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Legal requirements of marriage and civil partnership for foreign nationals

Please read the following, as it is your responsibility to ensure that the legal formalities have been completed.

Where either of you are not a British, European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss National and you do not have diplomatic status, a certificate of right of abode or are visiting armed forces, you are subject to immigration control and possibly the Home Office referral and investigation scheme.

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 must give notice at a designated register office in England or Wales.
  • The designated register office in Surrey is Weybridge. Please contact us to make an appointment.
  • You must attend together and know where and when you are holding your ceremony.
  • Where there are any language difficulties 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.

Cost

The cost of giving a notice of marriage or civil partnership is £35 per person. However, where your proposed marriage or civil partnership is referred to the Home Office the fee is £47 per person. We will advise you whether this is the case when you book your appointment.

From 1 November 2017 there will be a charge for consideration of divorce/civil partnership dissolution documentation issued outside the British Isles (United Kingdom, Isle of Man and Channel Islands):

  • £50 if the documents can be cleared by the superintendent registrar at the local register office, or
  • £75 if the documents require referral to the General Register Office (GRO).

Documents required

We have outlined the documents you will require below and these will be explained to you when you make your appointment. Please note that in all cases photocopies are not acceptable.

Proof of your identity, age and nationality

  • a valid United Kingdom (UK) passport
  • a valid EEA or Swiss passport
  • a valid EEA or Swiss identity card
  • a valid non-EEA passport
  • a valid Home Office travel document.

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 to 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.

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