Civil or religious ceremonies
New arrangements for giving notice of marriage or intention to form a civil partnership
Converting a Civil Partnership to a Marriage
You can have a civil marriage or civil partnership ceremony at any register office or approved venue throughout England and Wales. You can view our list of approved venues in Newcastle, or you can get a list of venues from the General Register Office for England and Wales. You must contact us to make an appointment to give notice of your intention to marry or form a civil partnership.
If you wish to marry in the Church of England, you should first speak to the minister at the church. If they are able to marry you, arrangements will be made for the Banns to be called three Sundays before the day of your ceremony, or for a common licence to be issued. The minister will register the marriage and there is usually no need to involve the Register Office.
For other types of church you should first speak to the minister at the church for their consent to the marriage. Normally, you must either live in the same district as the church or usually attend the church for worship. Generally, you still have to give a notice of intention to marry in the same way as for a civil marriage. Authority for the wedding to take place will be issued from the Register Office.
If you have been married abroad or in another religion, please contact us for advice about its validity in this country.
If you are subject to immigration control, please contact the Register Office.
If you want to have a civil partnership ceremony, this can be a registration, a ceremony or both. The registration of a civil partnership will give both parties similar legal rights, benefits and status as married couples.
Legal preliminaries to civil partnership
Both partners are required to give notice of intention to form a civil partnership in person at the register office for the area in which they normally reside. After 15 days, the civil partnership ceremony can take place. Non British and Non EEA Nationals please contact the Register Office.
You can have a civil partnership ceremony at any Register Office or Approved Venue throughout England and Wales. We have an up to date list of venues available, or you can get a list of venues from the General Register Office for England and Wales.
Please contact us to make an appointment to give a notice of intention to form a civil partnership.
Recent changes to legislation arising from the introduction of the Immigration Act (2014) are being introduced which will affect all couples giving notice of marriage or notice of intention to form a civil partnership regardless of nationality.
With effect from 2nd March 2015 notice of marriage or civil partnership must be given no later than 29 days before the ceremony rather than the current 16 days. This means that your certificate to marry or form a civil partnership will be issued 28 days after the day you give notice and you should take this into consideration when making your appointment to give notice and when arranging your ceremony.
In cases where one or both of you are subject to immigration control a referral may be made to the Home Office. You will not know if a referral will be made until you attend your notice appointment. If a referral is made to the Home Office the waiting period for the issue of your certificate to marry or form a civil partnership will be extended to 70 days.
The procedure for giving notice to marry or form a civil partnership under the new arrangements is outlined below:
Where one or both parties are a non EEA (European Economic Area) Citizen
Both of you are required to attend a Designated Register Office. Your local Designated Register Office is Newcastle upon Tyne.
Where one of both parties is either British or an EEA (European Economic Area) Citizen
Both of you must give notice individually at the local Register Office in the area that you live.
If you want to marry in The Church of England or The Church in Wales
If one or both of you is a non European Economic Area (EEA) Citizen you will both be subject to civil preliminaries and will be required to attend a Designated Register Office to give notice of intention to marry.
Making an appointment
If you wish to give notice at Newcastle Register Office you will need to make an appointment. Appointments are available Monday to Friday and you will be advised of the documents you need to bring with you at the time of booking.
A fee of £35 per person is payable at the time of booking your notice appointment. This can be paid over the phone using a credit or debit card or in cash at the Register Office. If you are referred to the Home Office the fee will rise to £47 per person and the additional £12 per person will be requested at your notice appointment. If the additional fee is not paid then the notice will not go ahead.
Please note that it is your responsibility to give the appropriate notice in order to gain permission to get married or form a civil partnership. If you do not do so then the marriage or civil partnership cannot take place.
When giving your notice of civil marriage or civil partnership you should bring:
- your birth certificate and passport as evidence of your age and identity; and
- a utility bill with your name and address on it to show that you are resident in our area.
It is often the case that you must bring more documentation with you and we will discuss this with you when you contact us. Please contact the Register Office for advice.
Both partners are required to give notice of intention to marry in person at the register office for the area in which they normally reside. After 15 days*, the civil partnership ceremony can take place. Non British and Non EEA Nationals please contact the Register Office.
*Please see 'Important changes in early 2015' above.
Why is this provision being offered?
Some of the couples who have formed a civil partnership may have chosen marriage had that option been available. This provision ensures that they will now have that option, although there will be no obligation to do so.
What about couples who enter a civil partnership from now on. Will they also have the chance to convert their relationship into a marriage at a later date if they want to?
When will conversion become available?
You will be able to convert your civil partnership into marriage from 10 December 2014.
Will the civil partnership need to be dissolved before the conversion?
Will the couple need to go through a marriage ceremony?
The conversion process will not be a marriage ceremony. It is changing an existing legal relationship rather than forming a new one.
Do the couple need to give formal notice of their intention to convert?
No. The conversion process is converting an already existing legal relationship. Couples currently in civil partnership may now approach register offices for advice on how they can convert to a marriage after 10 December 2014.
Although couples will not need to give formal notice of their intention to convert, they will need to be advised in advance of the evidence they will need to provide to enable the conversion to take place.
What does the certificate of conversion look like? Is it a marriage certificate?
The conversion will be registered in a register of conversion, not in the marriage register. The final form of the certificate that will be issued is being finalised but is expected to include the date of civil partnership and date of conversion into marriage so that one certificate can be produced to evidence the length of the couple’s relationship.
Can the conversion take place at any service point within a local authority?
No. The conversion can take place only at the Register Office for the registration district.
Why are there no plans to allow for conversions to take place at other venues e.g. a registered building or approved premises?
Conversions are a different legal process from marriage as the couple have already made a legally binding commitment to each other in front of witnesses. It has always been the intention that the conversion process will be straightforward and administrative and should not detract from the significance of the original civil partnership, making a transformation of the existing legal relationship rather than forming a new one. Following the conversion couples can have a non-statutory celebration or ceremony if they wish to in a venue of their choosing (although religious bodies would need the permission of their governing bodies to do this).
Is there any restriction on who can convert a civil partnership into a marriage?
Yes. Conversions will only be possible for couples who registered their civil partnership in England and Wales or overseas in a consulate or armed forces base (where civil partnerships are registered according to the law of England and Wales).
Will couples who are subject to immigration control for the formation of their civil partnership be required to attend at a designated register office for the conversion?
No. Couples have already fulfilled this requirement when they registered the civil partnership so they will be able to attend at any register office.
For more information or advice please contact:
The Register Office
St Mary's Place
Newcastle upon Tyne
Phone: 0191 278 7878 and ask for 'Registrars'