The principal law relating to marriage in Church of England parish churches is contained in The Marriage Act 1949. The Act provides that before a marriage can take place in a church, one of the following legal requirements must be fulfilled:

  1. The calling of Banns; or
  2. The issue of a Common Licence by the Bishop of the Diocese; or
  3. The issue of a Special Licence by the Archbishop of Canterbury; or
  4. The issue of a Superintendent Registrar’s Marriage Schedule

Foreign nationals and those with a foreign domicile

Since 1st July 2021 Common Licences and Banns are no longer available for any couples where either or both are non-UK/Irish nationals (unless they are EEA/Swiss nationals with Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status under the European Union Settlement Scheme). All such weddings must now follow the procedure for Superintendent Registrar’s Marriage Schedules issued from the relevant civil register office.

Provided EEA/Swiss nationals are resident in England or Wales and have the appropriate Settled/Pre-Settled Status, the marriage can proceed by Banns or Common Licence. (Note also that it is possible for other overseas nationals to have secured Pre-Settled or Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme [e.g. if they are a member of the family of an EEA national who holds Pre-Settled or Settled Status].)

Changes in the procedure for registering Marriages

Changes to the requirements for EEA Nationals to marry in the UK from 1st July 2021 are set out in two documents:

  1. Advice from the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury
  2. Home Office guidelines with Q and A

The above links will take you to each, and they will open in a new window or tab.