled status or a pending application (made on or before 30 June 2021) under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS) or
  • do not have diplomatic status, a certificate of right of abode or are visiting armed forces.

Both of you must have lived in a registration district of England and Wales for at least eight nights immediately prior to giving your notices.


Where to give notice

  • You and your partner must attend together and know where and when you are holding your ceremony.
  • If one of you lives in a Surrey borough, you can give notice in Surrey. Please contact us to make an appointment.
  • If you both live outside a Surrey borough, you will need to give your notice at the register office in the district where either one of you lives.
  • If you do not speak or understand English, you must arrange for a suitable interpreter to attend with you.

When to give notice

  • You must give your notices at least 28 clear days prior to your ceremony. However, your proposed marriage or civil partnership may be referred to the Home Office and they may decide to extend your notice period from 28 days to 70 days. You should therefore keep this in mind when making your arrangements.
  • Your notice is valid 12 months form the date of giving notice. If you change the date of your ceremony and it is more than one year from giving notice, you will need to give notice again.
  • If you change the venue for your ceremony, you will need to give notice again.

Fees

  • Your notice of marriage or civil partnership fee is £35 per person, or
  • if your notice of marriage or civil partnership is referred to the Home office it is £47 per person.

If your last marriage was dissolved or annulled, and your divorce document was issued outside the British Isles it will need to be validated by Surrey Registration Service or the General Register office. Please see: Documents you'll need to give notice (Gov.UK) for more information.

The fees are as follows:

  • £50 if the documents can be cleared by the Surrey Registration Service, or
  • £75 if the documents require referral to the General Register Office (GRO).

Documents required

We have outlined the documents you will both require below and these will be explained to you when you make your appointment. Please note that in all cases photocopies are not acceptable. If any of your documents are in an electronic version, you must print off a hard copy to bring to your appointment.

Proof of your identity, age and nationality

  • a valid passport
  • a valid biometric immigration document issued by the Home Office (not applicable for EEA nationals and Swiss citizens)
  • a valid travel document issued by the Secretary of State in UK.

British citizens only without a valid passport

If you do not hold a valid UK passport, you may provide your UK birth certificate with one of the following documents:

  • utility bill dated within three months of giving notice
  • bank/building society statement/passbook dated within one month of giving notice
  • council tax bill dated within 12 months of giving notice
  • mortgage statement dated within 12 months of giving notice
  • a current residential tenancy agreement
  • valid UK photo driving licence.

Where you were born in the UK on or after 1 January 1983, your full birth certificate must be produced, together with the birth certificate or UK passport of your mother, or father where your parents are or have been married, or formed a civil partnership with each other, to prove your nationality.

If you have a certificate of naturalisation or registration from the Home Office confirming you are a British national, you should produce this with one of the documents listed above.

If you are currently using a different name to that shown on your birth certificate, certificate of naturalisation or registration from the Home Office, you will need to demonstrate your name change by providing your marriage/civil partnership certificate(s) or change of name document.

Photograph

Each of you may be required to provide a photograph that must be a UK passport style and size which;

  1. clearly shows the face of the party, who must;
  2. a) have a neutral expression; and
    b) not be wearing any head covering (other than for religious or medical reasons);
  3. shows only the party and no other person or object;
  4. is unmarked, unaltered and without tears or creases, and
  5. was taken recently and shows a current likeness of the individual.

Proof of your residency

You will require one of the following documents as proof of your residency:

  • utility bill dated within three months of giving notice.
  • bank or building society statement/passbook dated within one month of giving notice.
  • council tax bill dated within 12 months of giving notice.
  • valid UK driving licence.

If you usually live at a different address to the one you give as your place of residency for the purpose of giving notice, you will also need to provide evidence of your usual address. Additionally, if your usual address is outside the UK, you must also provide a UK contact address.

If you have been divorced or widowed

  • Death certificate of your former spouse
  • Your British Isles decree absolute or final order papers bearing the original court stamp.
  • If your divorce took place outside of the British Isles, your divorce or final order papers. These vary from country to country and it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documents. If your divorce or final order papers are not in English, in addition to the original documents, you must provide a full translation including any stamps and signatures contained thereon. The translation must contain the name and address of the translator and be certified by them as a true and accurate translation.
  • Your previous marriage/civil partnership certificate(s) where your current name does not appear on the decree absolute, final order or death certificate.

Other documents

  • Any change of name documents for example deed poll or change of name deed.
  • Permission of your parents or guardians if you are under 18 years of age.

Further information

Information is also available on the Gov.uk website.


Contact us

If you have an enquiry, please contact us.