Marriages and civil partnerships

Giving notice of marriage if you live abroad

To get married or form a civil partnership in England or Wales, you must both be resident somewhere in England or Wales for at least eight consecutive days immediately prior to the day on which you give your notice of marriage or civil partnership.

Your marriage or civil partnership can take place 29 days after you give notice (sometimes 71 days if either of you are subject to immigration control). After you have both given your notices, you do not need to remain in England and Wales and may travel abroad again before your ceremony date.

If you are subject to immigration control you must have the relevant visa for marriage or civil partnership before entering the UK ideally to give notice and for the ceremony itself. If you don’t have indefinite leave to remain or diplomatic immunity, this would usually be:

  • a fiancé visa (for a non-EEA national residing abroad joining an EEA/Swiss partner in the UK or non-EEA/Swiss person with settled status in the UK) or
  • a marriage visitor visa (if both of you are entering the UK solely for your marriage or civil partnership and will leave the UK again immediately afterwards).

Both of these visas are usually valid for six months from the date of application. If you obtain these visas to give notice and are planning to leave the UK after you give notice, you must return for your ceremony before the visas expire. For more information visit the GOV.UK website.

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 both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Please note registrars cannot give immigration advice.