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Wentbridge                                             Darrington                            Kirk Smeaton

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Marriage by Common Licence

Marriage in Church by licence is more unusual now than prior to 2009 because of the change in marriage rules. Now it is common only for those who live in the parish for a two week period prior to applying for their licence.


Qualification by residence.

Apart from common licences granted because of membership of the church electoral roll, all licenses from the Bishop’s Solicitor or Registrar require that you be christened, over 18 and that you live in the parish for 2 weeks in the three months before your wedding. The Bishop usually requires that your parents approve of your marriage. There is no requirement to go to Church regularly for 6 months and apply to be on the Church electoral roll. It should be your normal place of residence and you must live there as your normal place of residence for 2 weeks - 15 days, 14 nights consecutively - starting no sooner than 15 weeks before your wedding. NB. The licence is valid for three months only.


Qualification through the Church electoral roll

This license from the Bishop’s Solicitor or Registrar requires that you be christened, British citizens, over 18 and that you are on the Church electoral roll. This particular route is different from above, and it does not require that you live in the parish for 2 weeks at some point before your wedding.

The Bishop usually requires that your parents approve of your marriage if you are under 18. The licence is valid for three months only. To be on the Church electoral roll you must attend regularly for a 6 month period, then apply to be on the Church roll by filling in an application form, available online. You can then arrange to see the diocesan registrar, to sign an affidavit to say that you are on the Church roll, and to pay the fee. She will then issue with a ‘common licence’, which is valid for three months from the date of issue. This allows you to be married by Common Licence, and no banns have to be read.


Applications for marriage by Common Licence should be made to the Registry -  please see below.


You can ask for permission from the Bishop to get married by Licence (Common Licence) in any place where you live for 2 weeks, and as long as you are over 18 or have your parents’ permission, and as long as you are baptized, it is usually granted if you were baptised (or christened, it means the same). Only one partner need apply for the licence, but if their fiancee is a foreign national it is normal to take a photocopy of their passport. This is similar to the affidavit that you will need to complete and sign in the presence of the registrar.


N.B. From March 2nd 2015 non-EEA nationals cannot be married by Common Licence. (Unless they get married by a Common Licence which is issued before March 2nd - these licences are valid for three months). The details of the diocesan registrar are as in this booklet.


What is the EEA?  (A) EU countries plus (B) EEA countries.  The EU countries are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK. The European Economic Area (EEA) The EEA includes EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. It allows them to be part of the EU’s single market. Switzerland is neither an EU or EEA member but is part of the single market - this means Swiss nationals have the same rights to live and work in the UK as other EEA nationals.