The Notice Period For Marriage is Changing

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From March 2nd 2015, the notice period for marriage is changing. 

We've put together a quick fire guide to explain the what, the when and the why. It's not a massive change, but it does affect everyone.

Understanding the legal side to wedding planning is both necessary and bum-numbingly dull. But it is important. It's more important than seating plans, guest lists and chocolate fountains, and it's definitely more important that cataloging your iTunes library into first dance mix-tapes.

What's happening?

Currently, couples have to give at least 14 days notice before the wedding. This is as true of civil ceremonies as it is marriage or civil partnership. You can't just turn up and get married on the day. 

From March 2nd 2015, this is being extended to 28 days notice. Again, this applies to civil and religious ceremonies as well as civil partnerships. 

Okay, what if I'm getting married BEFORE March 2nd 2015?

It's still 14 days

Right, and AFTER March 2nd?

28 days.

Are there any special considerations to these notice periods?

There is a couple. One would be if you either you or your partner was terminally ill.

Why is the notice period changing?

Marriage is something of a weak spot when it comes to an effective immigration policy. The Home Office believes that in the UK somewhere between 4,000 and 10,000 sham marriages take place each year.  A longer notice period will enable a closer inspection of couples and will, hopefully, reduce the number of people using the cover of marriage to obtain the right to live and work in the UK.

If the Home Office have reason to believe that you are taking part in a sham marriage, then they can extend the notice period again. Couples then face a 70 day notice period. 

The important thing to remember is that this isn't really anything to do with marriage. It's more about shoring up the vulnrabilities in the immigration system. Marriage is just the vehicle that some people use to try and cheat the system.

Well, my partner is a foreign born UK citizen

That's fine. They aren't interested in checking up on UK citizens.

What if my partner is Dutch?

That's fine, too. As is any EU citizen.

What if my partner is a non-EEA citizen?

This is where it starts to get more complicatied. If your partner has either "limited or no immigration status", then the details will be passed to the Home Office. The notice period may then be extended to 70 days. 

70 days, really?

Yep, and if the Home Office thinks you're entering into a sham marriage then you will be unable to get married in the UK.

Where can I give notice?

There's a handy link right here

How do I give my notice?

You can find out here

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