Marriage abroad

Newly wed couple on beach. © Digital vision/Getty ImagesThe legal paperwork you need to complete for an overseas wedding can be confusing. Fortunately we can help you to get the documents you need.

The local British embassy’s website has specific info and the marriage and civil partnerships abroad page has useful advice.

You should always contact a lawyer in the UK and the local authorities abroad. You could also contact the embassy of the country you wish to get married in - see our list of foreign embassies in the UK 

What documents do I need to get married abroad?

To find out exactly what you need to get married overseas, you will need to contact the authorities of the relevant country. See the list of foreign embassies in the UK.

You might also have to exchange the UK CNI for a Consular CNI at the embassy. The CNI and other documents may also need legalising the UK Legalisation Office.

  • if you’re marrying an Irish national you must obtain a CNI from the FCO office in London or the local consulate
  • if you’re marrying in Italy you need to obtain a specific form, a Nulla Osta (an Italian CNI) from the nearest British consulate
  • if you’re marrying in France you may need a Certificate of Custom Law - consult the local Mairie for more info

If I get married abroad will my marriage be legal in the UK?

You should consult a lawyer to check as sometimes marriages conducted in other countries aren’t recognised in the UK.

Can I get a British marriage certificate if I marry abroad?

No, you will get a certificate of marriage from the country you marry in.

Can I register an overseas marriage in the UK when I return?

No, but you can have your marriage documents deposited with the General Register Office (GRO).  

This isn’t compulsory, but it means your marriage certificate is kept by the GRO as an official record and you will be able to easily get copies of it in the future.  

We can deposit marriage documents for you.

Please note: you’ll need to get your documents translated if they’re not in English.

Can my foreign partner get a British passport once we’re married?

If you and your partner settle in the UK after marriage your partner can apply for naturalisation after three years. The Nationality Directorate of the UK Border Agency can provide more information on this

Certificates of No Impediment and Nulla Ostas

Information on obtaining Certificates of No Impediment and Nulla Ostas for marriages and civil partnerships abroad, including special arrangements for marrying an Irish national

Getting married in France?

Information how to apply for a certificate of custom law (certificat de coutume) which you may need to get married or hold a civil partnership in France.

Depositing marriage and civil partnership documents in the UK

This page tells you how to deposit marriage or civil partnership certificates from overseas with the General Register Office

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