Marriage or civil partnership overseas

Coronavirus: Important information

Please read the following information before progressing.

Death and stillbirth registrations: All death and stillbirth registrations are now carried out by a telephone appointment. You do not need to attend the register office in person. For more information see our death registration guidance.

Marriage and Civil Partnerships: We are currently dealing with a high volume of ceremony amendments and we aim to respond within six working days. A request for a new ceremony booking can be made from Monday 20 July 2020. We currently have availability for new marriage or civil partnership bookings to take place from September 2020 onwards. Please note that it may take up to ten working days to respond to your new booking enquiry. Please see our marriage and civil partnerships guidance for further details.

Notice of Marriage or Civil Partnership: If you have a marriage or civil partnership booked to take place in the next three months and you are a Surrey resident, you can book your notice appointment at Guildford, Leatherhead or Weybridge Register Offices from Monday 6 July 2020.

Birth registrations: Appointments are now available to book at Guildford, Leatherhead and Weybridge Register Offices. We are looking forward to seeing you but we have a large backlog of births to register, so please bear with us as we try to offer as many appointments as is safely possible. Guildford is now fully booked until 5 October. Leatherhead and Weybridge offices are now fully booked until 18 September. If you are registering a multiple birth, please complete the birth enquiry form and we will assist you in making an appointment.

New parents can register their baby with a GP practice without a birth certificate.

Claims for Child Benefit and Universal Credit can be made before you register the birth. Visit the Child Benefit and Universal Credit pages for details on how to make a claim.

Certificates: We are currently running a limited service and are only able to process copy certificate applications that are essential, such as for legal proceedings, job recruitment etc. We can issue a maximum of five certificates per person. Please do not apply for certificates for the purposes of family history research at this time. If you require certificates for other purposes, please contact the General Register Office who should be able to supply certificates for you.

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding.

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.