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Getting Married in the UK

Last week was Valentine’s Day, and as we noted in the TransferGo Blog a large number of you marked the occasion with gifts, cards and romantic dinners. Others decided to celebrate the day by getting engaged.  

If you were one of those people, in addition to our best wishes, we wanted to give you an early gift: a guide to the basics of getting married in the UK.

General Requirements

The UK allows both marriages and civil partnerships. In order to be allowed to do either you must meet a few basic requirements.

Both parties must be:

  • 16 years of age or older, parental permission is required for those under 18
  • Be single, divorced or widowed and free to form a civil partnership or marry
  • Not closely related

Civil partnerships may only be formed by same sex couples. Same sex marriage is allowed in England, Scotland and Wales. Currently it is not legal in Northern Ireland.

The Brexit referendum has not changed any of the rules relating to marriage in regards to EU nationals.

If all of the conditions are met, you are required to give notice at your local registry office. The registry office will request documents that prove your name, age, nationality and address. The following documents are acceptable to confirm identity.

  • Valid passport
  • Birth certificate
  • National identity card from the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland
  • Certificate of registration
  • Certificate of naturalisation
  • Biometric residence card or permit
  • Travel document

You can confirm your address with any of the following:

  • Valid UK or EEA driving licence
  • Gas, water or electricity bill from the last 3 months
  • Bank or building society statement from the last month
  • Council tax bill from the last 12 months
  • Mortgage statement from the last 12 months
  • Current tenancy agreement
  • Letter from your landlord confirming you live there and including your landlord’s name, address and their signature, dated within the last 7 days

Additionally you will need to provide information as to where you intend to hold your ceremony. Your notice will be publicly displayed in the registry office for 28 days. You can have your ceremony (religious or civil) after the 28 days have passed.

Partners from outside the EEA

If you are your partner are from outside of the European Economic Area or Switzerland and subject to immigration control some special rules exists.

A visa is required to give notice and perform the marriage or civil partnership.  The type of visa varies based on where the person is currently living and their individual circumstances. The official UK government website Gov.UK provides easy to follow guidelines for those needing a visa.

For marriages and civil partnerships where one party requires a visa, the Home Office may investigate to ensure that the marriage or civil partnership is genuine which may make the waiting period longer.

The fee to give notice at the registry office is £35. The fee can be higher if one of the partners is from outside the EEA or Switzerland.

You will want to have a civil partnership or marriage certificate in order to prove your status in the future. If you obtain your certificate on the day of the ceremony the cost is £4; if you do so afterwards the fee is £10.


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