Information for foreign nationals

Information for foreign nationals
If you are from a country that is outside the European Economic Area*, having a Church of England wedding will involve some different paperwork and there will be a number of things your Vicar will want to talk to you about.

The law regarding marriages of nationals from outside the EEA changed in 2015. All such marriages which take place in England must have a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate (SRC) to go ahead. The only exception to this is if a Special Licence has already been granted.

To apply for an SRC, the bride and groom must have been resident for seven days within a registration district in England or Wales before applying.

After receiving your application, the Registrar enters the details in a book which is open to public inspection and also displays a notice for 28 days at the Register Office. If no legal reasons to delay or prevent the marriage going ahead are shown within that time, a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate can be issued.

For couples where one or both of the parties has limited immigration status or not here legally, the civil registrars will be required to refer their marriage notice to the Home Office for potential investigation. To allow time for the investigation, the Home Office may extend the notice period to 70 days. Those with indefinite leave to remain, or a marriage visitor or fiancé(e) visa will be exempt from this referral and investigation process.

For more information about applying for an SRC, visit the Government’s web page. Contact details for local (civil) register offices and designated register offices are given. Each register office will usually have its own website explaining the procedures in greater detail.

* EEA countries are the EU countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom), plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

Nationals of Switzerland and countries within the EEA, and who live in England, may be married by banns and will not usually require a licence. Read more about banns.

Also in this section

Your wedding and Covid-19
Mixed faith marriages
Information for same sex couples
Booking a church
Marriage after divorce
If you live abroad
Special Licences
Do we need a marriage licence?
Can I marry in church?
The cost of church weddings
Legal requirements