Common licences

Common licencesIt’s unusual to require a Common Licence but this page explains the basic information you’ll need if you’ve been advised that you need one.

You may need a Common Licence if:-

  • One or both of you are British but live abroad.
  • One or both of you live in the UK but your home is not in England or Wales.
  • Your home address is likely to change during the time when banns would normally be read out.
  • Your wedding date is too soon to allow enough time for banns to be read.

Here are some key facts about Common Licences:-

  • A Common Licence replaces the need for banns.
  • If you already have a legally-recognised connection to the church where you’re getting married, a Common Licence application is usually straightforward and the vicar will guide you on this.
  • If you don’t have one of the connections with your marrying church, and don’t have time before your wedding to create one, applying for a Special Licence or Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate may be suggested, depending on your circumstances.
  • The granting of a Common Licence is at the discretion of the church legal official to whom the application is made, so is not necessarily a guaranteed route to marrying in a particular church.
  • Part of the Common Licence application process requires you to swear an oath in person (in England) before a legal official. Couples who live abroad need to bear this in mind when planning a wedding in England.
  • Common Licences can only be granted for a marriage to take place in a particular church and are only valid for three months.
  • The fee for a Common Licence is around £200.

NB If one or both of you are a national of a country outside the European Economic Area, you will each need a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate to be able to marry. The only exception to this is if you have been granted a Special Licence by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Also in this section

We had our reception in church too
Our wedding was a gift from our guests
The rehearsal
Professional photography at a church wedding
Renewing your vows
Mixed faith marriages
When can I marry in church?
Your children are welcome
Reading of banns
Additional readings
Other music for your wedding
Information for same sex couples
Why marry in church?
More than a wedding venue
Booking a church
Meeting the vicar
Seven steps to a heavenly wedding
Wedding ceremony words
Wedding blessings
Preparing for marriage
Marriage after divorce
Wedding vows
Filming a wedding
Can Catholics marry in the Church of England?
If you live abroad
My partner believes in God but I’m not sure – can I have a church wedding?
I’m not christened – can I have a church wedding?
Information for foreign nationals
How do I find my parish church for reading banns?
Can a vicar from a different church take our wedding?
Special Licences
Do we need a marriage licence?
Superintendent Registrar Certificates
Bible readings for your wedding
Choices for your wedding ceremony
Hymns for your wedding
Countdown to your church wedding
Can I marry in church?
I don’t go to church – can I have a church wedding?
Finding a church
The cost of church weddings
Legal requirements