GIVING NOTICE

Giving notice is a formal declaration of your intention to marry.

Implemented changes

Please note: Changes implemented to the Government IT system used to register births, deaths, marriage and civil partnerships has introduced system instability. This means that your appointment may take longer than usual or the registrar may need to complete a manual registration; unfortunately in some cases we may be unable to issue a certificate at the time of registration. You may also have to wait longer than usual for an appointment due to appointments having to be extended to cope with the IT instability.

Because of the inability to complete registrations we are currently prioritising the following services:

  • Notices of marriage for ceremonies taking place within the next 8 weeks.  If your ceremony is not taking place during this time, please wait to book an appointment closer to the date of your ceremony.

Please visit our website for updated information on our service delivery

We are sorry for any inconvenience or distress that this may cause, the General Register Office is currently unable to provide a timescale for when the system will be restored to a reliable and stable state.

Before you can get married or form a civil partnership, both you and your partner are legally required to attend a giving notice appointment in person at your local Registration Office. Giving notice is a formal declaration of your intention to marry.

At your giving notice appointment, the Registrar will see you separately and ask you a series of questions about yourself and each other to ensure that you are free and legal to marry. You will need to provide basic personal details such as your names, age, marital status, address, occupation, nationality and the intended venue for your ceremony. You will then sign the notice document which details the information you have provided.

You must both have lived in England or Wales for seven full days immediately before you give notice. It doesn't matter if either of you moves to a different address once you have given notice. If you live in Staffordshire, you will need to give notice at a Staffordshire Registration Office. If you live outside of Staffordshire, you must give notice at the Registration Office in the district where you have lived for seven full days immediately prior to you giving notice.

You will need to have confirmed your venue before you give notice as your marriage can only take place at the venue you name on your notice of marriage. If you were to change the venue after giving notice, it would be necessary to give notice (and pay the fee) again.

Your notice will then be displayed publicly for 28 clear days before a marriage or civil partnership schedule can be issued.  However, if one or both parties to the marriage / civil partnership is subject to immigration control, this legal wait period may be extended, by the Home Office, to 70 days.

When and where do we give notice?

You can give notice from 12 months before the date of your marriage and this must be done no later than 28 days prior to your ceremony. Your Schedule for marriage is valid for 12 months from the date notice is given.

You must both have lived in England or Wales for seven full days immediately before you give notice. It doesn't matter if either of you moves to a different address once you have given notice.

If you are British, Irish or an EEA citizen with EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) status granted or applied for before 30 June 2021 you must:

  • each give your notice of marriage or civil partnership at the Register Office in the district where you have lived for the nine days prior to the appointment.
  • If you both live in the Staffordshire Registration District you can book a double appointment and attend together or can book single notice appointments and attend separately.

If one or both of you are a non-EEA national or an EEA citizen without EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) status:

  • One of you must have lived in the Staffordshire Registration District for the nine days immediately before giving notice.
  • You must book a double notice appointment and attend together.

How do I book a giving notice appointment?

Notice of Marriage

You can book an appointment online.

Notice of Civil Partnership

You can book an appointment online.

How much does it cost?

Giving notice costs £35 each, and you must both give a separate notice of marriage.

If you have booked an appointment and cannot attend it, contact us to get a refund of your giving notice fee.

Please note: if you have attended your giving notice appointment and later decide to cancel your ceremony, the giving notice fee would not be refunded.

What documents do we need to take to our notice appointment?

The documents required are prescribed by law and these requirements are slightly different depending on your nationality.

All documents must be originals, we are unable to accept electronic documents.

Please check the details below to ensure you bring the correct documentation as if anything is missing, expired, photocopied or on a mobile device, we won't be able to take your notice and you will need to book a new appointment and pay the appointment fee again.

Please select the relevant option below, depending on your nationality, for details of the documents required for a notice appointment:

We are British, Irish or EEA citizens with EUSS status granted or applied for prior to 30 June 2021

You will need to provide evidence of:

Your nationality

You need to bring ONE of the following:

  • Valid passport; or
  • Nationality identity card; 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 on or 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 British 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 parent's nationality.

As this can be quite complex please contact us on 0300 111 8001 if further clarification is required.

EUSS scheme status (if applicable)

In addition to the above, if one or both of you are EEA nationals with EUSS status granted or applied for before 30 June 2021 you must obtain a unique code prior to your appointment which will allow the Registrar to check and verify your immigration status.

The code is valid for a period of 30 days so please ensure that it is valid on the day of your appointment.

If one or both parties to the marriage or civil partnership are EEA nationals without EUSS status then please refer to the documents listed under the heading of “If one or both of you are EEA without EU Settlement Scheme EUSS status or non-EEA nationals” as the required documents are slightly different.

