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Serve notice of marriage or civil partnership

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Serving notice involves signing a legal statement of your intention to marry or form a civil partnership with someone and confirming that you are free and willing to do so. This must be given by both parties to the proposed marriage or civil partnership. Notice must be given in person, by appointment, with a registrar and you will be required to bring the relevant documents. You cannot enter a marriage or civil partnership without doing this.

Notice must be given with the registration service in the district where the person has lived for at least 7 whole days prior to the appointment. If you live in different districts you will serve notice separately. You can find your local register office on GOV.UK.

You can serve notice of marriage or civil partnership up to 12 months in advance but no later than 29 days before the ceremony.

Notice of marriage or civil partnership is specific to the venue. You can serve notice before you have booked a ceremony but you must be certain of the venue where the marriage or civil partnership will happen. If you serve notice then change your venue you will need to serve notice again (the full fee would be payable again).

If you are planning a marriage in a church you must check with the them if you need to serve notice with your local Registration Service.

The statutory fee for British and Irish citizens and citizens with EU Settled/Pre-settled Status to serve notice is £35 each.

If one or both of you are citizens outside the UK, without EU Settled Status, you may be referred to immigration control. You would be required to serve notice together and if you live in different districts you can choose to attend either of your local Register Offices. If you do not have a visa for the purpose of marriage the notice period could be extended to 70 days, so you would need to serve notice in time to allow for this. The fee to serve notice would be £47 each.

If you are a British or Irish citizen or a citizen with EU Settled/Pre-settled Status and live in the BCP district, you can attend any of the offices in Bournemouth, Christchurch or Poole, and book a notice of marriage appointment with us online.

If one or both of you are citizens outside the UK, without EU Settled Status and live in the BCP district, please contact to discuss booking this appointment and what documents will be required.

It is very important that all the relevant documents are brought to the appointment. See below for the list of documents that are required for serving notice. If you do not bring the correct, relevant documents and need to reschedule the appointment, this will incur an admin fee of £35.

Serving notice outside of the BCP area

If you served notice with a registration service outside of the BCP area, we will have been notified. You would not expect to hear from us about this unless there was a discrepancy with the details on your notice.

Living abroad and marrying in the UK

If you live abroad and wish to marry or form a civil partnership in the UK you must serve residency before you can serve notice. Serving residency is living at an address in the district you intend to serve notice for 7 whole days prior to serving notice (note that the day you arrive in the district and the day of serving notice are not counted as full days). You must provide a letter from the homeowner, tenant or proprietor of where you stayed, confirming that you stayed there for at least 7 whole days prior to the appointment. You must also provide proof of the homeowner/tenant at their address (see below for acceptable documents for proof of address).

Check if you can marry or form a civil marriage on GOV.UK.

Documents for Serving Notice

Proof of nationality, age and name – one document

  • valid Passport
  • full British Birth Certificate. If you were born from 1st January 1983 you will also need your Mother’s full British birth certificate (or Father’s full British birth certificate if they were married at the time of your birth, along with your parents’ marriage certificate) PLUS proof of your current name, such as a driving licence. If you are using a parent’s birth certificate make sure their name on their birth certificate matches their name on your birth certificate (if there is no link you will need to bring evidence of their name change so that the document can be linked to you). Please also be aware that Military birth certificates are not accepted
  • Biometric Immigration Document, issued by the Home Office
  • valid Travel Document, issued by the Home Office
  • Naturalisation Certificate, issued by the Home Office

Proof of address – one document

  • utility bill, dated within the last 3 months prior to the appointment
  • bank or building society statement, dated within 1 month prior to the appointment
  • Council Tax bill or mortgage statement, dated within 1 year prior to the appointment
  • current residential tenancy agreement
  • current UK Driving Licence
  • letter from the homeowner, tenant or proprietor of the address which confirms how long the bride or groom has lived there. This must state their full name, address and confirming they are the owner of the property. This needs to be signed and dated within 1 month prior to the appointment

Proof of Previous Marriage or Civil Partnership – all relevant documents

  • Divorce or Dissolution Document – The original final document from the Court or authority (and a translation if necessary). Foreign divorces may require clearance by the General Register Office before you can be married. This may take up to a month. Any delays in clearing your documents that are beyond our control may result in the loss of some or all of any fees paid. All divorces outside of the British Isles will be subject to a fee up £75. Where available, you can produce a valid digital copy of your Decree Absolute provided by the Divorce Courts. This will be required as well as a printed copy
  • Death Certificate – The original document issued by the registering authority (with a translation if necessary)
  • previous Marriage Certificate if your names are now different to those shown on the above documents

Proof of Change of Name

Evidence of your change of name by Statutory Declaration or Deed Poll.

Share Code

If you are an EU citizen and have Settled or Pre-settled status, you will need to provide a share code and the original letter from the Home Office confirming the date that you applied (which must be on or before 30th June 2021). Please note the share codes are only valid for 30 days. Apply for your share code on GOV.UK.

Foreign Documents

If any documents are not in English you must also have a full translation.

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