Ask Kate: Residency laws for non-UK citizens

August 23, 2012

Kate Thompson has been offering heart-felt advice and sparklingly different wedding inspiration for ten years. She is married with two children, and often features in the national press. With her warm and caring nature and off-beat sense of humour, she'll answer every question with knowledgable insight and understanding to help and inspire or simply restore your peace of mind.


I am a British Citizen but I live in New Zealand. I am coming back to England next year with my kiwi fiance to get married in the Catholic Church where I was baptised. How do we go about the marriage licence? I know my fiance needs a special visa to get married in England but I’ve read some things about having to be in the country a certain amount of time before the ceremony?


Yes you will need to give notice of your intention to marry in the UK and both be resident in the place where you intend to marry for at least 7 days before you can give notice. Catholic weddings can be stricter still and it is likely that you may both be asked to attend church for at least two weeks before your marriage to prepare you, so it is important that you check with your priest on this to be sure. According to  “You both need to have lived in the area in which you wish to give notice for at least seven full days, immediately before giving notice. For example, if you arrive on Tuesday 1 March, the seven day period starts the following day, Wednesday 2 March, and is complete on Tuesday 8 March. You can then give notice on Wednesday 9 March. This applies to all including those travelling from overseas for a marriage or civil partnership in England and Wales. Exceptions to this are listed below, but only if neither party are subject to immigration control.”  You can read more at the link above but I do recommend discussing the details further with your priest too.

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