Legal Requirements for Marriage

Legal Requirements for Marriage in Sussex

Unless your ceremony is taking place in the Church of England or Church in Wales, it is a legal requirement that each of you formally ‘give notice’ of your intention to marry or enter into a civil partnership by going in person to the register office for the district in which you live.

You will need to take documents with you to prove your identity and eligibility.

When and where to give notice

Most notices are valid for one year so can be given up to 12 months before you marry or your civil partnership is registered.

We encourage you to give notice as soon as possible. Currently there must be 28 clear days between giving notice and the date of your marriage or partnership, unless you are subject to immigration control in which case it is 70 clear days.

You should call your local register office to make an appointment to give notice.

If you live in East Sussex you can give notice at whichever one of the register offices is more convenient for you – find contact details for register offices.

If you live in West Sussex you will need to book an appointment to give notice at a Registration Office.

Documents you need to produce when giving notice

It costs £35 per person to give notice, wherever you do it in the country, and you must each bring the following original or certified copies of documents with you:

  • an identity document – valid passport or valid driving licence or full birth certificate supported by other evidence of current name. If you bring a birth certificate and have been married or in a civil partnership before, please also bring your marriage or civil partnership certificate(s) to show the link between your birth name and current name.
  • evidence of your nationality – valid passport. If you do not have a passport, please contact one of our registration offices for further information.
  • proof of your address – bank statement or utility bill dated within the last three months. A UK Driving Licence is not proof of nationality or proof of address as it doesn’t have a date recorded.

You may also need to provide extra documents

  • if you’ve changed your name – original documents if either of you has changed your name by Deed Poll, Change of Name Deed or Statutory Declaration.
  • if either of you has been married or been through a civil partnership before – a court-stamped copy of the Decree Absolute or Decree of Dissolution. If the divorce or dissolution was in a foreign country you will need to bring the original court document with an English translation if necessary. If you are using a different name to the one in the divorce or dissolution, then you must provide documentary evidence to link the names. Please contact one of our offices for advice on acceptable documents.
  • if either of you is a widow, widower or surviving civil partner – a certified copy of your deceased partner’s death certificate. If you are not named on the death certificate either as informant or widow, widower, or surviving civil partner, you also need to bring your marriage/civil partnership certificate.
  • if either of you is under 18 – we will need proof that you have permission to marry or form a civil partnership. This will be given by your parents, guardians or the courts. You will need to talk to the superintendent registrar, who will be able to tell you more about this.

Source:  East Sussex County Council

Source:  West Sussex County Council