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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Overseas marriages and civil partnerships

You cannot register an overseas ceremony in the UK. However, you can apply to have your documents sent from the relevant country via the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and deposited with the General Register Office. You can then get copies of your marriage or civil partnership record more easily.

What you need to do

You can create a record of your overseas marriage or civil partnership at any time after the ceremony. You need to get the original documents, or certified copies, issued by the foreign authority – this is not an automatic process. Depositing your marriage or partnership documents with the General Register Office isn’t a legal requirement.

To create the record:

  • one of you must be British - only that person can apply to deposit the certificates
  • you must have been married in a foreign country, but not a Commonwealth country
  • you can deposit a civil partnership document from any country in the world (for example, foreign and Commonwealth countries and overseas territories)

If you are abroad, only the consul for the district where the marriage took place can send the documentation to the General Register Office.

If you are in the UK, you need to contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office about depositing your certificates.

The General Register Office (GRO) does not release original documents once deposited. You receive confirmation when the documents have been deposited with GRO. Overseas marriages and civil partnerships are noted in the public indexes.

Getting copies of your overseas marriage or civil partnership record

Once recorded, you can request certified copies of the documents, which saves you having to contact an overseas authority. These are black and white photocopies of the material GRO holds and are not presented in the form of a British-style certificate. Photocopies are issued under the seal of the General Register Office and are usually acceptable as official evidence of your marriage or civil partnership.

For further information on the legalisation of documents, contact Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

If you need any other information about marrying or forming a civil partnership abroad, contact the General Register Office.

Contact the General Register Office for England & Wales

Marriages and Civil Partnerships
General Register Office
Trafalgar Road

Tel: +44 (0) 300 123 1837 (Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 5.00 pm)
Fax: +44 (0) 151 471 4523

For events registered in Scotland or Northern Ireland

You can contact the relevant General Register Office using the links below.

Additional links

Order certificates online

Apply for birth, marriage and death certificates

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