Guide: Plan a marriage

Part 2 Giving notice to marry

You must give notice at your local registration office of your intention to marry. Devon (excluding Plymouth and Torbay) is now one registration district which means you can make an appointment at any of the registration offices – please telephone 0345 155 1002 to book your appointment.

Notice of marriage must be given at a register office in the district in which you lived for at least the previous 8 nights. You will need to make an appointment to do this. If you live in Devon you can go to any registration office in the county (excluding Torbay and Plymouth).

Your notice is publicly displayed in the register office for 28 days, after which time the marriage may take place. The Authorities for Marriage (the legal documentation) must have been issued on or before the day of marriage.

Where a proposed marriage involves a non-European Economic Area (EEA) national who is subject to immigration control the notice period may be extended to 70 days. More information is available at GOV.UK.

Couples wishing to marry in the Church of England where at least one of the couple are a non-EEA national will have to give notice via civil preliminaries at a registration office.

A notice of marriage is valid for 12 months and is only valid for the venue named on the notice. You may be able to change the date of your marriage but a change of location requires a new notice and the payment of new fees.

What do I need to take when giving notice?

When you attend a registration office to give notice of marriage, you will need to produce certain documents to confirm your name, age, marital status and nationality.

Each person giving notice must bring in the following original documents (photocopies are not acceptable but original documents do include foreign language documents which have been translated into English):

  • a valid British passport
    • if you do not have a valid passport then you must provide a full birth certificate (showing parents’ details) and one other form of ID, preferably with photograph, for example a full or provisional driving licence
    • if you were born after 1 January 1983 your own valid passport is enough to prove nationality
    • if you do not have a valid passport you need to bring your own full birth certificate AND your mother’s valid passport or mother’s full birth certificate
    • the reason you need to provide this information is that if you were born before 1 January 1983 nationality was determined on the birth certificate, but if you were born after 1 January 1983 nationality is not proven
  • proof of residency in the form of a council tax bill, utility bill (dated within 3 months) or bank statement (dated within 1 month)
  • proof of marital status – Decree Absolute/Death Certificate/ Dissolution of Civil Partnership
  • if you have changed your name by deed poll or statutory declaration, you must provide original documents.

A valid EEA/Foreign Passport

If you do not have a valid passport or national identity card you will not be able to give notice of marriage.

For persons subject to Immigration control or if you have doubt regarding your nationality or immigration status, please visit the Home Office website or telephone 0870 606 7766 as additional documentation may be required.

A fee of £35 per person will be required, payable by cash, card or cheque.

Please note that there is now a fee for the consideration of foreign divorce documents. The fee is £50 if the divorce can be considered locally, rising to £75 if it will need to be referred to the General Register Office.