In order to get married or have a civil partnership in England or Wales, the law requires you both to be resident in England or Wales. Resident means both of you having been at one address in England or Wales for at least eight days immediately prior to the date of your appointment to give notice of intention to marry or enter into civil partnership. The only exception to this is if one or both of you lives in Scotland, so please email email@example.com for advice if this is the case.
If one or both of you live abroad, you will need to come to England or Wales for at least eight days in order 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).
You will need to book an appointment to give notice on the 8th day of residence (at the earliest), so if you are only in England for a limited time, you can book your appointment before you enter England to ensure you can book an appointment on your chosen date. Please only book an appointment at our office if the address you are staying in 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.
You must bring to your appointment all the documents listed on our ‘Giving notice’ page. We understand, however, that if you are residing in England or Wales for at least eight days to give your notice of intention it may be difficult for you to obtain the usual proof of address. In these circumstances only, we are able to accept alternative evidence as proof of address. This should be an official letter signed by the occupier of the property where you are residing, confirming that you have lived at the property for at least the eight days immediately prior to your appointment to give notice. They should include the address of the property as well as their name and contact details, ensuring that the letter is dated immediately prior before the appointment. 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 / administrator. Please note that when you are booking your notice appointment, you must select that you have one of the other proofs of address such as bank statements to continue, but this will not affect your appointment.
After having given notice, you are both free to travel again before the date of your marriage or civil partnership. 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 therefore your choice whether you remain in the UK after you’ve given notice until your ceremony, or whether you prefer to leave the UK to return later in the year for the ceremony itself.
Unfortunately, there are no exceptions to this rule, even if you are a British citizen living abroad. You cannot give notice from abroad such as at a British embassy – this includes from Ireland or Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey or Guernsey and its dependencies.