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When to give notice to marry or form a civil partnership

You can book your appointment to give notice online. Read this page to see when you need to do this.

Give notice to marry or form a civil partnership is now open for appointments

You can make an appointment to give notice by using our online booking form or call us on 020 8690 2128.

We understand that many people have been waiting a long time to register their notice of intention and we appreciate the patience of all those affected.

There is currently a high demand for notice appointments.

Therefore please be considerate when booking a notice appointment and only book an appointment date if your ceremony is due to take place within the next 3-6 months.

You must give at least 28 days’ notice before your ceremony (this can be extended 70 days by the Home Office if you are subject to immigration control).

If you feel you have exceptional circumstances requiring an urgent ceremony where one of those entering into the marriage or civil partnership is seriously ill and not expected to recover, or is to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery, please email us at register.office@lewisham.gov.uk and provide evidence of this.

Marriage and civil partnership law requires an in-person, face-to-face interview with a registrar to give notice, and so notice cannot be given by proxy, in writing, by video call, online or by any other method.

If you or your partner are from outside the UK

From 1 July 2021, the Home Office Referral Scheme will affect 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 plus Switzerland.

  • EEA citizens who do not have settled or pre-settled status will be in the scope of the referral scheme. This means there will be an additional Home Office statutory referral fee of £24. Civil preliminaries require a minimum notice period of 29 days and this may be extended to a maximum of 71 days if the Home Office wish to investigate the proposed marriage or civil partnership.
  • All register offices in England and Wales will become Designated Register Offices. This means that for the purpose of giving notice, a couple who are within the remit of the referral scheme will be required to give notice together in the district where one or both of them reside.
  • If you are a non-EEA citizen and you hold (pre-)settled status and you are marrying or forming a civil partnership with another party who is not in the scope of the Home Office Referral Scheme, you will be subject to a maximum notice waiting period of 29 days.
  • During your appointment, you must show evidence of your settled or pre-settled status. The six-digit 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. 

When should you give notice

  • You can give notice up to 12 months before your ceremony date.
  • The minimum period to give notice for marriage and civil partnerships is 28 days.
  • Couples, where either one or both are subject to immigration control, may have their notice period extended up to 70 days.

We recommend that you complete your booking at least three months before your ceremony.

If you and your partner have lived in the borough for more than nine days, you can book an appointment to attend together, or you can book separately. Couples, where either one or both are subject to immigration control, must attend the appointment together.

Civil ceremonies

If you wish to have a civil ceremony, you can do so at the Register Office or one of our venues approved for marriages and civil partnerships. Before you give notice, you must know when and where the ceremony will take place.

Before your ceremony you will need to:

  • give notice at the register office in the borough where you live
  • if you or your partner live in another borough, you will need to give notice in the registration district where you live
  • couples, where either one or both are subject to immigration control, will be required to give notice together at a designated register office.

Religious ceremonies

If you would like a religious ceremony in the Church of England or Church of Wales, or a place of worship, you must contact the vicar of the church or the official performing the marriage.

Before your ceremony you will need to:

  • contact the Register Office to confirm that the venue is registered for marriage ceremonies
  • speak to the vicar or authorised official performing the ceremony for approval before booking the ceremony
  • couples where either one or both are subject to immigration control must give notice to marry at a designated register office.

You do not need to give notice to the Register Office if you are British citizens or from the EEA.

Documents you need to provide

To give notice to marry or form a civil partnership, you will need to provide evidence of the following:

  • name, date of birth, nationality
  • proof of your current address
  • documents showing that you are legally free to marry if you were previously married or in a civil partnership
  • change of name documents (if known by any other name)
  • a passport style photograph (if subject to immigration control)
  • a parental consent form (if you are under 18 years of age).

All documents provided must be originals. Scanned or photocopied documents cannot be accepted. Any documents submitted in a foreign language will need to be translated, and we will also need to see the original documents.

Fees and conditions

To book an appointment to give notice to marry or form a civil partnership, you will need to pay a booking fee for each person. The booking fee will become a notice fee upon attendance of your appointment. Booking fees are non-refundable.

You can change or cancel an appointment up to two working days before the appointment date. Changes or cancellations after this period will result in losing your booking fee.

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