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February 18, 2009


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.

Wedding Photo

Photo: Jim Moran on Flickr

If you are in the United States and need more information, consult the website of the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., at . 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 .

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:

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  1. adesina
    Dec 11 2009

    i did like to knw the requirements on marrying US citizen in UK who reside in US.I would like to knw what am suppose to do cos am a student here in UK and we both agree to marry each other,kindly enlighten me on how to marry my fiance in UK and what are the necessary requirements needed and what to do before the marriage can take place.thanks

    • American Citizen Services
      Dec 14 2009

      For information regarding marriage in the UK, please read the blog post where you have left this comment and use the links above for additional information on the subject.

  2. P.R.
    Jan 8 2010

    This question concerns the eligibility for a fiancée visa for the UK.
    I am a German citizen, currently a graduate student in the UK, my fiancée is a US citizen. We are to get married in the summer in Germany. Different websites seem to contain conflicting information regarding the question whether one is only eligible for a fiancée visa for the UK if one is to get married IN THE UK, or whether one is only required to get married within six months, be it in Britain or not (or in our case within the EU). Would it be possible to clear up the confusion about this detail? Many thanks.

    • American Citizen Services
      Jan 13 2010

      As this matter pertains to UK visas and entry requirements, you will need to contact the UK Border Agency to answer your questions.

  3. MM
    Apr 15 2010

    The blog post above directs us to:

    However, when I click on that URL, I receive the following error message:

    “The server at FCO draft sites requires a username and password”.

    How may we access this information without a password, please?

    Thank you.

    • American Citizen Services
      Apr 20 2010

      MM – Information for Americans coming to the UK to get married, seek employment or just visiting, is available from the British Embassy website, here

  4. steph
    Jun 17 2010

    i want to know how i go about getting married to a uk citizen.
    i was born in the usa and was brought to the uk in 1992 so iv been here 18yrs i have a 3yr old son who was born here in the uk how can i get married and who do i have to contact as so far iv been shoved piller to post it seems like and so wan to get married to my long term partner who i have been with sence 2000
    from steph

    • American Citizen Services
      Jun 21 2010

      steph – information about marrying in the UK is available from the Embassy website.

  5. Meichelle
    Jun 18 2010

    My boyfriend is in the UK and I am in the US. He wants to move to the US, find work and we want to eventually get married. What is our best course of action? He doesn’t have an employer to sponsor him.

    • American Citizen Services
      Jun 21 2010

      Meichelle – if your boyfriend wishes to travel to the United States and reside there permanently, he will need the appropriate immigrant visa. Information is available from our website, here.

  6. marie
    Jul 18 2010

    I just wanna know if its possible for my fiance to enter the UK with an entry clearance, get married within 3 months then get a marriage visa? I know of the Fiance visa but if my fiance is here for less than 90 days is it really needed?

    • American Citizen Services
      Jul 20 2010

      marie – if you have a query regarding entry to the UK, you should contact the UK Border Agency for assistance.

  7. Jess
    Jul 23 2010

    I’m a US Citizen and my partner is British. We had a Civil Partnership ceremony here in England in 2006. We are currently looking at options to possibly relocate back to the States and were wondering if we’d be able to utilise the spouse visa or if there is another visa for this . . . or even if it is allowed? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • American Citizen Services
      Jul 23 2010

      Jess – if you have a question regarding visas to enter the United States, please visit our Visa Blog for assistance.

  8. Carrie
    Jul 30 2010

    Hello. My fiance and I, US citizens, just were refused entry clearance for marriage visas. Can we still visit the UK on holiday for our honeymoon, or are we refused entry period? I am confused since US citizens do not needs a visa to enter, but we were refused marriage cause of monies and accommodation, which is crazy. Thank You

    • American Citizen Services
      Aug 5 2010

      Carrie – If you have a question regarding entry to the United Kingdom, you should contact the UK Border Agency for assistance with your query.

  9. alexandra brooks
    Aug 25 2010

    Is it possible to get a straight answer from u people here w/o being routed to another site that doesn’t answer my question either? I would really appreciate it. I mean really, really, really appreciate it. My question is… Once the 7 day “stay” if it is 7 days) in the UK for an American citizen to then begin the process of getting a certificate to get married to a British citizen in the UK is all said and done. Is that certification good for a year or not? In other words once the “paperwork” is done it’s good for exactly how long? I was told a year. Is that true? If not…how long do you have to come back and take your wedding vows at a hotel in London once you have the Bride Visa. Thanks so much and thank you again.

    • AmericanCitizenServices
      Sep 1 2010

      alexandra – if you wish to marry in the United Kingdom, you should contact the UK Border Agency for more information. The U.S. Embassy has no jurisdiction or authority to answer questions related to UK immigration.

Comments are closed.