Before you can marry or enter into a civil partnership, both you and your partner are legally required to give notice of your intention to marry at your local register office.
Even if your ceremony is to be held outside of West Sussex, you must give your notice of marriage or civil partnership in the district where you live.
If you and your partner live in different districts, you will need to attend separate register offices to give notice.
If you are marrying in a church or registered building that is not your usual place of worship and outside the district in which you live, you may need to set up residency in that area. Call the Ceremonies Team to discuss this on 01243 642122.
If you or your partner have been married/formed a civil partnership before and that marriage/civil partnership was dissolved in any country other than England or Wales, there will be a fee to pay for consideration of the foreign divorce documents.
2 Request a notice appointment
For the latest information, make sure you read our information about notice appointments during the pandemic.
If you live in West Sussex, you will need to arrange an appointment to give notice at a registration office. We have offices in Chichester, Crawley, Horsham and Worthing.
Book your ceremony venue before giving notice as your notice is specific to your chosen venue. Your appointment will last approximately 30 minutes per person.
A notice of marriage or civil partnership must be given in person and is valid for 12 months. You must have lived in that district for a minimum of nine days immediately before you give your notice.
After you have given your notice, there is a minimum waiting period of 28 days (for foreign nationals this period may be extended to 70 days) before your legal paperwork can be issued and your marriage or civil partnership can take place.
We recommend you give notice at least four months before your marriage or civil partnership.
Notice appointments cannot currently be booked online. To request an appointment, please complete our form.Request a notice appointment (external link)
Notice fee for marriage or civil partnership:
- £35.00-£47.00 per person
You will be advised of the fee applicable to you when you book your appointment.
The fee is non-refundable and needs to be paid when you book.
Consideration of foreign divorce documents:
- £50.00 or £75.00, depending on whether the divorce can be considered locally, or will need to be referred to the General Register Office and collected at the time of booking the notice appointment.
4 Documents to take when giving notice
As with all legal events, we will ask you to produce evidence of your full name, nationality, age and current address. Acceptable documents are listed below.
Original or certified copies of documents are required - photocopies are not acceptable.
Identity and nationality
- Valid passport.
- Certificate of registration as a British citizen.
- UK birth certificate - If you were born on or after 1 January 1983 you need to provide your full birth certificate, which contains your parent(s) details. Contact the Ceremonies Team for advice on: 01243 642122 if:
- your mother was not born in the UK
- the name you use now doesn’t match the name on your birth certificate.
- Valid biometric immigration document.
You will need proof of your immigration status, either in your travel document or by checking your immigration status online with GOV.UK, as the registrar will require this before continuing with your appointment.
If you obtain a status code from GOV.UK please bring this with you to your appointment.
Proof of address
We require evidence for each person of their place of residence. To establish this you must provide one of the following documents:
- Bank/building society statement or passbook dated no more than one month before the appointment
- Utility bill dated no more than three months before the appointment
- Valid UK driving licence showing current address
- Council tax bill dated no more than one year before the appointment
- Mortgage statement dated within 12 months of the appointment
- Current residential tenancy agreement
- A letter from the owner or proprietor (X) of the address of the person’s place of residence which:
- confirms it is the person’s place of residence
- states that X is the owner or proprietor
- states X’s name
- states X’s address
- is signed and dated by X within one month of the date on which notice of marriage is given.
If you are a foreign national who has just met the residency requirements, for the purpose of notice you will also need to provide your usual address. If it is different from the notice address, and if your usual address is abroad, we will also need a contact address in the UK.
Previous marriage or civil partnership
If you were previously married, we will need to see one of the following:
- Decree absolute or final order
- Dissolution certificate
- Death certificate.
If the name you are using now does not match the name on the decree absolute/dissolution/death certificate, we will require documentary evidence, such as the marriage certificate.
If the divorce/dissolution took place in a foreign country, we will need to see the original documents and a full English translation where necessary.
Some overseas divorces may have to be referred to the General Register Office to establish their authenticity, and extra time should be allowed for this.
Change of name
If you have changed your name other than by marriage we will need to see either the:
- deed poll document
- change of name declaration.
Consent (if under 18 years of age)
As from Monday 27 February 2023, you cannot get married if you’re under the age of 18.