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What documents do I need to get married or register a civil partnership?

This page tells you about the documents you may need if you are subject to immigration control and you want to get married or register a civil partnership in the United Kingdom.

Repayment of fees paid for certificates of approval

If you applied for a certificate of approval for marriage or civil partnership between 2005 and 2009, you may be eligible for the repayment of the fee you paid.

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Applying from overseas

If you are currently outside the United Kingdom and you want to come here to get married or register a civil partnership, the documents you need will depend on how long you intend to stay in the United Kingdom.

If you are coming to the United Kingdom as a visitor for marriage or civil partnership and you plan to leave the United Kingdom after the ceremony, you must get entry clearance (permission to enter) for a visit for marriage or a visit for civil partnership.

If you are planning to come to the United Kingdom to get married or register a civil partnership with someone who is already settled or settling here, and you want to stay in the country afterwards, you will need entry clearance (permission to enter) as a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner. Both you and your partner must be aged 21 or over.

Before you travel, you should apply for your entry clearance at a British diplomatic post, which issues the type of entry clearance you need, in the country where you normally live.

If your application is successful, we will normally grant you permission to come to the United Kingdom for six months. When you apply, you will need to show evidence that you plan to marry or register your civil partnership during that time.

The current fees for entry clearance as a visitor for marriage or civil partnership or as a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner are on the visa services website.

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Applying in the United Kingdom - certificate of approval

If you are already in the United Kingdom, before giving a registrar notice to marry or register your civil partnership you will need to:

  • have settled status in the United Kingdom; or
  • get a certificate of approval.

You do not currently need a certificate of approval if you are getting married within the Anglican Church in England and Wales.

If you think you may need to apply for a certificate of approval, you should read the Important information regarding certificate of approval for marriage or civil partnership applications (PDF 432K opens in new window) before you make your application.

You can download the application form for a certificate of approval, and the related guidance, from the right side of this page. Note that you cannot apply for a certificate of approval from outside the United Kingdom.

Our service standards set out how quickly we aim to decide applications for certificates of approval. The service standard is that we will decide 65 per cent of applications within four weeks.

With effect from 9 April 2009, the UK Border Agency has suspended the application fee for certificates of approval. This means that you do not need to pay a fee if you are applying for a certificate of approval.

The fee has been suspended in order to comply with the House of Lords judgment in the case of Baiai v the Secretary of State for the Home Department.

If you applied for a certificate of approval between 1 February 2005 and 8 April 2009, you may be able to have the application fee returned to you if you can show that paying the fee caused you real financial hardship at the time of your application. If you think you may be eligible for the repayment, please make your request using request form COAFR - the form also contains advice for applicants, which you should read before you make your request. You can download request form COAFR from the right side of this page. All requests for repayment should be made by 31 July 2010.

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Application forms

Certificate of approval for marriage or civil partnership in the United Kingdom

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