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Legal Preliminaries to marriages and civil partnerships

How to give notice of marriage or civil partnership and what to do if you want to hold the ceremony abroad.

Notice of a marriage or civil partnership

A notice of marriage/civil partnership:

  • has to be prepared to enable your ceremony to take place
  • is valid for 12 months from the date it is prepared
  • is only valid for the venue specified on the Notice

The fee for completing a Notice of marriage or partnership is £35 per person (or £47 per person if you are subject to immigration control).

It is a requirement that you must live or stay within one registration district in England and Wales for a period of 7 full days immediately prior to the day of giving your Notice of Marriage or Civil Partnership, which is a span of 9 days. This does not include the day you arrive in the district and the residency must not be broken during this period.

There needs to be a 29 day waiting period from when you prepare your Notice before your ceremony or formation can take place. This can be extended by the Home Office to 71 days if you are subject to immigration control.

How to arrange giving notice

Your Notice appointment is an in-person meeting with a registrar.

Suffolk residents

You can attend any office in Suffolk to give your Notice of Marriage or Civil Partnership if you:

  • are a British or Irish Citizen
  • have EU Settlement Scheme settled status or pre-settled status
  • are resident in Suffolk, i.e pay council tax in Suffolk.

You don't have to attend the appointment together.

You have to attend the appointment together if you and/or your partner are:

  • not British or Irish
  • do not have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme

When you contact us to make the appointment we'll advise which documents you need to bring. 

You both need to be able to read and understand English to answer the Registrar's questions and sign and approve the Notice of Marriage/Civil Partnership documents. If either of you is not able to read and understand English, you will need to bring an interpreter, you cannot interpret for each other. 

Residents outside Suffolk

You have to give Notice in the county you pay council tax in. Please contact the Register Service in your county for an appointment.

Documents required for a notice

You'll be told which documents to bring when you book your appointment. All documents must be current and original.

Depending on your circumstances, the documents you'll need to bring will include some or all of the following:

  • passport
  • full UK birth certificate (see below)
  • decree absolute
  • death certificate of former spouse/civil partner
  • proof of residence
  • EU settled Status check code (see below)
  • any documents relating to a change of name

Full UK birth certificate

If you were born in the UK after 1 January 1983, and don't have a current passport, you must bring a parent's full birth certificate or passport. If your parents were not married at the time of birth, you must bring your mother's birth certificate or passport.

EU Settled and Pre-Settled Status

If you have settled or pre-settled status under the EUSS you will be required to provide a share code to enable your immigration status to be checked. The code is valid for 30 days, it can be obtained by checking your immigration status on GOV.UK

Check British, Irish and EU Settlement Scheme documentation (PDF 27KB) explaining what documents are required.

Couples subject to Immigration Control

Please see immigration control documentation (PDF 28KB) for the required documents. 

Guidance for getting married abroad

Read where do you want to get married? - Getting married abroad on GOV.UK.