'Giving notice' is when you sign a legal document at your local register office stating that you intend to get married or enter into a civil partnership.
You can get married or enter into a civil partnership if you’re:
- 18 or over
- not already married or in a civil partnership
- not closely related
You'll need to decide whether you want to get married or enter into a civil partnership before giving notice.
You must give notice in person
By law, you must give notice in a face-to-face interview with a registrar.
You can’t give notice in writing, online, by video call or any other method.
When to give notice
We recommend you complete your booking at least three months before your ceremony.
The earliest you can give notice is one year before the date of your ceremony. The latest you can give notice is 28 days before the date of your ceremony.
Deciding between a marriage and a civil partnership
According to the law of this country, marriage is the voluntary union of two people for life to the exclusion of all others.
Key features of a marriage
- the contract is made by saying declaratory and contracting words
- a ceremony is required. This can be a civil or a religious ceremony
- the marriage is registered by signing a schedule and is recorded in an electronic register
- marriage certificates include the name of the parents of each of the parties
- marriage is ended by divorce, by obtaining a decree absolute
A civil partnership is a written contract formed by declaration between two people.
Key features of a civil partnership
- the contract is made by signing the civil partnership schedule
- no words are required to be spoken
- civil partners can choose to have a ceremony after signing the document - this ceremony can be religious or civil
- the civil partnership is recorded in an electronic register
- civil partnership certificates include the names of the parents of each of the parties
- civil partnerships are ended by a dissolution order
Deciding between a marriage and a civil partnership
We recommend you seek independent advice if you are not sure whether a marriage or a civil partnership best suits your wishes.
Documents you need to bring
All documents supplied must be originals. We can’t accept scanned or photocopied documents. If your documents are in a foreign language they’ll need to be translated. We will also need to see the original translation documents.
Find out what qualifies as an acceptable passport photo.
You’ll need to pay a booking fee for each of you.
The booking fee will become a notice fee when you attend your appointment. Booking fees are non-refundable.
You must pay by credit/debit card when you book your appointment online.
£35 per partner for:
- British and EEA nationals
- people with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
£47 per partner for:
- people from outside of the UK where one or both partners are subject to immigration control
- we can arrange for an interpreter to be present at the appointment if needed, but please note this may delay the registration - it might be quicker if you bring a friend or relative along to translate for you
Changing or cancelling an appointment
You can change or cancel an appointment up to two working days before the appointment date.
Changes or cancellations after this period will mean you lose your booking fee.
If you or your partner are from outside the UK
The Home Office Referral Scheme affects where and how EEA and non-EEA citizens give notice of intention to marry or enter civil partnership. (‘EEA’ refers to people from countries of the European Economic Area, and Switzerland).
If you’re an EEA citizen and you don’t have settled or pre-settled status, you’ll be affected by the referral scheme.
- you’ll need to pay a Home Office statutory referral fee of £94
- you'll need to give a minimum notice period of 28 days
- your minimum notice period of 28 days could be extended to a maximum of 70 days if the Home Office need to investigate the proposed marriage or civil partnership
- you'll need to give notice together in the district where one or both live
If you’re a non-EEA citizen and you hold settled status or pre-settled and you’re marrying or forming a civil partnership with someone who’s not affected by the referral scheme, you’ll have a maximum notice waiting period of 28 days.
When you’re at your appointment, you must show evidence of your settled or pre-settled status. The six-digit share code can be requested on the GOV.UK website.
If you are an EEA or non-EEA citizen and you are unable to confirm your settled or pre-settled status during your appointment, you will be subject to the Home Office Referral Scheme.
If you can't speak English
We can arrange for an interpreter to be present at the appointment if needed, but please note this may delay the registration.
It may be quicker if you bring a friend or relative along to translate for you.
If you're subject to immigration control
If you’re getting married or forming a civil partnership and you think you need an urgent ceremony – for example, because one of you is seriously ill and not expected to recover, or because one of you is going to have debilitating treatment or life changing surgery – please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with evidence of the exceptional circumstances.
You can have a civil ceremony at the register office or one of our approved venues for marriages and civil partnerships.
You must know where the ceremony will take place before you give notice.
If you’d like a Church of England or Church in Wales ceremony, or you want your ceremony in another place of worship, you will need to:
- contact the register office to confirm that the venue is registered for ceremonies
- speak to the vicar or authorised person performing the ceremony for approval before booking the ceremony
If one or both of you are subject to immigration control, you will need to give notice together in the registration district where at least one of you lives.
If you're planning a Church of England ceremony, you only need to give notice to the Register Office if you're subject to immigration control.
How to book
- you must have decided whether you want a marriage or a civil partnership
- you must know where the ceremony will take place before your appointment
- you must bring all the required evidence to your appointment – we can only accept original documents
- you must give at least 28 days notice before your ceremony (this can be extended to 70 days by the Home Office if you are subject to immigration control)
You can book an appointment to give notice using our online booking form. Please read our terms and conditions before you complete the form.
Terms and conditions of giving notice
- I / We understand that at least 28 full days’ notice must be given in order to marry or form a civil partnership - this may be extended to 70 days notice by the Home Office dependant on immigration status
- I / We have carefully read the information and guidance on the website and understand the requirements needed to give notice to marry or form a civil partnership
- I / We will bring all of the required supporting evidence to the appointment and understand only original documents can be accepted
- I / We must bring a passport style photograph to the appointment if I/we are foreign nationals subject to immigration control
- I / We understand that if I/we have a divorce certificate issued outside of the British Isles, I/we will need to pay £75.00 for each document to be referred to the General Register Office for verification
- I / We understand that a booking fee is payable for each partner and is non-refundable
- I / We understand that a booking fee will convert to a notice fee once your notice has been accepted
- I / We understand that if I/we wish to move or cancel the appointment, at least two full working days' notice must be given by email or telephone before the appointment date, and the appointment can only be moved once
- I / We understand that if I/we do not meet the requirements or bring the required documents to my appointment, I/we will need to pay for and schedule a second appointment
After you've booked
- you must come in on your appointment date
- a single appointment booked for one partner will last for half an hour
- a double appointment booking will last approximately an hour
- if you need to reschedule or cancel your appointment, please read our terms and conditions
Changing or cancelling an appointment
If you'd like to change or cancel an appointment, you must give at least two full working days notice before the appointment date. Any changes or cancellations made after this period will result in losing your booking fee.
If you need to cancel your booking and request a refund, email email@example.com with:
- your name
- contact details
- booking reference number (starting with CAS).
If you have any other problems rescheduling your appointment online, call us on 020 8690 2128 (Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm).
Ready to book?
Once logged in you will see our quick online booking system where you will:
- give some basic details
- choose your appointment date
- pay online for the appointment with a credit or debit card
Do you have an account?
To book an appointment to give notice or form a civil partnership you will need a Lewisham Council account.
If you don't have an account already, please create an account now and then come back here to book your appointment.
Payment and conditions
- booking fee is non-refundable
- you can pay by debit or credit card