Getting married

Changes to marriage registrations from 4 May 2021

From 4 May 2021, you'll no longer sign a marriage register or be given a marriage certificate during the ceremony, instead you'll sign a Marriage Schedule. This is a one-page document which contains the details of both people getting married which are needed to register a marriage.

After your ceremony has taken place the registration officer will keep the signed Marriage Schedule and return it to the register office to add the details onto the electronic register, as soon as possible. Your certificate will be posted out or you can arrange to collect it within 7 days.

Each person is still required by law to give a notice of marriage and the marriage ceremony will remain the same, it's only the way in which a marriage is registered that will change.

1. Required documents for marriage

To give notice of your intention to marry, or enter into a civil partnership, both of you must attend, in person, to the Superintendent Registrar of the Registration District in which you each live.

Immigration laws

Immigration laws changed on the 1 July 2021 to reflect the changes brought about by Brexit.

All Register Offices in England and Wales are now a Designated Register Office. When one or both of you are subject to immigration control, notice of marriage or civil partnership will need to be given together at a district where either one or both of you live.

If you're subject to immigration control you're known as a non-relevant national.

A relevant national is:

  • a British citizen
  • an Irish citizen
  • a person with EU settled status, pre-EU settled status or EU pending settled status (if you applied for EU settled status before 30 June 2021 and have a Certificate of Application to prove this)

Documents

When you give notice of your intention to marry you need to provide certain documents to the Registrar in order to prove your nationality, identity, residency and marital status.

Nationality

To prove your nationality and immigration status you'll need to provide:

British Nationals

  • valid British passport

or

  • birth certificate if born before 1 January 1983 in the UK

If you were born after the 1 January 1983 in the UK you'll need to provide your full birth certificate as well as your mother's birth certificate (providing they were born in the UK)

EU and foreign nationals

  • valid passport

In addition to your passport you'll need to provide evidence of your immigration status:

  • marriage or civil partnership visa
  • proof of settled, pre-settled or pending EUSS status

Identity

In order to prove your name, we need to see your current passport or your valid driving licence card. An expired passport is not acceptable for proof of identity.

If you do not have a current passport or valid driving licence card, another form of photo ID is required.

Residency

To prove your residency, we'll need to see:

  • a utility bill dated no more than 3 months before the date on which notice of marriage is given
  • a bank or building society statement dated no more than one month before the date on which notice of marriage is given
  • a council tax bill dated no more than one year before the date on which notice of marriage is given
  • a mortgage statement dated no more than one year before the date on which notice of marriage is given
  • a valid driving licence card

Marital status

If either of you have been married, or entered into a civil Partnership before, you must provide a court-stamped copy of the decree absolute or dissolution certificate.

If your divorce or dissolution was granted abroad, we'll need to see the original document issued by that country, together with a translation into English. There's an additional charge payable for a foreign divorce and it may need to be sent to the General Register Office for their approval.

If either of you are widowed, or a surviving civil partner, we'll need to see a certified copy of your former partner’s death certificate. Your marriage or civil partnership certificate may also be required in certain cases.