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Marriage and civil partnership of housebound or detained persons

Coronavirus: Important information

Please read the following information before progressing:

  • Death registrations – All death registrations are now over the telephone. You will not be required to attend the register office in person. Please see our death registration guidance page for more information.
  • Marriage and Civil Partnerships - Unfortunately we are not able to carry out any marriages or civil partnerships until at least the 1 June 2020. Please see our marriage and civil partnerships guidance page for more information.
  • Birth registrations - Unfortunately we will not be able to carry out any birth registration appointments for the next 21 days. This will come into effect from Tuesday 24 March 2020 onwards. You can make a claim for child benefit or universal credit prior to the birth being registered. The 42 day requirement to register a birth has been relaxed and no action will be taken if you have not registered within that time frame.
  • Certificates - We are currently only able to process certificate applications where the certificate is required for urgent legal or administrative purposes. We can issue a maximum of 3 certificates per person only. We are not able to deal with applications for certificates for the purposes of family history research at this time. If you require additional certificates, you can order certificates from the General Register Office.

Thank you for your understanding at this difficult time.

There are provisions under Marriage and Civil Partnership Act whereby it is possible to hold a marriage or civil partnership in a place where a person is housebound or detained if they are unable to be moved to somewhere that is licensed for ceremonies.

  • A housebound person will be considered to live at the place where he or she is housebound because of illness or disability - this could be their home, hospital, hospice etc.
  • A detained person will be considered to live at the place of detention - this could be a prison or secure hospital.

Legal requirements

Each party must give notice of marriage or civil partnership.

If either of you are not a British, citizens of European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss nationals 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. You should read the legal requirements of marriage and civil partnership for foreign nationals.

In addition to the usual notice documents, each party must provide completed signed statement forms when giving notice. The forms are obtained from the register office and must be completed as follows:

Housebound - The medical practitioner in attendance of the housebound party is required to complete forms that state the need for a housebound marriage or civil partnership. Both notices must be given within14 days of the forms being signed by the doctor. If notice is not given within14 days of the forms being signed, more forms will have to be completed and the process will have to start again.

Detained - The responsible authority for the place of detention is required to complete forms stating that there is no objection for that place being used for a marriage or civil partnership. Both notices must be given within 21 days of the forms being signed by the responsible authority. If notice is not given within 21 days of the forms being signed, more forms will have to be completed and the process will have to start again.

Both notices must be given within the time specified after the forms have been signed.

In the case of the housebound or detained party, a superintendent registrar from the register office will attend their address to take their notice - please note there is an attendance fee payable in addition to the cost of the notice.

After notice has been given, you must wait a further 28 clear days before the marriage or civil partnership can take place. However, if you are subject to immigration control, 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.

The marriage or civil partnership must also be held no later than three months of the notices being given. It is recommended that you book the registrars as soon as you start the process to ensure that you comply with the date requirements.


Civil ceremony

On the day of your ceremony, the superintendent registrar will attend the place of the ceremony (address of the housebound or detained party) with a registrar to conduct and register the marriage or civil partnership.

You must provide at least two witnesses who are able to speak and understand English. These may be relatives or friends who will be required to sign the marriage register or civil partnership schedule.

Religious marriage ceremony

If you would like to have a religious marriage ceremony rather than a civil ceremony, then in all cases, the notice of marriage must be completed and the same statement is required from the medical practitioner (housebound) or responsible authority (detained).

For marriage ceremonies according to the rites of the Church of England (Anglican church), the marriage must be conducted and registered in the Church of England registers in the same parish of the housebound or detained party

For marriage ceremonies according to any other rites (for example Methodist, Baptist etc), a registrar will register the marriage but it will be conducted by the local minister or qualified person.


Fees for a housebound or detained ceremony

In addition to usual registration costs, you are also required to pay statutory fees for the registrars attending the place of the housebound or detained party. The fees will depend on your particular situation so please contact us.


Contact us

Please contact us, if you have any enquiries about marriage and civil partnership of housebound or detained persons

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