Give notice of marriage or civil partnership
Important service changes
You can book an appointment with us for giving notice of marriage or a civil partnership.
Both of you will each need to:
- give notice of your intention in person at least 28 full days (70 days if subject to immigration control) for most marriages or civil partnerships before the ceremony
- pay a fee of £35 at the time of giving notice
- take documents with you to the register office (see below for details)
- decide on the venue for your marriage or partnership ceremony; this venue is included on your notices and is not transferable. You should also book the date and time of the ceremony with the registrars or Minister of the religious building
After giving notice you must get married or register your civil partnership within one year.
Where to give notice
Unless you are getting married in a Church of England church, notice must be given to the Superintendent Registrar of the district(s) in which you live.
You must have lived in the district for a minimum of seven days before notice is given.
Our register office is at:
Documents you need to take to the register office
You will each need to take proof of your current name, address, age and nationality when you visit the register office. You may need to bring other documents with you if you have been previously married or in a civil partnership or if you have legally changed your name.
All documents must be originals and in English or have been translated in to English and certified as true translations by the translator (a third party), together with their signature, name and address.
Failure to produce all the necessary documents will mean that you will not be able to give your notice.
Examples of suitable documents
For your name, age and nationality you can bring a:
- valid passport or EEA ID card
- birth certificate if you are British but don’t have a current passport and were born before 1 January 1983
- full birth certificate (showing your parents details) if you are British and born after 31 December 1982
You will also need to bring your mother’s birth certificate and marriage certificate(s) if she has used more than one married name.
Your father’s birth certificate and marriage certificate(s) may be acceptable if your parents were married at the time of your birth, or subsequently married and your birth was re-registered. Contact us to check if you are unsure.
For proof of your address, one of the following:
- current council tax bill – dated within one year of your appointment
- UK driving licence (full or provisional) – providing the name and address are correct and current
- a utility bill (this does not include mobile phone bills) dated within three months of your appointment
- a bank/building society statement dated within one month of your appointment – online bank statements are now acceptable, but you must provide a printed copy
- a mortgage statement dated within one year of your appointment
Proof of marriage
If you have been married or in a civil partnership previously you must bring proof of how your marriage or civil partnership ended.
This might be:
- a decree absolute (not a decree nisi)
- a decree of dissolution if you were divorced
- a death certificate if your spouse has died.
You will also need to bring your existing marriage or civil partnership certificate if:
- your decree absolute or decree of dissolution is in a different name from the name you are using currently, that is if you have reverted to your maiden surname
- you did not register the death of a late spouse
If you have changed your name through any legal means, you should bring proof. This might be a deed poll or statutory change of name document.
For each divorce or dissolution granted outside of the British Isles fees are payable for consideration for clearance of the documents.
When the documents can be cleared locally by the Superintendent Registrar the fee is £50. If the documents have to be referred to the General Register Office a fee of £75 is payable.
General Register Office permission for the ceremony to proceed may not be completed within the waiting period. Consider this when booking the date for your ceremony.
The registration team can give you further advice when you make your appointment.
Arranging a marriage or civil partnership in exceptional circumstances
It may be possible to apply to be married or form a civil partnership quickly under exceptional circumstances.
Section 12 of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 allows the Secretary of State for the Home Department to reduce the 28 day waiting period before civil partnership to such a shorter period as s/he considers appropriate where there are compelling reasons to do so due to exceptional circumstances.
Circumstance such as terminal illness suffered by one of the parties, or a parent of one of the parties, or immediate posting on overseas active service might be considered as exceptional.
Neither of these provisions include circumstances where the parties simply do not have sufficient time to comply with the legal requirements to give a notice of marriage or civil partnership.
The statutory fee for consideration of such an application will be £60 per person, payable at the time of making the application and is non-refundable. The application is made to the Superintendent Registrar by completion of the appropriate form.
Subject to immigration control
If one or both of you is subject to immigration control you will have to comply with some additional conditions.
- both of you will have to give your notices together at a designated register office regardless of where you live – the nearest designated register office is Bristol Register Office at the Old Council House, Corn Street, Bristol BS1 1JQ
- the minimum waiting period from giving notice to getting married increases to 70 days if you or your partner are subject to immigration control – ensure you allow plenty of time to avoid disappointment
If you are a British citizen, a national of a country in the European Economic Area or you have a certificate of entitlement giving you right to abode in the UK in your passport, you will not be subject to immigration control and the additional conditions will not apply to you.
Getting married abroad
Some foreign countries require British citizens to provide a certificate of no impediment before they can marry in that country.
Before booking an appointment to give notice for a certificate of no impediment please check:
- that you need one for the country where you intend to marry
- any other documents that are required and if they need to be legalised before you leave the UK.
For more information visit www.gov.uk/marriage-abroad