Notification requirements for marriage
Since the commencement of Part 6 of the Civil Registration Act 2004 in November 2007, anyone notifying a Registrar of their intention to get married in Ireland must give 3 months' notification in person to the Registrar at a civil registration service. This applies to all marriages, whether solemnised by a Registrar or according to religious or secular rites and ceremonies, unless you intend marrying your civil partner and your civil partnership was registered in Ireland. The Registrar does not have to be the Registrar for the district where you live or where you intend getting married.
You need to make an appointment with the Registrar in order to give the notification, and both of you must attend. In order to ensure the notification is given at least 3 months before the date you intend getting married on, it is advisable to arrange the appointment well in advance.
A couple in a civil partnership who wish to marry should contact the Registrar who will guide them through the process.
If you plan to get married by civil ceremony and a different Registrar will be solemnising the marriage, you must also contact the Registrar's Office for the district you intend getting married in.
A couple getting married are required to give notification in person of their intention to marry to a Registrar at least 3 months before the intended date of the marriage. The requirement to give a 3-month notice does not apply to civil partners whose civil partnership was registered in Ireland – see 'Civil partners' below.
The notification can be given to any Registrar. When you make the appointment with the Registrar, you will be informed what information and documents you need to bring with you.
If a document is not written in English or Irish, a certified English translation from an independent, verifiable, translation company must be provided.
Generally, you and your intended spouse will each be required to bring the original (or certified copy) and a colour photocopy of the following:
- Passport as identification
- Long-form birth certificate – if not issued by the Civil Registration Service in Ireland it must bear an apostille stamp from the relevant embassy (if possible) or a letter from that embassy attesting the authenticity of the certificate should be supplied. This does not apply to birth certificates issued by Denmark, Italy, France, Belgium, Estonia, Romania or Latvia.
- Final divorce decrees in respect of all previous divorces if divorced – if it was a foreign divorce contact the Registrar for instruction
- Dissolution decrees in respect of all previous civil partnerships if you have a civil partnership dissolution
- Final decree of nullity and a letter from the relevant court confirming that no appeal was lodged, if you were in a civil partnership or marriage that was annulled by an Irish court
- Deceased spouse's death certificate and your civil marriage certificate if either of you is widowed
- Deceased civil partner's death certificate and your civil partnership certificate if either of you is widowed
- Documentary evidence of immigration status if not a citizen of Ireland or an EU member state
(If either of you is not an Irish citizen, you may be asked to provide a Letter or Certificate of Freedom to Marry or other documentary confirmation of your civil status from your country of origin – contact the Registrar to check if this will be required.)
You will also have to provide information about the intended marriage such as:
- Whether it will be a civil, secular or religious ceremony
- The intended date and location of the marriage
- Details of the proposed solemniser of the marriage
- The names and dates of birth of the 2 proposed witnesses
- A PPS number is required for all parties serving notice of intention to marry, who have or will have a current or a future address within the State
You will need to download and complete the Data Capture Form (pdf), and bring it with you.
You will also have to pay a notification fee.
If you, your intended spouse, the witnesses or the solemniser has a limited knowledge of English, you must provide an interpreter. The interpreter must be from an independent, verifiable translation company and be present for both the notification and the marriage.
When you meet the Registrar you will be required to sign, in the Registrar's presence, a declaration that you know of no lawful impediment to your proposed marriage.
The Registrar will issue an acknowlegement to both of you and the proposed solemniser of the marriage confirming the date of receipt of notification. This does not give you permission to marry.
Under the Civil Registration Act 2004 (as amended by the Civil Registration (Amendment) Act 2014), the Registrar has the right to investigate and decide whether an intended marriage would be a marriage of convenience for immigration purposes. A registrar who thinks that an intended marriage would constitute a marriage of convenience will refer the matter to a Superintendent Registrar. If, following investigation, the Superintendent Registrar decides that based on evidence, your proposed marriage constitutes a marriage of convenience then you will not be issued with a Marriage Registration Form and the Department of Justice and Equality will be advised. You can appeal this refusal to the Circuit Family Court.
If all the information required has been supplied and there is no impediment to the marriage, the Registrar will issue you with a Marriage Registration Form (see below).
You can find more information on notification requirements on the Health Service Executive (HSE) website.
If your civil partnership ceremony took place in the State and you now wish to marry your civil partner, you must, by appointment, attend the Registrar at least 5 days (or as determined by the Registrar) before the intended date of the ceremony to sign a declaration in their presence that there is no impediment to the marriage.
If your civil partnership ceremony took place abroad you will be required to give the Registrar 3 months’ notice of your intention to marry and complete the standard preliminaries for a valid marriage.
If either of you are living abroad or are unable to attend a Registration Office due to serious illness, you should contact a Registrar to get permission to make your 3-month notification by post. If permission is granted, the Registrar will send you a form which you must complete and return.
You will still have to make arrangements to meet the Registrar at least 5 days before you get married in order sign the declaration form. This is required before a Marriage Registration Form can be issued.
Court Exemption Order
In certain special circumstances, for example, in the case of very serious illness, you may be able to get a Court Exemption Order allowing the marriage to proceed without the 3-month notification. You should contact either the Circuit Family Court or the High Court in the area in which either of you lives for details on how to proceed.
This is an informal procedure. You may apply in person (without hiring a solicitor). There is no court charge for an application for a Court Exemption Order. However, if you hire a solicitor to represent you, you will have to pay them. The court will require you to show:
- That there are good reasons for your application
- That the granting of such an Exemption Order is in the best interests of the parties to the intended marriage.
If you are granted a Court Exemption Order, you still have to make arrangements to meet the Registrar at least 5 days before you get married in order to make the declaration. This is required before a Marriage Registration Form can be issued.
Marriage Registration Form
A Marriage Registration Form (MRF) is like a marriage licence. It gives authorisation for a couple to marry and you require one in order to get married in Ireland. Providing there is no impediment to the marriage, the Registrar will issue you with an MRF. If you bring all the documentation and information required to the meeting with the Registrar, the Registrar may be able to issue the MRF immediately.
If the marriage does not take place within 6 months of the date of marriage given on the MRF, a new MRF will be required if you still intend to marry. You will be required to repeat the notification process.
The standard notification fee is €200. This is non-refundable. There is a reduced notification fee of €50 for same-sex couples who are already in a civil partnership that is registered in Ireland and now wish to marry.
How to apply
Three months' notification can be given to any Registrar but must be given in person. Civil partners who do not have to give 3 months' notification must attend the Registrar at least 5 days (or as determined by the Registrar) before the intended date of the ceremony.