Marriage outside the UK

If you live in Northern Ireland and want to get married outside the UK , you should check with the registration service of the country in which you want to get married for marriage requirements and any documents you need.

Getting married abroad

If you’re unsure about the rules for the country where you want to get married, you can use the handy ‘getting married abroad’ tool on the GOV.UK website.

You can select the country where you want to marry and give information about yourself and your fiancé to find out:

  • what documents you need and how to get them
  • if you need legal advice
  • the registration service or relevant agency you'll need to contact

You can also use the tool to find out about registering a civil partnership abroad.

Proof you are free to marry

If you need to provide a document showing that you are free to marry, you should complete a 'Marriage notice application form - GRO 446' in order to apply for a 'Certificate of legal capacity to marry' (Certificate of non-impediment).

If you are having a religious marriage abroad you do not need to complete Section E of the form.

When the marriage notice form has been submitted, the certificate of 'Legal capacity to marry' will be issued after at least 28 days have passed.

You can find the marriage notice application form and more information on giving notice at the link below.

If you’ve lived before in Northern Ireland but not currently

If you have ever lived in Northern Ireland but are not currently living here and need to produce a document showing you are free to marry, you should complete a marriage index search application form.

The fee for this search is £7 for each five-year period (or part of it), starting with the year in which the applicant became 16 years of age (the minimum legal age to marry under UK legislation).

You can download the form below.

You can send the form by post or bring it to the General Register Office in person. If you are paying for the search by cheque or postal order you should make it payable to ‘The Registrar General’.

The office is open Monday to Friday from 9.30 am to 4.00 pm (excluding public, bank and all Northern Ireland government holidays). 

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