While visiting our friends in the UK on vacations and would like to get married there, but neither of us are citizens of the UK.

Does the UK allow same sex marriage for two foreigners on vacation there? I found information that citizens allowed for same-sex marriage in the UK, but it is unclear if it possible to get married there in case we are both non-citizens (citizens for some other country, not the UK)?

How long should it take to do that (if there any waiting period between applying for marriage licenses): you have to have lived in the registration district for min 7 days before giving notice and you must give min 15 days notice before the marriage.

The list of countries which will recognize get married same-sex couples in the UK abroad is here.

It'll cost £83 to apply.

How to contact the UK government to find out all the details?

The same question regarding the US is here.

  • 4
    This question appears to be off topic because it is about same sex marriage. Commented Aug 31, 2014 at 20:49
  • 6
    @MeNoTalk marriage is not off topic if you plan to travel somewhere so you can get married there - eg travel.stackexchange.com/questions/17493/… - but this question isn't clear whether that's what's being asked or not. Commented Aug 31, 2014 at 20:57
  • 1
    @Kate I know what's on topic and what's not, at the time I post my comment it was not clear, it seemed like a legal question to me. Commented Aug 31, 2014 at 20:59
  • @Kate Gregory: Thanks for replying. The link you provided I studied previously. That question not clear weather the questioning person have citizen-ship or he is a foreigner. So my question is different.
    – Damien Boo
    Commented Aug 31, 2014 at 21:03
  • For anyone reading this, please be aware that divorce may be an issue: law.stackexchange.com/q/26719/9236
    – SJuan76
    Commented May 31, 2018 at 19:23

1 Answer 1


I believe you should be able to form a civil partnership or marriage in the UK as foreigners, regardless of it being same-sex or not.

From 29 March 2014, same sex couples can get married in England and Wales. You can only get a civil partnership as a same sex couple.

There're some differences being made between marriage and civil partnership, but as far as they're concerning intra-UK regulations they should not concern you. Acceptance of civil partnerships in other countries with the same status as a marriage may or may not be the case and depends on the respective country's laws - more on this towards the end of this answer. A marriage should be more widely accepted, but I've not come across any information on that.

Information on going to the UK to get married is found on the Marriage Visitor Visa page of the UK government. Also their information page on Marriage and Civil Partnerships says the following:

Foreign nationals

You and your partner must go to a ‘designated’ register office if either of you aren’t from the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, and are subject to immigration control.

The process is different in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

You’ll need to apply for one of the following if you aren’t already in the UK:

  • a visa to come here as a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner if your partner is a British citizen or settled in the UK and you intend to remain in the UK
  • an EEA family permit if you’re from outside the EEA and the person you’re marrying is from the EEA or Switzerland but not the UK
  • a Marriage Visitor visa if you and your partner are from outside the EEA or Switzerland, you want to come to the UK to get married or register a civil partnership, and you and your partner intend to leave the country within 6 months

You must get married or register your civil partnership within 1 year, or 3 months if you’re in Scotland.

The third bullet point there should be your case, but do visit the two linked pages and find all the detailed information there.

Recognition abroad: Recognition of UK civil partnerships in other countries depends on the local laws and no general statement can be made. Overall though it seems in Europe a civil partnership would be accepted as a marriage or (if existing) something equivalent to a civil marriage in most cases - see here for some info. In the US this seems to depend on state law - again the mentioned site has some info.

The following is a list of countries that accept UK civil partnerships in some form or the other - anyone finding more info, feel free to add to the list: (statements enclosed in "" are embassy statements according to the sources)


  • Austria: "Austrian Law offers a total legal equality for your official civil partnership (same sex marriage)." src
  • Belgium: "Until legal proof of the contrary, a British civil partnership is regarded as the equivalent of the Belgian civil union/marriage" src
  • Czech Republic: "In the Czech Republic exists "registrated partnership", which is a recognition of same-sex couples relationships. Foreign equivalents of registrated partnership are recognized." src
  • Denmark: "If you have a Civil Partnership Certificate your partnership will be recognized in Denmark." src
  • Finland: "Thank you for contacting the Embassy of Finland. Your British civil partnership will be valid in Finland; you will, however, need to be able to produce the original, signed and stamped copy of your civil partnership certificate when you register at your relevant local Register Office (Maistraatti)." src
  • Frace recognises the British CP and gives them tax rights and social rights - not necessarily the same rights as PACSed couples src
  • Germany "British civil partnerships are recognized by German authorities and institutions as an equivalent of the German 'Eingetragene Lebenspartnerschaft'." src
  • Hungary "Civil partnerships contracted according to UK law are recognised in Hungary on the same basis as the registered life partnership recently introduced in Hungary." src
  • Netherlands: "A civil partnership concluded on the basis of the provisions of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 is recognized by the Dutch authorities." src
  • Norway: "British civil partnership is equivalent of the Norwegian civil union/marriage." src
  • Sweden: "If you register your civil partnership in Sweden it will be is regarded as a Swedish marriage." src
  • Switzerland "Civil partnership that took place in the UK is recognised in Switzerland. If one of the two partners is Swiss, the partnership has to be registered with the Swiss authorities" src


  • Massachusetts recognises a UK CP as a “marriage” src
  • New Hampshire recognises a UK CP as a “marriage” src

Unclear cases/partial recognition:

  • Luxembourg: embassy statement: "I would like to inform you that the British civil partnership is not regarded as the equivalent of the civil union in Luxembourg. Several enquiries on the matter have highlighted the fact that whereas the British civil partnership concerns same sex partners and is equivalent to a marriage, the Luxembourg civil union concerns same sex as well as different sex partnerships and is therefore not equivalent to marriage. A civil partner under British Law will therefore not have the same rights, for example for immigration, as a married spouse under Luxembourg law." src

Cases where civil partnerships are not recognised:

  • Australia: Victoria doesn't recognise the CP but allows to enter a registered partnership despite being in a CP (may or may not be legal from a British point of view) src

Another list is found here.

  • "You can only get a civil partnership as a same sex couple." Does that mean a man and a woman cannot enter a civil partnership? Or does it mean that civil partnership is all that is available to same sex couples?
    – gnasher729
    Commented Aug 31, 2014 at 21:54
  • 3
    @gnasher729 on rereading it seems same-sex couples have both options, while straight couples cannot enter a civil partnership - see my edit.
    – greyshade
    Commented Aug 31, 2014 at 21:58
  • It'll cost £83 to apply
    – Damien Boo
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 17:40
  • @greyshade As far as at the moment we are not quite sure that two same-sex foreigners on vacation able to get marry in the UK ("I believe you should be able to form"...greyshade). How to contact the UK government to ask "official statement"? on subject?
    – Damien Boo
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 17:49
  • 2
    @DamienBoo regarding getting confirmation of it being possible to marry in the UK: try to email the UK embassy in your country - they're the best source of an 'official statement' I would say. regarding the waiting period - read carefully in the second link in my answer; it say you have to have lived in the registration district for min 7 days before giving notice and you must give min 16 days notice before the marriage.. but do check with the embassy to check is these do apply under the visiting marriage visa etc.
    – greyshade
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 20:32

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