Changes to Marriage & Civil Partnership procedures in Scotland

From March 2015, major changes to the process for giving notice of marriage or civil partnership have come into effect. All couples now have to complete a longer notice period of 28 days before they will be able to marry or form a civil partnership in Scotland. For couples where one or both of the parties is a non-EEA national with limited or no immigration status, the Home Office may extend the notice period to 70 days to investigate whether the case is a sham.

Registrars are now  required to refer all marriage and civil partnership notices to the Home Office if one or both of the parties is a non-EEA national who does not provide specified evidence that they have (a) settled status in the UK (Indefinite Leave to Enter or Remain), (b) an EU law right of permanent residence in the UK, (c) a marriage or civil partnership visa, or (d) exemption from immigration control (e.g. with the right of abode in the UK). Registrars are required to tell a couple where their proposed marriage or civil partnership is to be referred to the Home Office under the scheme and to explain to them the implications.

The Home Office may decide to extend the 28 day notice period to 70 days where a sham marriage or civil partnership is suspected. The Home Office will inform both parties and the registrar in writing of the decision as to whether, if the registrar is otherwise content that they can do so, the couple can proceed with their marriage or civil partnership after 28 days or whether their notice period has been extended to 70 days.

If your notice period is extended to 70 days, you will be required to comply with a Home Office investigation. If you do not comply with the investigation, you will be unable to marry or enter into a civil partnership on the basis of that notice.

Parties to a marriage or civil partnership who are not British, Swiss or EEA nationals must complete a Home Office Declaration of Immigration Status form which should accompany the marriage notice form. Registrars will not accept notice without the completed Declaration form : http://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/files//registration/nrs-immigration-declaration-pro-forma-v7.pdf