You may need to show an original or certified copy of your marriage certificate when applying for residency or citizenship abroad or looking to adopt.
In some cases, your certificate will need to be notarised or apostilled. This is especially true of faith-based marriage certificates, as organisations need to ensure that the marriage was legally binding.
We will help you with every step of the legalisation process to ensure your certificate is accepted overseas.
Is a Marriage Certificate Issued by a Place of Worship Legally Recognised?
In the UK, weddings that take place in a registered religious institution and follow certain requirements are legally recognised. This is provided they are officiated by an authorised religious leader, such as the local rabbi, imam or Anglican vicar.
The wedding will only be lawful if it follows the key civil requirements. You must give notice of your intent to marry and an authorised religious leader must officiate the wedding. Your certificate will only be valid if the institution has followed the legal processes.
If your wedding does not fulfil the legal requirements, you will need to have a civil ceremony too. For example, if you are married in a protestant Christian church that is not in the Church of England, you will need to have a separate ceremony officiated by a registrar. The certificate issued at this ceremony will be a legal document.
Your marriage certificate may need to be notarised before you submit it to organisations and individuals abroad. This applies to religious and civil marriage certificates.
How Do You Obtain a Religious Marriage Certificate?
The UK government has legal requirements specific to each place of worship.
- To marry in an Anglican church, you will often need to attend for six months (if you do not already), and you must have the banns of marriage read at a service.
- For a Jewish wedding, you will need to arrange a civil marriage with the synagogue’s registrar.
- An Islamic wedding must take place in a registered mosque. Some mosques are not registered for marriage, so it is important to check.
You will usually receive a signed marriage schedule at the end of your wedding ceremony. You (or the organisation) will need to submit this to your local registry office within 21 days.
The registry office will then produce a legal record of your marriage. You can purchase as many copies as you like. The cost is currently £11 per certificate.
Notary and Apostille for Marriage Certificates Issued by Places of Worship
If intending to use your Marriage Certificate outside of the UK, it will likely need to be apostilled, and in some cases notarised first too.
The FCDO will apostille certain religious marriage certificates directly – You will need to submit your original certificate issued on official watermarked paper, signed with an original wet ink signature of the Rector, Vicar, Curate, Authorised Person for Marriages, Secretary for Marriages, Registering officer for the Society of Friends, etc.
For Islamic and Greek Orthodox marriage certificates – the FCDO will require them to be notarised first. The FCDO will accept a notarised photocopy of the marriage certificate.
The FCDO advises that if you are submitting an original marriage certificate that has been signed by a Minister of Religion or an Authorised Person, you should provide the contact details of either the signatory or where the ceremony was held, so that the FCDO can contact them to verify their signature.
Process to Notarise a Marriage Certificate
- Order a certified copy of your marriage certificate from the General Register Office, or request a copy from the religious institution that issued your certificate, if you do not have one spare. You should always keep at least one in your personal files.
- Contact us below today to discuss the service you require and we will get back to you with a fixed quote.
- Send your certificate by secure mail to our London Victoria office. Alternatively, visit us in person and collect your notarised certificate on the same day.
We are available to talk through any concerns you have about the legal aspects of your religious wedding. We will ensure all your documents are legally compliant and will be accepted internationally.
How Long Does it Take?
For notarisation, we offer a same-day service as standard. For apostille, our standard service time is 3-5 days, but you can opt for our Premium service for delivery on the same or next day.
Entrust us with the verification of your marriage certificate for a professional and efficient service. Contact us using the form below or call us on 020 7630 1777.