Published: Wednesday, 24th Jun 2020

New guidelines have been introduced to tackle coronavirus (COVID-19). It means that the Register Office needs to introduce emergency measures to prioritise services.

Death registrations

Due to the coronavirus crisis, we have made some temporary changes to the way deaths are registered in Bolton.  These are in line with government guidance and have been designed to protect the public and council employees, while ensuring all those affected are treated with dignity and respect.

The registration of all deaths will now be carried out over the phone.  Until further notice, no face to face appointments to register a death will take place.

If you need to register a death, please call 01204 331185.  We will then book you a telephone appointment to register the death.  It is not currently possible to make a telephone appointment to register a death online.

If you need any help or advice, for example if your loved one’s death has been referred to the coroner, please again call the register office on 01204 331185.

We appreciate your patience and understanding at this difficult time.  Thank you for your understanding.

Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies

Ceremonies in the Albert Halls will begin on Saturday 4th July 2020, however due to the size of the room and in accordance to guidelines issued by the government a number of alterations have unfortunately had to be made to the ceremony. There will be no waiting facilities in the building and currently due to the local restrictions only the couple and a maximum of 4 guests may attend the ceremony (photographers/videographers will be included in this number) and appropriate social distancing must be adhered to. The wedding party will only be given access to the building at the allocated time. Please do not arrive early and unfortunately if you arrive late you will be required to re-book the ceremony.

The only ceremony available at this time is a standard ceremony, no enhancements will be available e.g. readings, music, being given away etc. 

Please note that due restrictions within the building, toilets will not be available for use by the wedding party.

We are in the process of contacting couples who have a ceremony booked with us in date order to discuss whether they still wish to go ahead, cancel or postpone.  If you have a booking, please be patient we will be in touch as soon as possible.

Ceremonies at approved premises will also open on Saturday 4th July 2020, however before Registrars attend any venue, we will need assurance from the venue that they have completed a risk assessment and that they are Covid secure.  We are currently contacting all venues to obtain this assurance.  We are in the process of contacting couples who have bookings with us to attend their ceremony in date order.  If you have a booking, please be patient - we will be in touch as soon as possible. Currently due to the local restrictions only the couple and a maximum of 4 guests may attend the ceremony.

Due to giving priority to those who have had to postpone their ceremony we will only be accepting new bookings from 1st October 2020.

We apologise for any upset this may cause and hope you understand the necessity in making this decision.

Notice of marriage and civil partnership appointments can now be booked. We will initially be taking appointments for those getting married or forming a civil partnership this year as these couples have been unable to give notice due to the coronavirus lockdown and now need to do so as a priority in order for their ceremonies to proceed. Appointments for those having their ceremonies in 2021 will be available from 1 October 2020.

British citizenship ceremonies

Citizenship Ceremonies will recommence on 7 August 2020. These will be held in the Queen Elizabeth II Suite. Currently the maximum number permitted in the ceremony are 8 people, therefore we cannot allow guests to attend. 

When you receive your letter from the Home Office asking you to book within 14 days, there is no need to contact us. We will send an invitation letter once we receive your certificate from the Home Office.

If you would like to have a private ceremony please email registrars@bolton.gov.uk and include your name, home office reference number and a daytime telephone number.  Please note there is a fee of £100 for private ceremonies.

You would normally be expected to book your ceremony within three months of being sent an invitation from the Home Office, but UKVI have temporarily extended this period to six months and will keep this under constant review.  No adverse decisions will be made on applications because of delays caused by coronavirus.

The ceremony

The ceremony takes approximately 30 minutes. Please bear this in mind when paying for car parking as once you are in the building you will not be able to leave until the ceremony has been completed.

You must bring your Home Office invitation letter and photographic ID i.e. passport or driving licence. Failure to do so will result in your ceremony being postponed.

What happens at the ceremony?

  • When you arrive at Bolton Town Hall please queue at the disabled entrance of the Albert Halls (signposted) and abide by social distancing rules. We will check with you prior to entering the building if you are suffering from any Covid-19 symptoms.
  • Our citizenship ceremony staff will call each citizen in one by one and they will check your documents.
  • You will then be asked to sanitise your hands and will be shown through to the Queen Elizabeth II suite for the ceremony (unfortunately due to health and safety restrictions chairs will not be provided).
  • The ceremony is conducted by the Superintendent Registrar who will formally welcome the new citizens on behalf of Bolton Council.
  • The applicants will then swear or affirm allegiance to the Queen and make a pledge of loyalty. Both swearing and affirming allegiance to the Queen has the same meaning. 
  • You will then be asked to collect your nationality certificate from the table. The nationality certificate can subsequently be used to support passport applications and to prove an individual is a British citizen.
  • Unfortunately, due to the restrictions in place due to coronavirus there will not be an opportunity for photographs.
  • At the end of the ceremony you will be asked to leave the building via the Albert Halls doors.

Please note that toilets within the Town Hall are not open for use.

Applications for certificates

We will continue to issue copy birth, death or marriage certificates.  To apply for a certificate you must apply online or telephone us - we are currently not offering this service face to face.

Please do not attend the office to obtain a certificate as we will be unable to process your request.