Special Licences

If you have a genuine connection with a particular church or chapel but you are unable to satisfy the legal requirements to marry there, you may apply to the Faculty Office for the Archbishop of Canterbury's Special Licence.

Please contact the Faculty Office at the address given below

The Clerk to the Faculty Office, 1 The Sanctuary,
Westminster, London SW1P 3JT

Telephone 0207 222 5381
(10.00 am to 4.00 pm on normal working days)

Marriage by Special Licence
from the Archbishop of Canterbury

An Archbishop's Licence can also be used for a "death bed" marriage and for other emergencies.

Special licences are given by the Archbishop under powers he and his predecessors have exercised since 1533. They are not issued automatically. If you think you need a special licence, you should enquire about its availability before making any other preparations for the wedding. This is something you should discuss with the priest who is to conduct the ceremony. If you wish to apply for a special licence or need further information, you should contact the Faculty Office

Archbishop's Requirements

One of you should be able to show a genuine and long-standing connection with the church or chapel in which you wish to marry.  This might be that you or members of your family have regularly worshipped there, or you have a family home in the parish.  Individual circumstances vary and these examples are not exhaustive.

Your families should approve of the marriage. The incumbent(s) or minister(s) in charge of the parish(es) where you would be entitled to marry by banns should have been consulted.The minister in charge of the church where the service is to be held must have consented. Special licences are not normally granted where one of the parties is divorced and has a former spouse still living.

Non-EEA nationals may be married by Special Licence, but it is the vicar’s preference to marry couples by civil preliminaries (SRCs) so that the legal requirements of the Border and Immigration authority can be met by them rather than them falling upon the vicar.