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Giving notice of a marriage or civil partnership

Last updated 15 September 2014

In most cases it is a legal requirement that a notice of your intention to marry or have a civil partnership is placed before your ceremony.

There are different rules for religious ceremonies.

When do I give notice?

At least 16 days before your ceremony. Please note from 1 April 2015 this will change to 28 days. 

You must know the ceremony venue at the time of giving notice.

How do I give notice?

You must make an appointment with the Register Office

Please note: Giving notice of marriage is the first step of your intention to marry. This is not the date of your marriage/civil partnership ceremony.

On the day of your appointment

  • Allow time to park as it can be difficult to find a space in the area
  • Sign in at reception at least 10 minutes before your appointment
  • Bring the supporting documents with you

I don't speak English

If either of you do not speak English, you must bring an interpreter with you. This can be a family member or friend who has command of the English language.

Please note: You will not be able to interpret for each other and we can't arrange an interpreter for you.

What documents do I need?

You must both bring the following documents to prove your name, age and nationality:

  • Valid passport (preferred choice)
  • Birth certificate (if you were born after 1 January 1983 you must prove your parents' nationality with a passport or birth certificate)
  • National identity card
  • Immigration status document

You must also both bring at least 2 documents to prove your address. They must be dated within the last 3 months. This can include:

  • Utility bill (gas, water or electricity)
  • Council Tax bill
  • Bank statement

If you’ve been divorced or widowed, please bring:

If any of these documents are not in English, a certified translation of the documents will be required.

You must bring originals, photocopies are not accepted.

How much does it cost?

Giving notice of marriage or civil partnership​ Fee​
Giving notice at the Register Office £35​
Attending a housebound person to give notice £47​
Attending a detained person to give notice​ £68​

I am under 18

If you’re between 16 and 18 years old, your parents/guardians must give written consent by completing the consent to marriage form.

I am a foreign national

If either you or your partner is a European national, you must both:

  • Give notice in person - no one else can do it on your behalf
  • Go to your local register office (the borough in which you live) to give notice. If you both live in Waltham Forest, go to the Register Office on Grove Road

If one of you is from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) and are subject to immigration control, you must both go a designated office such as the Waltham Forest Register Office.

Read the GOV.UK guidance for more information about giving notice as a foreign national.

If you plan to hold your marriage or civil partnership in a different area, you should also contact the local register office for that area before you give notice, to ensure that officials will be available on the day.

Before you give notice, you should make sure that you are able to satisfy the laws concerning residency and immigration control.

Do I have to live in the UK before giving notice?

Yes, you both need to have lived in the area in which you wish to give notice for at least 7 full days (full day is 24 hours) immediately before giving notice. This applies to everyone, including those travelling from overseas for a marriage or civil partnership in England or Wales.

I want to get married abroad

Use the GOV.UK tool to find out what you need to do to get married abroad.

What happens next?

Following your appointment, your notice will be displayed on the public notice boards of the Register Office for 15 days. After 15 days:

  • The ‘authorities for marriage’ will be issued and must be collected from the Register Office. Whoever is officiating at the ceremony (religious minister or a registrar) must have them in advance. Your marriage cannot take place without them. Or;
  • The civil partnership ‘schedule’ will automatically be issued by the relevant registration district. You will not be required to collect this.

The 'authorities for marriage' or 'schedule' are only valid for use in the stated venue, so it is vital that you are certain of the venue at the time of giving notice. If you change the venue, you will be required to give fresh notices.

A notice of marriage or civil partnership is valid for 12 months.

Registrar General’s Licence

For information on a special licence for a marriage or civil partnership to take place elsewhere in the situation where one person is terminally or seriously ill, please contact the Register Office.

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