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Marriage and Civil Partnerships

Marriage and Civil Partnerhips

U.S. citizens coming to the United Kingdom to marry British citizens or persons settled here, or to register as Civil Partners, even if they do not plan to reside in the UK, must obtain a visa in advance.  When both members of a couple are visitors, they both must obtain visas in advance.  See the UKVI website for visa information

Laws regarding marriage foreign-national marriage require that if one member of the couple is from outside the European Union or Switzerland, both must appear in person to give at least 16 days notice at a designated register office.  After 2 March 2015, the notice requirement is 29 days.  Part of the notice includes evidence of your marriage visa. 

For full information on marriages and partnerships in the United Kingdom, you must carefully review information on the UK Home Office website.  

Religious marriages in England and Wales have different requirements.  See the Home Office website for full information.  

Can same-sex partners marry in the UK?

Same-sex couples may marry or enter into civil partnerships in England, Wales, and Scotland.  Full rules on marriage in Scotland can be found here.

Can a marriage take place anywhere? 

Marriages can be performed at any location, provided the venue is licensed, approved, and registered for the purpose of marriage by the local government authority.  Licensed venues may include hotels, public houses, and stately homes.  For a fee, the Registrar from the district where you reside may perform the marriage in another district’s licensed venue.  Fees vary according to the time and date you wish the marriage to take place.  For a list of venues and fees, contact the nearest Registrar. 

Are there age restrictions for marriages in the UK?

Yes. The minimum age in England and Wales is 18, or 16 with parental consent.  In Scotland, the minimum age is 16.  However, the minimum age for a marriage visa is 18 years.

Is a marriage performed in the United Kingdom valid in the United States? 

In general, regardless of the nationality or religion of the persons married, marriages legally performed in the United Kingdom are also legally valid in the United States.

What is the role of the Embassy? 

The Embassy has no role in the process.  American diplomatic and consular officers may not perform marriages or serve as witnesses.  Marriages may not take place at the Embassy.

Is citizenship affected by marriage? 

No.  A U.S. citizen marrying a foreign national does not lose U.S. citizenship, nor does he/she automatically acquire British citizenship if marrying a British citizen.  Similarly, a foreign national does NOT acquire U.S citizenship simply by marriage to an U.S. citizen.

After marriage, a U.S. citizen may amend his/her surname to reflect his/her married name by presenting his/her U.S. passport and a certified copy of the marriage certificate to a consular official at the Embassy.  

A foreign national spouse who intends to reside in the United States must obtain a U.S. immigrant visa.