You must be resident in England or Wales to get married or have a civil partnership in those countries by law, even if you are a British citizen living abroad.
'Resident' means both of you having been at one address in England or Wales for at least eight days immediately before the date of your appointment to give notice of intention to marry or enter into civil partnership.
You cannot give notice from another country, such as at a British embassy – this includes from Ireland or Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey or Guernsey and its dependencies.
If one of you lives in Scotland and the other lives in England or Wales, please see the section on this page for advice on this.
If one or both of you live abroad
You will need to come to England or Wales for at least eight days to give notice of intention to marry or enter into civil partnership. Your marriage or civil partnership can take place 29 days after you give notice. This may be extended to 71 days if either of you are foreign nationals.
What you need to do
Book an appointment
- Book an appointment to give notice on the eighth day of residence, at the earliest. If you are only in England for a short time, book before you enter England to make sure you can get an appointment on your chosen date.
- Please only book an appointment at our office if the address where you are staying is in Islington or the City of London. The City of London means the Square Mile and not London as an entire city, please view a map to check.
- You must give notice in the district where each of you are staying in England, even if this is not where you are holding your ceremony.
Bring your documents
- You must bring to your appointment all the documents listed on our ‘Giving notice’ page.
- If you are staying in England or Wales for only a very short period of time - for example, at least eight days before you give your notice of intention - it may be difficult for you to get the usual proof of address. In this case, we can accept other evidence as proof of address.
- This should be an official letter signed by the occupier of the property where you are living, confirming that you have lived at the property for at least eight days immediately before your appointment to give notice. They should include:
- the address of the property
- the occupier's name and contact details - the occupier can be the friend or family member whose property you are residing in or, if you are staying in a hotel, the hotel manager or administrator
- date immediately before the appointment.
After giving notice
- You are both free to travel again after giving notice.
- Your marriage authorities or civil partnership schedule is valid for one year from the date that you gave notice, for your chosen venue only.
- It is your choice to remain in the UK after you’ve given notice until your ceremony or leave the UK to return later in the year for the ceremony itself.
If one of you lives in Scotland and the other lives in England or Wales
What you need to do
- The person living in England or Wales must make a notice appointment in the registration district in which you live.
- The person living in Scotland must make an appointment to get a Certificate of No Impediment from their local register office, as close as possible in date to the notice appointment in England and Wales.
- Once the Certificate of No Impediment is produced in Scotland, it is your responsibility to make sure this gets to the Islington Registration Service so we can issue the marriage paperwork for your ceremony.
- Please note that a Certificate of No Impediment from Scotland is only valid for three months, so please make sure your certificate will be valid on the date of your ceremony.