Legal Requirements for Getting Married in England and Wales
Allow at least 22-42 days from arrival in England or Wales to wedding date (7 day residency stay is mandatory, followed by a 15 day Notice of Intent to Marry. Religious ceremonies may require wedding banns to be posted or read and/or premarital consulting along with additional requirements). We recommend giving yourself more time due to preparation, weekends, holidays or unexpected delays.
Necessary legal documents:
Please note that all documents must be submitted in English. Contact the Embassy in your home country or your Embassy in England or Wales for an authorized translator. All translated documents must be certified with an Apostille. If your documents are translated, be prepared to submit the original copies in your native language for verification as well as the translated version.
- Certified copy of birth certificates
- Valid Passports
- Affidavit declaring that each party is free to marry (sworn in your resident country and in France or by an attorney licensed to practice in both France and your resident country)
- Divorce decree or death certificates, if applicable
- Some places of worship may require additional documentation. It is recommended to contact the officiator prior to leaving on your trip, if applicable. (i.e.The Roman Catholic Church advises 6 weeks notice prior to marriage, some churches require reading wedding banns for three consecutive Sundays).
Legal requirements to get married:
- Ceremony (Civil/Religious)
Civil and religious ceremonies are legally recognized weddings preformed in England and Wales. The ceremony is preformed in English. If either party does not speak English, an interpreter should be hired.
Civil ceremonies are conducted by a local registrar official. The Registrar can supply the couple with a list of license, approved and registered venues. A registrar official can come to any of these venues for a fee.
Contact the governing authority at your place of worship prior to leaving for your trip. Religions including, but not limited to: the , Roman Catholic Church, Protestants, Quakers, and may require additional documentation or information.
Note the parameters of venue choice.
- Age and Relation
The bride and groom must be at least 18 years of age. Parental consent is necessary if either party is between the ages of 16 and 18 years old. Note that the legal age in your home country must be met to be recognized. They cannot be closely related by blood, marriage or adoption. The Citizen’s Active Bureau offers a section on Relatives Who May Not Marry
Two witnesses over 16 years of age, with a proficient understanding of English, must be present for the marriage register, the ceremony and provide their passports.
Note that both parties must stay for at least 7 days in England or Wales.
Once the residency requirement has been completed, proceed to the local Registrar’s Office, in any district, whether you plan to marry in that district or another. The couple will need to give Notice of Intent to Marry and state where you plan to marry. Bring all documents, including the completed Notice of Intent to Marry forms, in person, to the Registrar of Marriages in the district you plan to marry. There is a mandatory waiting period of 15 days preceding this notice, prior to the ceremony. A Marriage License or Marriage Schedule will be issued. Once issued, a religious ceremony must take place within 14 days, signed by the officiator. Civil ceremonies must take place within a year from giving Notice of Intent to Marry.
- The couple, officiator/registrar official, and witnesses will all sign a Marriage Certificate. Check all information carefully as it is easier to correct prior to registering the marriage Certificate.
- Many officiators of religious ceremonies are authorized to register marriages. Check with your officiator. If they are not, you will need to have a Registrar Official come to the ceremony in order for the ceremony to be legally recognized.
*A Certificate of No Impediment, is also known as a Single Status Affidavit, Single Status Statutory Declaration, Certificate of No Record, a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage, Certificate of Nulla Osta or a Certificate de coutume (plus an MP2A form).
Note: This information can change at any given moment. For up-to-date information, contact your embassy in the country in which you plan to marry.
We invite you to contact us with any new information. Be sure to note, “Update Marriage Requirements in England & Wales” in the subject line.
- Tel: +020 7222 5381