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

Your wedding and Covid-19
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
Your children are welcome
Reading of banns
Additional readings
Other music for your wedding
Wedding ceremony words
Wedding blessings
Preparing for marriage
Wedding vows
Filming a wedding
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
The cost of church weddings
Legal requirements