How do I arrange a marriage or a civil partnership abroad?
Arranging a marriage or a civil partnership in the UK can be stressful enough without the further complication of unfamiliar law and coping with a foreign language. To minimise worry you should always conduct as much research as possible both in the country where you intend to marry or form your civil partnership and at home.The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)
website should be your first port of call and guides you through all the stages of arranging a ceremony abroad. It is up to you to do the work. The laws of each country are all very different and not every country recognises civil partnerships, therefore the responsibility lies with you to make sure you have understood the legal requirements of the country you wish to marry or form your civil partnership in. You must also ensure you have applied for and supplied the correct documentation to the relevant authorities, all within the stated timescales.Certificates of No Impediment
For the majority of people wishing to marry or form a civil partnership abroad, the document that is most requested by the foreign authority as proof that a couple are both legally free to enter into marriage or civil partnership is a Certificate of No Impediment (CNI). The process to obtain it is very similar to Giving Notice and similar documentation is shown to the issuing authority. In many cases it can be issued by the Superintendent Registrar in the District where you live (England and Wales only) but this does depend on individual circumstances.
If you live in Blackpool, are planning to marry or form a civil partnership abroad and have been told by the foreign authority that you need a CNI, contact the Register Office using the methods on the right.Some general advice
If you are unsure whether a marriage or civil partnership in a foreign country will be legally recognised in the UK, you should consult a solicitor.
Leave plenty of time to organise a marriage or civil partnership abroad as you have the added responsibility of obtaining the correct documentation in the UK and perhaps supplying it in person to a foreign authority.
If you are purchasing a wedding or civil partnership package from a travel agent, make sure you know exactly what tasks the operator is responsible for and what legal arrangements or documentation you need to organise.
See also the FAQ: How do I register a birth, marriage, civil partnership or death that took place abroad?