Weddings and ceremonies

Getting married abroad

Each country has different requirements so in the first instance you must contact the government for the country in which you wish to marry in order to establish exactly what their requirements are.

See the information on GOV.UK - getting married abroad to find out who you need to contact in order to confirm requirements.

Certificate of No Impediment

Some countries will request a Certificate of No Impediment.  These can only be provided for British nationals via the registration office in the district in which you live.

You will need to make an appointment to obtain a Certificate of No Impediment:

Book an appointment

You must find out, from the authorities in the country in which you wish to marry, how long the certificate is valid for in that country, as it must be valid on the day of the wedding. 

You should also find out if they require you to take it to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for legalisation (called an Apostille) once the certificate has been collected from your local registration office.

You will need to know at least the town and country where the marriage is taking place along with any unusual spellings.

What do we need to bring to the appointment?

At the appointment you will need to provide evidence of:

Nationality

One of the following:

  • Valid passport
  • Nationality identity card
  • Citizenship certificate confirming British Citizenship
  • British birth certificates (only)
    • If you were born prior to 1 January 1983, your full or short birth certificate
    • If you were born after 1 January 1983, your full birth certificate which includes your parents' details plus either parent's birth certificate (short or long), if your parents were married at time of your birth.  If your parents were unmarried at the time of your birth, then only your mother's birth certificate needs to be seen.  If your parents were born outside UK then you must provide evidence of British nationality at the time of your birth.

Address

One of the following:

  • Utility bill dated no more than 3 months prior to the date of the appointment
  • Bank or building society statement or passbook dated no more than one month prior to the date of the appointment
  • Council Tax bill dated no more than one year prior to the date of the appointment
  • Mortgage statement dated no more than one year prior to the date of the appointment
  • Current residential tenancy agreement
  • Valid driving licence in the name of the person requesting the Certificate of No Impediment
  • Letter from the owner or proprietor of the address which is the person's place of residence
    • The letter must include the name, address, date and signature of the owner or proprietor
    • confirm they are the owner or proprietor
    • confirm the name of the person requesting the Certificate of No Impediment and that they have been resident at the address for at least the 8 days immediately prior to giving the notice

Name

  • Evidence of any name change
  • Evidence of condition – one of the following:
    • Decree absolute – if granted outside England and Wales, then the final divorce documents issued along with a translation if written in any language other than English
    • The death certificate of the spouse – if the person remarrying is not mentioned on the death certificate then you must also provide a certified copy of the marriage certificate
    • The presumed death certificate of the spouse

Only original documents can be used.  Photocopies will not be accepted.

Other information

There is a fee for booking and using this service.  If you do not bring all the required original, valid documentation we will not be able to complete your notice and a further appointment will have to be booked and paid for.

Once notice is taken it is then displayed for a legal waiting period of 29 days before the Certificate of No Impediment can be issued.

Will our marriage be recognised in the UK?

As long as you follow the law for the country you marry in, and it is legally recognised by that government, then there is no reason why your marriage would not be recognised in this country. If the documents produced are in a foreign language, it is a good idea to have them translated into English and certified.

A marriage can only be registered in one place and there is no provision in English law to register your marriage in this country if the marriage has taken place abroad.

You may however want to consider a renewal of vows ceremony in this country to celebrate the marriage once you return home.