How to Get Married in the UK if the Spouse is Not British? My Experience as a Filipina Wife and the UK Marriage Visa Tips + Step by Step Legal Process
Behind that red carpet leading to the altar, that beautiful white dress, that soulful music, those tears, cheers, and distinct laughters from the guests as well as the 10,000-megawatt smile from the bride and the groom’s face are *drum roll please* tons of paperwork.
Getting married isn’t a piece of cake, especially in the Philippines. Sure it looks fancy and glamorous but let’s be realistic here: it takes months to prepare which include seminars and piles of paperwork to make it legal! Not to mention organizing the event itself which could cost you sleepless nights and a lot of $$$.
Some of you might dream of having a Destination Wedding ala Anne Curtis-Heusaff. For those who wants this moment to be celebrated in a foreign country, here’s a golden tip for you: Getting married in the UK is relatively easy (compared to the Philippines)! That is in terms of the process and not necessarily the finances. Trust me-- I’ve been there, done that. I’m a Filipina and I got married to my British fiance in the UK.
For purposes of this post, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about getting married in the UK as well as the step-by-step guide you have to follow. (Hint: It’s very easy)
Who can get married in the UK?
You can get married or form a civil partnership in the UK if you’re:
16 or over (Permission from parents or guardians is required if below 18 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland);
Free to marry or form a civil partnership (single, divorced or widowed); and
Are not closely related with your future spouse.
Be it noted that only same-sex couples can form a Civil Partnership.
What is the visa that I need to get married in the UK?
If your partner is from the UK or settled in the UK, you have to:
DO YOU RECOMMEND USING THE SERVICES OF A TOUR/VISA AGENCY?
Yes, I highly recommend availing the services of iVisa, if you feel more comfortable having your application submitted by a professional organisation. They have been providing expedited processing and guidance services for any e-visa applications since 2013 so they have a lot of experience. Here are some advantages of getting your visa from them:
They have 24/7 support in many languages.
Application forms are all available on one page;
You can get your Tourist eVisa, Medical eVisa, and Business eVisa within 24 hours if you apply for the Rush Service;
They provide a full refund under their approval guarantee in case your visa gets rejected!
Go to the iVisa website to discover how they can help you with your visa application.
What are the requirements that I need to provide?
You need to have a proof of your name, date of birth, nationality, and address to the designated register office.
For Filipinos, this will be:
Your Birth Certificate from the Philippines Statistic Authority (PSA);
Certificate of No Marriage from the PSA;
Your Valid Passport together with your Visa;
An ID Photo (Depending on the Register Office where you will apply); and
Letter from your landlord in the UK confirming you live there and including your landlord’s name, address and their signature dated within the last 7 days.
(As for me, they only asked for my passport. Really!!)
I am divorced/widowed. Do I need to provide additional documents?
Yes. If you are divorced, you need a Decree of Absolute Dissolution of Marriage or Final Order.. If you are widowed, then you need to provide the Death Certificate of your former partner.
Do I need to have the documents authenticated by the DFA?
It is not required but doing so could be helpful.
How many months should the CENOMAR be obtained prior to the wedding?
Again, there is no exact details provided. Usually, it shouldn’t be more than 3 months old.
Is same-sex marriage allowed in the UK?
Yes. You can either:
Form a civil partnership in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland;
Get married in England, Scotland and Wales; or
Convert your civil partnership into a marriage in England, Scotland and Wales.
How much is the fee to register the marriage?
This is £46 if you have the ceremony at a register office, but it could cost more at other venues. The marriage or civil partnership certificate costs £4 on the day of the event or £10 after.
STEP 1: Give notice to your Local Register Office.
Bring all the requirements asked of you as stated above in the Local Register Office where you have lived for the past 7 days. You have to give them details of where you intend to get married or form a civil partnership. Once submitted, they will post a notice for 28 full days. You need to pay £35 for this but it could cost more for foreigners.
STEP 2: Have a religious ceremony or civil ceremony at least 28 days after giving notice. This period may be extended depending on your circumstances or if they deem it proper to investigate if your relationship is genuine.
A Religious Ceremony can be held at any church, chapel, or other religious building. This shall be made after a Civil Ceremony.
A Civil Ceremony or Civil Partnership is held at a register office, any venue approved by the local council, eg a stately home or hotel, or a religious premises where permission has been given by the organisation and the premises approved by the local authority. You need to have at least 2 witnesses. Check out all approved civil marriage and civil partnership venues here.
I’m done here! Yes, you read that right, that’s only two steps right there. So easy, right?? If you’re only up for the Civil Ceremony, getting married in the UK could really save you a lot of stress. But if you’re planning to have a Religious Ceremony, then may I remind you that this doesn’t include the wedding preparations yet. It could be expensive but I think all Destination Weddings are.
I’m ending this post by sharing our favorite wedding venue in England for a lot of reasons but something about it just makes it special: this is where me and Jonathan tied the knot. Good luck on all those wedding preps, mga labs! ♡