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.
If you are a British citizen or an EU/EEA National, notice must be given to the Superintendent Registrar at your local register office.
If you and your partner live in different districts, you will need to attend separate register offices to give notice.
If you are a foreign national from outside of the EU/EEA, you must give notice at a designated office. The West Sussex designated office is in Crawley.
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 are marrying outside the district in which you live, in a church or registered building that is not your usual place of worship, 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 Arrange a notice appointment
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, Haywards Heath, 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.
Due to coronavirus (COVID-19), please wear a face covering to enter the building for your booked appointment. Do not book or attend an appointment if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. Appointments to give notice are currently only available in Chichester, Crawley and Horsham to enable social distancing.
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 9 days immediately before you give your notice.
After you have given your notice, there is a minimum waiting period of 28 days (or 70 days for foreign nationals) before your legal paperwork can be issued and your marriage or civil partnership can take place.
We recommend you give notice around 4 months before your marriage or civil partnership.
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 non-refundable fee is payable at the time of booking.
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 will be 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 UK passport
If you do not hold a passport the following alternatives are acceptable:
- 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. If your mother was not born in the UK contact us for advice. If the name you use now doesn’t match the name on your birth certificate, call us to find out what additional evidence is required. Phone the Ceremonies Team on: 01243 642122.
- Certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen granted by the Secretary of State.
EU/EAA citizen or a Swiss National
- EU/EEA or Swiss passport
- EU/EEA or Swiss identity card
Non-EU/EEA/Swiss foreign national
- Valid non-EEA passport or biometric immigration document issued by the Home Office or travel document issued in the UK at the discretion of the Secretary of State
- Valid 1951 Convention travel document
- Valid travel documents issued to a person under the 1952 Stateless Persons
- Passport photos for both parties, unless you have valid Indefinite Leave to Remain or Right of Abode
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 1 month before the appointment
- utility bill dated no more than 3 months before the appointment
- valid UK driving licence showing current address
- council tax bill dated no more than 1 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 which is 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
- 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, plus 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:
- the deed poll document or change of name declaration.
Consent (if under 18 years of age)
If you are under the age of 18, written consent is required from each parent who has parental responsibility. Please complete the consent form and bring it with you to your notice appointment.