I’d Like to Get Married in the U.K.
Q: I’d like to get married in the U.K. What do I need to know?
A: American citizens coming to the United Kingdom to marry British citizens or persons settled here, or to register as Civil Partners, generally require entry clearance from UK authorities. Clearance must be obtained in advance of arrival.
If you are in the United States and need more information, consult the website of the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., at http://ukinusa.fco.gov.uk/en/ . If you are outside the United States, but not in the United Kingdom, consult your nearest British Embassy/Consulate . If you are already in the United Kingdom, see www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk .
Failure to comply with the requirement for entry clearance may result in refusal of entry to the United Kingdom.
Civil (Non-Religious) Marriages
In general, for a civil marriage, both contracting parties must:
- observe the statutory residence requirements (see below);
- be at least 16 years old;
- obtain parental consent in writing if either party is under age 18, unless one is a widow or widower;
- if previously married, produce evidence that they are currently free to marry (for example, the original or a certified copy of the former spouse’s death certificate or of the divorce decree); and
- arrange for two witnesses to be present at the marriage and to sign the Marriage Register.
People subject to immigration control who wish to marry in the United Kingdom must:
- hold entry clearance as a fiancé/e or marriage visitor, or
- hold a Home Office certificate of approval, or
- be a person with settled status in the United Kingdom (e.g. indefinite leave to remain).
Who regulates civil marriages in England and Wales?
The Registrar’s Office for each district. To find the nearest Registrar, look under “Registration of Births, Deaths, and Marriages” in the telephone directory, or call Directory Assistance (192). The Registrar takes the Notice of Marriage (the license application), issues the certificate, and conducts the ceremony. For most visiting Americans, the most centrally located Registrar’s Office is at Westminster Council House, Marylebone Road, London SW1E 6QP (Tel: 020-7641-1161).
For more detailed information about Marriage and Civil Partnerships in the U.K., please visit our website at: http://london.usembassy.gov/cons_new/acs/scs/marriage_and_civil_partnerships.html