New Procedures for Marrying in the UK

New procedures will come into effect on 1 February that affect foreign nationals subject to immigration control who want to get married in the United Kingdom (UK).

Register offices will not accept notice of marriage from foreign nationals unless they have a Home Office certificate of approval or an entry clearance (visa) as a fiancé(e) or marriage visitor. The new Rules will not affect foreign nationals with indefinite leave to remain in the UK or European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals.

These provisions do not apply to anyone who has already given notice to marry to a registrar before 1 February 2005.

A brief summary

From 1 February 2005, people who are subject to immigration control who wish to marry in the UK must either:

  • hold entry clearance (visa) as a fiancé(e) or marriage visitor, or
  • hold a Home Office certificate of approval, or
  • be a person with settled status in the UK (e.g. indefinite leave to remain)

People who are subject to immigration control will also be required to give notice to marry to a registrar at one of 76 designated register offices in England and Wales. They must attend the register office together.

In Scotland and Northern Ireland, all register offices are designated. Notice to marry is normally given by post.