Marriage – Common Licence – Foreign Nationals

IMPORTANT NOTE – IMMIGRATION ACT 2014

MARRIAGE OF FOREIGN NATIONALS

  • With effect from 2 March 2015, foreign nationals from countries outside the European Economic Area are not able to marry in a Church of England ceremony after the publication of banns or under the authority of a Common Licence. Instead they need to apply either for a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate (this is the route which they should normally follow) or, where necessary (because they have no qualifying connection with the relevant parish church, or where they wish to marry in a building which is not licensed for marriages) a Special Licence from the Archbishop’s Faculty Office. The note at Immigration Act 2014 – Guidance Note gives more information about this change. A Special Licence is only appropriate to authorize marriages according to the rites of the Church of England, and is necessary where a couple does not have a legal right to be married in a particular parish church or where the building itself is not licensed for marriages, including school and college chapels, cathedrals, etc. A Special Licence is also necessary for Anglican marriages to take place in a hospital or hospice or at home, where there is urgent medical necessity and where no other preliminary is available. Otherwise the parties should proceed under the authority of a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate.
  • Applications for Common Licences made before 2 March 2015 are unaffected.
  • Where both parties to an intended marriage are UK  nationals, the marriage may proceed after the publication of banns or on the authority of a Common Licence, as at present, or on the authority of a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate or, where necessary, a Special Licence.
  • Where one or both parties are nationals of other countries in the European Economic Area, the parties should apply for a Common Licence as at present, or may proceed on the authority of a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate or, where necessary, a Special Licence.

If you have questions about the correct procedure under the new rules, please contact the Diocesan Registrar, Stuart Jones (telephone 01603 756501, email stuart.jones@dioceseofnorwich.org) for advice.