Marriage And Civil Partnerships

Please note: The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the entities or individuals whose names appear on the following lists. Inclusion on this list is in no way an endorsement by the Department or the U.S. government. Names are listed alphabetically, and the order in which they appear has no other significance. The information on the list is provided directly by the local service providers; the Department is not in a position to vouch for such information.

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

Laws regarding marriage of a foreign-national 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 28 days notice at a designated register office.  Part of the notice includes evidence of the marriage visa.

For full information on marriages and partnerships in the United Kingdom, please see the U.K. government website.   This website also contains information on religious marriages in England and Wales which have different requirements.

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.  U.S. 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 U.K. citizenship if marrying a U.K. 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.