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/ 30 January 2015

Immigration Act 2014 – changes to legal preliminaries to church marriage and Common Licences

The Immigration Act 2014 makes important changes to the Marriage Act 1949. From Monday 2 March 2015, it will be unlawful for the marriage of any person who is not a ‘relevant national’ to be solemnised in the Church of England after the publication of banns OR by a Common Licence.

Please read the attached carefully:

  1. A Note to all clergy from our Registrar, Paul Morris;
  2. Initial application form – as explained in that note;
  3. Guidance from the Church of England Legal Office.

I am sorry for the short notice prior to the new legislation coming into force on 2 March. All Diocesan Registrars have been put in a very difficult position due to the lack of firm information from the Government on these changes. We have still not yet been told what identity documents will and will not be acceptable to prove nationality. However, I did not feel we could further delay the issue of advice.

There may be a small “rush” of applications from non-EEA nationals for Common Licences prior to 2 March. However, from that point onwards it is likely that the number of Common Licences issued in the diocese will markedly decrease.

I do hope this material is helpful but as the Registrar has said in his note, do contact your Surrogate or the Registry if you have any questions. We will update the Diocesan website guidance as soon as possible and as we have more information.


Immigration Act note to clergy 2015.pdfDownload
Immigration Act initial application form.docDownload
Immigration Act - Guidance from CofE Legal Office.pdfDownload

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About Richard Chartres

The Rt Revd Richard Chartres KCVO was the 132nd Bishop of London from November 1995 until March 2017.

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