Coronavirus (COVID-19) update and advice

The Register Office has had to introduce emergency measures to prioritise services at this time.

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Important information

Please note the changes implemented to the Government IT system used to register births, deaths, marriage and civil partnerships has introduced system instability. This means that your appointment may take longer than usual or the registrar may need to complete a manual registration. Unfortunately in some cases we may be unable to issue a certificate at the time of the registration. You may also have to wait longer than usual for an appointment due to appointments having to be extended to cope with the IT instability.

We are sorry for any inconvenience or distress that this may cause. The General Register Office is currently unable to provide a timescale for when the system will be restored to a reliable and stable state.

Current arrangments until further notice

From the 16th August 2021, the number of guests allowed in the QE II Ceremony Room will return to 50. In light of guidance from the government and public health, guests are politely requested to wear face coverings during the ceremony and at all times whilst in the building. 

In order to reduce the risk of infection and ensure the safety of all those attending, the windows in the QEII room will be opened throughout the ceremony. Please note that this may however lead to some increased noise intrusion from the Town Hall square.

To get married you'll need to give notice. This is a legal document which details:

  • the two people getting married or registering a civil partnership
  • the venue where the ceremony will take place

How do I give notice?

Book an appointment

Alternatively you can call us to book on 01204 331185.

Both parties must attend an appointment, although you can attend separately if this is more convenient.

Also you must have lived in the Bolton Council area for a minimum of 8 consecutive days where notice is to be given.

Notice cannot be given on your behalf by your spouse or a friend.

If you don’t live in Bolton, but wish to get married or register a civil partnership in Bolton, you must give notice to the local authority for the area you live in instead.

If you are under 18 you should contact us in advance of your notice regarding consents to the marriage or civil partnership.

What do I need?

Original Proof of your name, age, address and nationality. Photocopies are not accepted.

If you use a birth certificate rather than a valid passport as ID, you will also need to provide another form of ID such as a photo driving / provisional licence or a medical card. If you were born after 1983 we will also need to see a copy of your mother's birth certificate as proof of nationality.

 

Changes for those subject to immigration control

Immigration laws changed on 1st July 2021 to reflect the changes brought about following the EU Exit. Legislative updates regarding immigration will affect the process of taking notices and civil partnerships.

From 1st July 2021 all register offices in England and Wales will become a designated office - this means that where one or both parties is subject to an immigration control, a notice of marriage or civil partnership will need to be given together in a district where one or both parties reside. Those persons who may be subject to immigration control are classed as non-relevant nationals.

A relevant national is:
A British Citizen, an Irish Citizen, a person with EU Settled Status, Pre EU-Settled Status or EU Pending Settled Status where a person has applied for EU Settled Status before 30th June 2021 and has a Certificate of Application to prove this.

If you do not fall into one of the categories above, you must have the relevant documentation to prove your eligibility to marry. Failure to provide this documentation, or if you do not have the relevant status to marry will mean you may be referred to the Home Office for further investigation.

How much notice is required?

You cannot give a notice of marriage or civil partnership more than 12 months before the date of the ceremony. A marriage or civil partnership cannot take place until 28 full days after you have given your notice. There is now a referral and investigation scheme in place, whereby from 1st July 2021 onwards, all non-relevant nationals without settled status, a marriage or civil partnership visa, or if you are unable to provide evidence that you have the appropriate immigration status your case will be referred to the Home Office Immigration for further investigation.

Those within the scope of the referral scheme may have the waiting period extended from 28 days to 70 days if their case is still being considered.

Couples wishing to marry in the Church of England or Church in Wales, where one or both are non-relevant nationals will be required to give their notice of marriage together at the register office in the district where one or both parties reside.

 

Introduction of the Marriage Schedule System

The Marriages, Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Act 2019

The Act will modernise how marriages are registered for the first time since 1837, through issue of a marriage schedule system and registration in an electronic register. It will move away from the current paper register creating a more secure system for keeping marriage records, that is also more efficient and far simpler to administer and amend, if necessary, in the future.

The electronic register will also allow for the names of parents of the couple (mother / father / parent) to be included in the marriage entry and on marriage certificates, instead of only their fathers’ names as is currently the case.

This will be implemented from 4 May 2021.

What will change?

Ceremonies at Our Venues and Approved Marriage and Civil Partnership Venues

  • Couples will not be invited to sign a marriage register but will be invited to sign a marriage schedule which is an A4 document.
  • Couples will have the option to include up to 4x parents in the schedule and subsequently their marriage certificate i.e. Mother, Father, Stepmother and Stepfather.
  • Couples will not receive marriage certificates on the day of the marriage these will be processed in a specified timescale by the Registration Office in business hours for collecting/posting in line with customer choice.

Marriages in Religious Buildings (not Church of England)

  • From the date of implementation, if they have already collected their Certificates for Marriage (blue paperwork) couples will need to contact the office on 01204 331185 in order to make arrangements for the marriage schedule to be issued to them.
  • On the day of the ceremony, couples will not be invited to sign a marriage register but will be invited to sign a marriage schedule which is an A4 document.
  • Couples will have the option to include up to 4 x parents in the schedule and subsequently their marriage certificate i.e. Mother, Father, Stepmother and Stepfather.
  • Couples will not receive marriage certificates on the day of the marriage.
  • Couples are expected to return the signed schedule to the Register Office in the District where the marriage took place within 21 days. On return they will need to apply for a certificate by telephoning 01204 331185. These will be processed in a specified timescale by the Registration Office.

Church of England Marriages

  • On the day of the ceremony, couples will not be invited to sign a marriage register but will be invited to sign a marriage document which is an A4 document.
  • Couples will have the option to include up to 4x parents in the schedule and subsequently their marriage certificate i.e. Mother, Father, Stepmother and Stepfather.
  • Couples will not receive marriage certificates on the day of the marriage.◦Couples are expected to return the signed schedule to the Register Office in the District where the marriage took place within 21 days. On return they will need to apply for a certificate by telephoning 01204 331185. These will be processed in a specified timescale by the Registration Office.

Marriage of British Subjects Facilities Acts (BSFA)

There will no longer be any provision to give notice to marry in countries that were formerly covered by these acts and therefore transitional arrangements will apply to couples who have already given notice to marry here or in one of the relevant countries after the implementation date.

For BSFA notices given in advance of the implementation date, for a marriage in one the counties covered by these acts an authority may still issue their certificate, subject to the usual caveats about marrying in these countries. On or after the implementation date, couples will need to speak to the High Commissions of the countries concerned for further advice