Give notice of your marriage or civil partnership
You may have a marriage or civil partnership in any register office or an approved venue of your choice in England or Wales. It's important to establish where you'd like to have your ceremony first before starting the process of giving notice of your intention to marry or form a civil partnership.
You must contact the Register Office at least three months, but no more than 12 months before you intend to marry.
Southwark has many licensed venues for civil ceremonies.
Your notice of marriage or civil partnership will be valid for twelve months from the date you give notice.
The notice is only valid for the ceremony location that you state at the time of giving notice. If you decide to change the venue, a new notice must be given and the notice waiting period of 28 to 70 days will need to be completed again.
Every couple is subject to the standard 28 day waiting period. Couples who are ‘in scope’ may have their waiting period extended to 70 days by the Home Office.
The Immigration Act 2014 defines ‘in scope’ as those who are non EEA nationals without a valid visa for the purpose of marriage or civil partnership. This applies to both parties, even if one is an EEA national.
It's very important to allow plenty of time to complete this legal process of giving notice before the ceremony is due to take place. Further information can be obtained from the GOV.UK website.
Changes to notice of marriage or civil partnership from 1 July 2021
Immigration laws will change from 1 July 2021 to reflect changes brought about following the EU exit. These changes will impact the process for giving notice of marriage or civil partnership in England and Wales.
The definition of the term “relevant national” will become:
- a British citizen
- an Irish citizen
- a person who has been granted EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) status (either settled or pre-settled or has a pending application for that status (submitted before 30 June 2021)
If you fall into any one of the three categories above, you will not be subject to immigration control and your notice waiting period will remain at 28 days from the date of giving notice. Your notice of marriage or civil partnership must be given in the respective boroughs in which you live and can be done together or separately if you both live in the same borough.
In order to check that someone has the appropriate EUSS status and meets the “relevant national” definition above, an online EUSS status check will need to be carried out by the registrar at the time of giving notice.
Please note, you must provide the registrar with a unique 6 digit code at your appointment. If you attend your appointment without a unique code your appointment cannot proceed and you will be required to rebook. To obtain the unique code.
If however, you do not fall into one of the three categories above, you are considered to be subject to immigration control.
If at least one party is subject to immigration control you must give notice of marriage or civil partnership together in one of the respective boroughs in which you live. The Home Office may extend the notice waiting period from 28 days to 70 days in order to complete any investigations.
There are no changes to the superintendent’s registrar’s duty to report any reasonable suspicions that a marriage or civil partnership will be, or is, a sham to the Home Office. Such a report can be made whether the couple are subject to immigration control or not.
Documents required when giving notice
You'll need to provide the below evidence at the time of your appointment. All documents provided must be originals. Scanned or photocopied documents are not acceptable.
For documents issued in a foreign language, we'll need to see the original and a full English translation.
In order to give notice of marriage, both parties will be required to produce one piece of evidence each.
Your name, date of birth and nationality:
- valid UK passport
- birth certificate (British Citizens only - if born before 1 January 1983, they must provide their original UK certificate, plus another piece of specified evidence to establish current name (in case of name change since birth)
- if born on or after 1 January 1983, they must provide a naturalisation/registration certificate or evidence (birth certificate or passport) of British nationality of your parent
- valid EEA passport
- valid non-EEA passport
- valid Home Office travel documents
- valid Home Office residence permit
Important notice if your passport is currently retained by the Home Office. If you've sent off your passport for a visa application, you can request to have it returned by completing this form.
Alternatively, it's your responsibility to contact your caseworker to request for a certified copy of the passport to be emailed to email@example.com. You must confirm that this is a copy issued by them.
Evidence of your place of residence includes:
- utility bills (not older than 3 months); includes gas, electricity, water, telephone, but not mobile
- bank/building society statement (not older than 1 month from the date of your appointment)
- most recent Council Tax bill (current year only)
- valid UK driving licence
- tenancy agreement
If one or both parties wishing to marry or form a civil partnership in England or Wales and one or both of you are not residents in this country, you must first establish a residency of seven clear days within a district in England or Wales. The day of your arrival will not be counted as part of your residency. The first day of your residency begins at 00:00 hours on the day after your arrival. An example of this is:
- if you arrive at 4pm Monday 15 February, your first day of residence would commence at 00:00 hours on Tuesday 16 February and you have to reside within one registration district for the next seven days; on the eighth day you'll be free to give notice in the Register Office for the borough in which you've established that residency
As you or your partner would only have arrived in England or Wales recently, we'll accept a letter from the person that you have been residing with as proof of address. The letter should state the date you arrived and the name, address and contact telephone number of the person who is vouching for your residence.
If you've recently moved to the borough from another district you should also establish a clear 7 day residency. Proof of address would be a tenancy agreement, mortgage statement or letter from the person responsible for the property confirming the date of your arrival and the name, address and contact telephone number of the person who is vouching for your residence.
Evidence of change of name
- original Deed Poll/change of name certificate
Evidence of dissolution of previous marriage or civil partnership
- original divorce certificate (translation of originals required for foreign divorces in foreign languages); please note that if the name on the divorce decree absolute or civil partnership dissolution does not match the name on the proof of identity, you'll need to provide either an original certified copy of your previous marriage/civil partnership certificate or a change of name deed to link the names
- from 1 November 2017 additional charges will be made for the consideration of overseas divorce documents:
- £50 - divorce obtained overseas that can be cleared locally
- £75 - divorce obtained overseas that needs to be cleared by the General Register Office
Please note that only when a registrar sees the document can a decision be made as to whether it will cleared locally or cleared by the General Register Office.
- if either of you is a widow/widower or surviving civil partner, we'll need to see a certified copy of your partner's death certificate and your marriage/civil partnership certificate
Those ‘in scope’ and those with fiancé/marriage visas must produce a passport size, passport quality photograph when giving notice. This is for both parties, even if one is British/an EEA national. If you don't bring these documents to the notice appointment we may not be able to see you and your appointment will have to be rescheduled.
If you're under 18 years of age, you'll need to complete consent required to the Marriage of a Minor Form 55 (pdf, 592kb). This form is also available from the Register Office.
You must bring all of the required documents with you to the appointment. Failure to do so will result in us being unable to take the notice and your appointment being re-booked.
Changes for giving notice when getting married in a Church of England and Church in Wales
Church of England marriages for British/EEA citizens may find it is possible for your Vicar to call banns for your marriage. Please speak to your vicar.
Southwark Register office is working in partnership with the Home Office and the General Register Office and will report any suspicions of a sham or forced marriage or other immigration offences. We use ID scan to verify documents presented at the Register Office.
Getting married abroad
If you're planning a marriage or civil partnership abroad, a notice of intent may be needed to make sure it will be a legal ceremony.
Southwark Register office can offer a certificate of no impediment if you're a British National and live in Southwark.
We do advise that you contact the consulate or embassy of the country you wish to be married in to obtain information about their requirements. GOV.UK website have a tool to help check the requirements to form a civil partnership or marry abroad.
Notice fee (per person) is £35 or £47 (depending on your immigration status).
Book an appointment for a notice below.
Page last updated: 10 May 2022