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Marriage or civil partnership overseas

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.

For a marriage or civil partnership overseas, you will need to find out what procedures are required by the local authorities in the country you have chosen in order to ensure you contract a legal marriage or civil partnership.

As part of your preparation, you may be asked to get some documentation from the United Kingdom (UK) authorities if you are a UK national.

The Getting Married Abroad tool on the Gov.uk website may help start your planning process by:

  • indicating which documents you may be asked to get
  • how to apply for them.

Requirements for giving your notice of marriage or civil partnership

  • you are a UK national, and
  • your marriage or civil partnership is taking place in a foreign country but not a Commonwealth country or the Irish Republic, and
  • you have lived in England or Wales for the proceeding eight nights immediately prior to giving your notice of marriage or civil partnership, and
  • the overseas authorities have asked you to obtain a certificate of no impediment, and
  • we are able to take notice for the country concerned.

Where to give your notice of marriage or civil partnership

How much does it cost?

The cost for giving a notice of marriage or civil partnership is £35 per person.

Documents required

We will discuss this with you when you call to arrange your appointment but you can find general information on what you may need to provide on our notice of marriage page. Additionally, you should ask the British Consul for the consular district in the country where the marriage or civil partnership is taking place, how the venue for your ceremony should be recorded on your notice.

After you have given notice

A further 28 days after you have given notice, if no impediment to the marriage or civil partnership has been shown, we will provide you with a certificate of no impediment (CNI). This certificate will need to be produced to the British Consul for the consular district in the country where the marriage or civil partnership is taking place. They will then use this to complete the legal formalities required for your marriage or civil partnership. Please note that the British Consul may charge for this service.

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Important information

It is important to note that any certificate issued by us, on its own, may not be sufficient to allow the marriage or civil partnership to take place. You must ensure that you complete any other legal requirements of the country you have chosen for your ceremony.

In addition, the local authorities in some countries will not accept the certificate of no impediment if it is dated more than three months from the date of issue. It is your responsibility to check for any date restrictions and ensure your documents will be acceptable.

Apostille or legalisation stamp

The country where your marriage or civil partnership is taking place may require your certificate of no impediment to have an 'apostille' or legalisation stamp.  This stamp is put on the document by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and it acts as confirmation that the document is genuine. You will need to establish whether this is required and allow time for this to be completed. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is based in Milton Keynes and will only accept documents by post or courier.

Translation

You should also enquire as to whether you are required to provide an official translation of your documents. The Surrey registration service cannot organise this for you and you may wish to contact the Association of Translation Companies who may be able to assist you.

Returning to the UK

On your return, you do not need to register your marriage or civil partnership with the registration service of England and Wales. There is no legal requirement or facility to deposit a copy of your marriage or civil partnership certificate with the General Register Office in the UK. You should make your own arrangements for the safekeeping of certificates.

As a general rule, as long as your marriage or civil partnership is valid and legal in the country in which it took place, it should be recognised in the UK. If you are in doubt as to the legality of your ceremony, please consult a solicitor.

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