Proof Of address

You will also need to supply proof of your address by providing one of the following documents, which must also show your full name:

  • Valid driving licence.
  • Utility bill: Dated no more than 3 months before the date on which notice is given.
  • Bank or building society statement or passbook: Dated no more than 1 month before the date on which notice is given.
  • Council tax bill: Dated no more than 1 year before the date on which notice is given.
  • Mortgage statement: Dated no more than 1 year before the date on which notice is given.
  • Current residential tenancy agreement.
  • Letter from the owner of the address where you live. This letter must have the owner's full name, address and signature. It must also state that you've lived at the address for 9 days or more.

Evidence of your age

If either of you are under 18, you will also need:

  • Proof that your parents (or legal guardians) agree to the marriage.
  • If your parents are divorced we may need to see the court order that gives custody to one of your parents. The Registrar can help with this.

Evidence of any name changes

If either of you have changed your name legally before such as through deed poll or a solicitor, you will also need:

  • Proof of name change.

If either of you have been married or in a civil partnership before, we will need to see Proof of the termination of your previous marriage by death, divorce or nullity.

  • Decree absolute
    • if your divorce was granted in England or Wales and you have been issued with a paper version of your decree absolute from the court, we will need to see this and the cover sheet which accompanied it
    • if your divorce was granted in England or Wales and you have been issued with an electronic version of the decree absolute, we will need to see this and the covering email
    • if your divorce was granted outside England and Wales, we will need to see the final divorce documents issued along with a full translation into English if the document was written in any other language.
      • A fee is chargeable for clearance of any divorces granted in countries outside England and Wales.  Please note, these may have to be referred to the General Register Office for the Registrar General to confirm whether the document is acceptable under British law.  It is not possible to specify how long it may take for approval to come and authorities to marry or form a civil partnership cannot be issued until this approval is received.  Please do take this into account when considering a marriage or formation date as there may be a significant delay before a ceremony can take place.
  • The death certificate of the spouse / civil partner – if the surviving partner is not mentioned on the death certificate then you must also provide a certified copy of the marriage or civil partnership certificate.

If none of the above are available, please contact the General Register Office on 0300 123 1837 for guidance.

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.  These documents must be certified at the bottom 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.

What will happen during the appointment?

The registrar will need to see each of you individually and will ask prescribed questions in English.  If one, or both, of you does not have, or only has limited, English language skills then they will need to bring a translator along with them.  A translator can be a family member, friend or community leader but cannot be the partner in the marriage or civil partnership.

One or both of us are non-EEA or EEA citizens without EUSS status

You will need to provide evidence of:

Your nationality

You will need to provide ONE of the following:

  • Valid Passport; or
  • Valid British Travel Document; or
  • Biometric Residence Card or Permit
  • British birth certificates
    • If you are British and born before 1 January 1983, we will need to see either your full or short British birth certificate.
    • If you are British and born on or after 1 January 1983, we will need to see your full British birth certificate, which includes your parents' details, PLUS either your mother or father's British birth certificate if your parents were married when you were born.  If your parents were unmarried when you were born, 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 parent's nationality.  Further information can be found in the Acceptable Alternative Evidence document.  As this can be quite complex please contact us on 0300 111 8001 if further clarification is required.

If both parties to the marriage or civil partnership are British, Irish or EEA citizens with EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) status granted or applied for before 30 June 2021 please refer to the documents listed on the “We are British, Irish or an EEA citizen" page as the required documents are slightly different.

Proof of address

You will also need to supply proof of your address by providing one of the following documents, which must also show your full name:

  • Valid driving licence.
  • Utility bill: Dated no more than 3 months before the date on which notice is given.
  • Bank or building society statement or passbook: Dated no more than 1 month before the date on which notice is given.
  • Council tax bill: Dated no more than 1 year before the date on which notice is given.
  • Mortgage statement: Dated no more than 1 year before the date on which notice is given.
  • Current residential tenancy agreement.
  • Letter from the owner of the address where you live. This letter must have the owner's full name, address and signature. It must also state that you've lived at the address for 9 days or more.

Evidence of your age

If either of you are under 18, you will also need:

  • Proof that your parents (or legal guardians) agree to the marriage.
  • If your parents are divorced we may need to see the court order that gives custody to one of your parents. The Registrar can help with this.

Evidence of any name changes

If either of you have changed your name legally before such as through deed poll or a solicitor, you will also need:

  • Proof of name change.

If either of you have been married or in a civil partnership before, we will need to see Proof of the termination of your previous marriage by death, divorce or nullity.

