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Births, deaths and ceremonies

Last Updated 12:42pm, 2 July 2020


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From 4 July small ceremonies of marriages and civil partnership formations can now go ahead again, although with significant restrictions currently as per PHE guidance.

You may feel that the current restrictions don’t allow you to have the ceremony you want, but please remember you can change the date free of charge with the registration service – please speak to your venue or call 0345 155 1002 for the registration office.

Ceremony restrictions

  • On arrival at a registration office everyone must wait outside until invited in by a member of staff. Social distancing should be adhered to.
  • All attendees must sanitise their hands on entering the building and follow the instructions of the registrar.
  • Anyone showing signs of Covid-19 symptoms should not attend and will not be allowed into the building – if this is one of the couple the ceremony should be rescheduled.
  • A pen should be supplied by the couple to sign the register (black gel or biro) to reduce potential cross contamination.
  • Rings should be held by the couple (not given to a 3rd party, i.e best man or registrar) these can be exchanged as normal.
  • No readings will be permitted during the ceremony. No live music.
  • Guests and the couple must leave the building immediately after the ceremony.

Restrictions on numbers attending

In registration offices there will be fixed capacity. These numbers are non negotiable and we would ask that you do not turn up with additional guests as they will not be allowed in to the building. Babies and children are counted in the number of guests permitted as are photographers.

Other venues will have worked out their own capacities but the same guidance will apply to the ceremony.

Devon room capacities

Okehampton Town Hall8
Larkbeare (A la ronde) now Knightshayes7
Larkbeare Killerton and Boatshed14
Clinton Room (County Hall)8
Devon Register Office (Newton Abbot)4
Follaton House (Repton room)10
Follaton House (Nash room)5
Taw View6
Caddsdown (with guests)11
Quay House10
Mid Devon Registration Office8
Exmouth Town Hall6
Watermark Centretbc

Once by their seat, guests (including the photographer) must not move around the room and must stay in or by their seat at all times.

Please remember that you must give your notice of marriage/civil partnership at least 28 days before the date of your ceremony in your local registration district.

Your notice of marriage/civil partnership

Appointments to give notice for upcoming marriages and civil partnerships can be made and notices can now start to be taken.

If requesting an appointment the following should be considered:

  • It is not yet known which venues will be available for marriage and civil partnership in the short term, nor when they might resume.
  • Couples who choose to give notice should be aware that if the venue stated in the notice does not reopen in the future and their marriage or civil partnership cannot take place at that venue, new notices would be required.

Remember, your notice of marriage/civil partnership must be given at least 28 days prior to the ceremony date (70 days for non European Economic Area (EEA) nationals) and is valid for 12 months.

Notice appointments can be booked by phone (0345 155 1002) from Tuesday 9 June. Appointments can happen from Monday 15 June in a limited number of offices, however, the following guidance will be applied:

  • Ceremonies booked for July to September (inclusive) – appointment can be booked from 15 June onwards.
  • Ceremonies booked for October to December (inclusive) – appointment can be booked after 1 August.
  • Ceremonies booked for January to March 2021 (inclusive) – appointment can be booked after 1 October.
  • Ceremonies booked for April to July 2021 (inclusive) – appointment can be booked after 1 January 2021.

The following criteria will apply at the appointment:

  • You should arrive at the office at the time of the appointment and wait outside – the registrar will let you into the office at your allotted time.
  • You should bring all paperwork with you, along with a black ballpoint pen.
  • No children or other accompanying adults to enter the building.
  • Hand sanitising will be required once entering the building.
  • If you are late you may be turned away and asked to book another appointment.
  • All social distancing guidance must be followed.

Please do not attend if you are showing any symptoms of coronavirus. Instead, call 0345 155 1002 to rebook your appointment.

Religious ceremonies

Read the latest guidance for churches on the Church of England website.

Citizenship ceremonies

Citizenship ceremonies have now been able to start again, but these are for the individual only and no guests are permitted to attend.

Where certificates have already been received the registration service will contact those applicants to make an appointment.

Some applicants may have received a letter from UKVI to say their application has been successful but those certificates have not yet been received. The service will be in touch as soon as they do receive these.

Birth registrations

Birth registration appointments are now available again.

All parents whose babies were born on or before 31 May 2020 have been sent a letter in the post requesting further information. Once this information has been received, parents will be contacted and an appointment made.

If you have not received a letter please call 0345 155 1002 to request a copy.

If your baby was born on or after 1 June please call 0345 155 1002 to make an appointment – appointments will be offered from 3 August only in order to give the Service an opportunity to catch up on the backlog of registrations.

Please note that if your baby was born in the Plymouth or Torbay council area, and even if you live in Devon, you should contact these authorities directly or check their websites for updates.

Previously, the Service has been able to register Torbay births and take declarations of birth for Plymouth but is unable to do this at present due to the huge backlog of Devon births. It is hoped to reinstate these services in the future.

How to claim Child Benefit

Due to these exceptional circumstances, you will now be able to make a claim for Child Benefit or Universal Credit prior to a birth being registered.

First time parents should complete the Child Benefit Claim form CH2 and send it to the Child Benefit Office – add a note to your claim to explain that you have not been able to register the birth due to COVID-19.

If you already claim Child Benefit, they can complete the form or add your newborn’s details over the phone on 0300 200 3100. You will need your National Insurance number or Child Benefit number.

Child Benefit claims can be backdated by up to 3 months.

European settlement scheme

A face-to-face appointment is required therefore these appointments cannot take place until lockdown has been lifted.

Please consult the government website which guides you through downloading an app on to your smartphone to enable you to process the application at home.

Death registrations

Death registrations will now be conducted by telephone. Please do not call to book an appointment.

The Registration Service will be provided with next of kin details as well as the medical certificate of cause of death by the doctor/hospital involved and will then contact the person registering the death.

The Certificate for Burial or Cremation (the ‘green form’) which gives permission for burial or an application for cremation will be forwarded directly to the relevant place.

You will also be able to order and pay for death certificates over the phone.