Getting Married Abroad - Certificate of No Impediment

Each country is different in their requirements and so, in the first instance, you must contact the government of the country in which you wish to marry in order to establish exactly what their requirements are.
Getting Married Abroad


You can use the Getting Married abroad tool on gov.uk to find out who you need to contact in order to confirm requirements.

 

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

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 contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for legalisation (an apostille) once the certificate has been collected from the Register Office in the district where you live.

Once you have this information you should contact your local Register Office to arrange an appointment.  You should plan ahead as there can be a wait for appointments.

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

 

At the appointment you will need to provide evidence of: 

Your nationality:

Please bring ONE of the following:

  • Valid passport; or
  • Citizenship certificate confirming British Citizenship; or
  • British birth certificates 
    • If you were born prior to 1 January 1983 we will need to see either your full or short birth certificate.
    • If you were born after 1 January 1983 we will need to see your full birth certificate, which includes your parents' details, PLUS either your mother or father's birth certificate if your parents were married when you were born.  If your parents were unmarried when you were born then only your mother's birth certificate can be accepted.  If your parents were born outside the UK, then you must provide evidence of British nationality at the time of your birth.
    • If your parents were born on or after 1 January 1983 we will also need to see evidence of their parents' nationality.  Further information can be found in the Acceptable Alternative Evidence (PDF, 185KB) document.  As this can be quite complex please contact us on 01908 372101 for further clarification. 

Your address:

Please bring ONE of the following:

  • Utility bill dated no more than three months prior to the date of the appointment; or
  • Bank or building society statement or passbook dated no more than one month prior to the date of the appointment; or
  • Council tax bill dated no more than one year prior to the date of the appointment; or 
  • Mortgage statement from the last 12 months; or
  • Current residential tenancy agreement; or
  • Valid driving licence in the name of the person giving Notice of Marriage; or
  • Letter from the owner or proprietor of the address which is the person's place of residence.  This letter must include:
    • the name, address, date and signature of the owner / proprietor;
    • confirmation that this person is the owner / proprietor; and
    • confirmation of the name of the person giving Notice and that they have been resident at the address for at least the eight days immediately prior to the Notice appointment.

Evidence of your age:

If either of you are under the age of 18 we will need to see proof that your parents, or guardians, agree to the marriage.  If your parents are divorced we may also need to see the court order that gives custody to one of them

Your name:

Evidence of any name change (marriage certificate; deed poll etc)

If you have been divorced or widowed:

  • Decree absolute – if your divorce was granted outside England and Wales, then the final divorce documents issued, along with a full translation, if written in any language other than English.  A fee is chargeable for clearance of any divorces granted in countries outside England and Wales.  Please note that these may have to be referred to the General Register Office for the Registrar General to confirm the document is acceptable under British law and it is not possible to specify how long it may take for approval to come through. Please note that Authorities to Marry cannot be issued until this approval is received, so please do take this into account when considering a marriage date as there may be a significant delay before a ceremony can take place.
  • 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

Some of my documents are not in English, what should I bring?

If any of your documents are in any language other than English, you will need to bring the original document plus a full translation into English, certified at the bottom of the document by the translator stating "I certify this to be a true translation of the document".  The name, address, telephone number and signature of the person who translated the document(s) must be included.

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

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 28 clear days before the Certificate of No Impediment can be issued.

Please note that 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. 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 takes place abroad.

Last Updated: 21 October 2019