  • Decree absolute
    • if your divorce was granted in England or Wales and you have been issued with a paper version of your decree absolute from the court, we will need to see this and the cover sheet which accompanied it
    • if your divorce was granted in England or Wales and you have been issued with an electronic version of the decree absolute, we will need to see this and the covering email
    • if your divorce was granted outside England and Wales, we will need to see the final divorce documents issued along with a full translation into English if the document was written in any other language.
      • A fee is chargeable for clearance of any divorces granted in countries outside England and Wales.  Please note, these may have to be referred to the General Register Office for the Registrar General to confirm whether the document is acceptable under British law.  It is not possible to specify how long it may take for approval to come and authorities to marry or form a civil partnership cannot be issued until this approval is received.  Please do take this into account when considering a marriage or formation date as there may be a significant delay before a ceremony can take place.
  • The death certificate of the spouse / civil partner – if the surviving partner is not mentioned on the death certificate then you must also provide a certified copy of the marriage or civil partnership certificate.

If none of the above are available, please contact the General Register Office on 0300 123 1837 for guidance.

Photos

Both of the couple needs to provide a colour, passport size / style photograph.

Please note: 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.

If none of the above are available, then please contact the General Register Office on 0300 123 1837 for guidance.

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.  These documents must be certified at the bottom 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.

Home Office guidance for couples subject to immigration controls

Registration officials will be required to refer all marriage and civil partnership notices to the Home Office if one or both of the parties are EEA nationals without EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) status granted or applied for before 30 June 2021 or non-EEA nationals who do not provide specified evidence that they have:

(a) settled status in the UK (Indefinite Leave to Enter or Remain), (b) an EU law right of permanent residence in the UK

(c) a marriage or civil partnership visa, or

(d) exemption from immigration control (e.g. with the right of abode in the UK).

The Home Office may decide to extend the 28 day notice period to 70 days where a sham marriage or civil partnership is suspected.  The Home Office will inform both parties, in writing, if this is the case.

The Home Office will then decide whether the marriage or civil partnership schedule can be issued allowing a legal ceremony to take place. If the registration official is content to do so, and all paperwork has been cleared, for example any foreign divorce documents, then the relevant paperwork can be issued after the notice period has expired and the couple can proceed with their marriage or civil partnership.

If your notice period is extended to 70 days, you will be required to comply with a Home Office investigation. If you do not comply with the investigation, you will be unable to marry or enter into a civil partnership on the basis of that notice.

What will happen during the appointment?

The registrar will need to see you individually and will ask prescribed questions in English.  If one, or both, of the parties does not have, or only has limited, English language skills then they will need to bring a translator along with them.  A translator can be a family member, friend or community leader but cannot be the partner in the marriage.  If you and the registrar cannot understand each other, the appointment will have to be cancelled and rebooked incurring another booking fee.

Please note:  We are unable to take bookings for clients where a divorce is still in progress and you are waiting for your divorce to be made final.

What happens after we’ve given notice?

Your notices will be displayed on the public notice boards of the Registration Office in which they were given for the legal waiting period.  Once this period has passed and:

  • any investigations by the Home Office have been carried out (if applicable)
  • any foreign divorce documentation has been cleared by the General Register Office (if applicable)

Then your marriage or civil partnership schedule will be issued which means that your legal ceremony can take place.

This is a legal document which allows your marriage to take place and is valid for 12 months from the date you gave notice.

The schedule will be printed in the district where your ceremony is taking place and will either be retained by the Register Office, if the ceremony is taking place there or within a licenced venue within that district, or sent to the place of worship in advance of the ceremony date.

What if I live outside of Staffordshire?

If you don't live in Staffordshire but want to marry here, you must give notice at the registration office in the district where you have lived for seven full days immediately before you give notice.

What if I want to marry outside of Staffordshire?

If you live in Staffordshire but are marrying elsewhere you must book the time and location with the office in the area you want to marry. You then need to give notice at one of our registration offices.

Do I need to give notice if I am having a religious ceremony?

Church of England

When you have set the date, make an appointment to see the incumbent of the church you intend to marry in.

Church of England clergy are authorised Registrars so there is no need to give notice at the Register Office. Banns are read in each parish on three Sundays before the wedding to announce your intention to marry. Where one or both of you are non-EEA or EEA nationals without EUSS status you will be required to give your notice of marriage together at a register office in a district of England or Wales where one or both of you has lived for the nine days immediately before the day the appointment takes place.

Roman Catholic

If you wish to marry in a Catholic Church, you need to speak to the parish priest to make arrangements, but a notice of marriage must be given at your local register office.

Other religious denominations

Marriages which are conducted according to the rite of other religious denominations also require a notice of marriage to be given at your local register office.

  • If you are both British, Irish or an EEA citizen with EUSS granted or applied for before 30 June 2021, you must give your notice in the district where you have lived for the nine days immediately before your appointment.
  • If one or both of you are non-EEA or EEA nationals without EUSS statusthen you must book a double appointment in the district where one of you has lived for the nine days immediately before the appointment takes place.

If the priest or minister is not authorised to solemnise marriages, a charge will be made for the Registrar to attend of £84.00.