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BritainUSA Home > FAQs

Can I get married in Britain?
Frequently Asked Questions

Persons wishing to marry in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, regardless of the country in which they are citizens or residents, are subject to specific legal regulations.

Please see information on Home Office website about getting married in the UK.

England and Wales

General Requirements
Two unmarried people of opposite sex who are at least 18 years of age are free to marry, provided they are not closely related members of the same family. Persons between the ages of 16 and 18 may marry under the same conditions, but with the written consent of their parents or legal guardians. If the parents or guardians are overseas, a notary or consular officer should witness their signatures.

When notifying a religious or civil authority of intent to marry, proof of identity is required in the form of a passport or birth certificate. Those who have been previously married will be required to produce documentary evidence of the death of their former spouse or of the dissolution of the marriage, in the form of a certified (NOTE: notarized by a lawyer or notary public) copy of a death certificate or divorce decree. If any of these documents is written in a foreign language, certified English translations will need to be provided.

A marriage ceremony may be performed in a place of religious worship, a register office, or public premises that have been registered for marriages by the Registrar General of England and Wales. Civil marriages may, therefore, occur in stately homes, castles, civic buildings or hotels (but not in open-air venues), which have been officially registered for this purpose. Lists of such premises can be purchased from:

General Register Office
Local Services
P.O. Box 56
Southport PR8 2GL
Tel: (151) 471 4817

Civil Ceremonies
Extensive guidance on civil ceremonies is available on the General Register Office website.

Church of England Ceremonies
Information on marriage in the Church of England is available on the Church of England website. Additional information is available from:

Church of England
Enquiry Centre
Church House
Great Smith Street
London SW1P 3NZ
Tel: (20) 7222 9011

Other Religious Ceremonies
Information on Roman Catholic or Jewish marriage ceremonies can be obtained from the following:

    Catholic Marriage Care Limited
    1 Blythe Mews
    Blythe Road
    London NW3 0NW
    Tel: (20) 7371-1341
    Fax: (20) 7371-4921

    Jewish Marriage Council
    23 Ravenshurst Avenue
    London, NW1 4EL
    United Kingdom
    Tel: (20) 8203-6311
    Fax: (20) 8203-8727

Information on getting married in Scotland is available from:

General Register Office for Scotland
New Register House
Tel: (131) 314 4447
Fax: (131) 314 4400

Northern Ireland

Parental consent is required for persons under 18 years of age who wish to marry in Northern Ireland. For civil marriages, prior residence is required on the part of both parties. After notice has been given to the registrar, there is an additional waiting period after which the registrar may issue authority for the marriage. In certain religious marriages, it may not be necessary to serve notice on a registrar, but a period of residency may be necessary.

In addition to providing original or certified birth certificates and original or certified documentation of the death of a former spouse or the dissolution or annulment of a marriage, marriages involving a person from abroad require that an official travel or identity document be provided for that person.

Further information is available from:

General Register Office
Oxford House
49-55 Chichester Street
Northern Ireland
Tel: (28) 9025 2021

Please note: All overseas residents wishing to be married in Britain are warned against marriage agents who claim the ability to procure marriages quickly without meeting the necessary residency requirements. It is not legally possible to achieve this. In addition, any person making a false statement as to residence or any other particular contained in a notice of marriage is liable to prosecution for perjury.

We hope this answered your inquiry. If not, contact us using the email form and we will reply to you within 20 days.

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