Legal formalities for marriage

The formalities that you need to complete before your marriage ceremony takes place

Giving notice of marriage

You will need to give notice of your marriage in your local registration district. If you and your partner live in different areas, you will each need to give notice in your own registration district.  If you or your partner are subject to immigration control you must both give notice together in the district in which one or both of you live.

A nationally-set, non-refundable fee is payable for each notice of marriage. This is non-refundable.

When you can give notice

In order to give notice of marriage in a registration office, you must have lived in that district for a minimum of seven days (immediately before you give your notice). If you are coming from abroad the day of arrival does not count and notice cannot be given until the ninth day. For example, if arrival day is Tuesday, notice cannot be given until the following Wednesday.

The earliest date the notice of marriage can be given is 12 months before the wedding ceremony. Normally, 28 clear days' notice is required. For example, if you give notice on 1 May the registration can take place on or after 30 May. In some cases the Notice period may be extended to 70 days.

Booking an appointment

You will need to give notice of your marriage in your local registration district. If you and your partner live in different areas, you will each need to give notice in your own district.  If you or your partner are subject to immigration control you must both give notice together in the district in which one or both of you live.

If you wish to book a notice appointment in Oxfordshire, we have registration offices in Oxford, Banbury, Witney, Bicester, Abingdon and Didcot. Please contact us to request an appointment.

If you live outside Oxfordshire, please contact the register office in the district in which you live to book an appointment.

Documentation

As with all legal events, you will be asked to produce evidence of your full name, nationality, age and proof of current address. Acceptable documents are listed below:

Warning Original or certified copies of documents are needed. Photocopies are not acceptable.

Proof of identity

British citizens born before 1 January 1983

  • Current valid passport or
  • Birth certificate and photo ID with evidence of current name or
  • Naturalisation certificate and photo ID

British citizens born on or after 1 January 1983

  • Current valid British passport, or
  • Naturalisation certificate and photo ID or
  • Full birth certificate and photo ID with evidence of current name, together with evidence of your parents' nationality (passport or birth certificate). If both parents were born on or after 1 January 1983, you will need to bring evidence of your grandparents’ nationality (passport or birth certificate).

Irish nationals

  • Current valid Irish passport

Nationals with EU Settled Status (EUSS)

People who have been granted settled or pre-settled EU Settlement Status or have a pending application for EU settlement submitted before 30 June 2021.

  • Current valid passport
  • Your 9 character alpha-numeric share code to prove your EUSS. 

The share code should be generated prior the appointment on gov.uk and you will need details of the identity document you used when you applied for EUSS.  This code is valid for 30 days. If you are unable to provide a valid share code during the appointment, or if it confirms that you do not have EUSS, you will be referred to the Home office and the waiting period for your marriage may be extended to 70 days. You will also be required to provide a photograph for you and your partner and the fee for the notice will increase to £47 per person.

Important - please note that EEA ID cards can no longer be accepted as proof of identity, name, age or nationality.

Foreign nationals

Foreign nationals are defined as people who are not British Citizens, Irish Citizens and who have not been granted EU Settled Status (EUSS) or have a pending application for EUSS submitted before 30 June 2021. If you or your partner are a foreign national, you must give notice together in the registration district in which one or both of you live.

If you are a foreign national, in addition to proof of full name, age, nationality and address you will also need to provide evidence of your settled status in England and Wales. If you are unable to provide this, you will be referred to the Home office and the waiting period for your marriage may be extended to 70 days. You will also be required to provide a photograph for you and your partner.

Acceptable documents are listed below:-

  • Current valid passport or
  • Valid Home Office Travel Document

Proof of Settled Status

  • Indefinite Leave to Remain/Enter or
  • Marriage visa 
  • Note: If you do not have or cannot provide evidence of settled status in England and Wales then contact us.

For detailed information, visit the UK Visas and Immigration website.

If you're under 18 or have changed your name

If one or both of you are under the age of 18 years, or have changed your names, you will need to provide us with one or both of the following documents:

  • evidence of change of name (by Deed Poll / Statutory Declaration)
  • parental consent, if under 18 years of age and not previously married or in a civil partnership.

Proof of current address

  • Council tax bill (current year)
  • Household bill (dated within last three months)
  • Bank statement(dated within last month)
  • Valid UK driving licence
  • A letter signed by the owner/occupier of the house who is able to confirm your residence over the previous seven days

Evidence of marital status

  • a decree absolute
  • foreign divorce document with English translation. A fee will apply to clear the divorce.
  • Death certificate(if your husband/wife or former civil partner has died)
  • Dissolution certificate (from a previous civil partnership)

Who will attend the ceremony

Registrars

Two registrars will attend a civil wedding: one to conduct the ceremony and the other to complete the legal paperwork.

Interpreters

All registrations and ceremonies are held in English so if either one of you cannot speak or understand English then you must provide an interpreter. Please discuss this with the registrar who takes your notice of marriage, to be sure the legal requirements are met.

Witnesses

You will need two witnesses. They can be friends or relatives, but should be over the age of 16 and able to speak and understand English.