Notification requirements for marriage

What is notification of marriage?

Anyone planning to get married in Ireland must give a minimum of 3 months’ notice to the Registrar at a civil registration service. This is the law in Ireland and it applies to all civil, religious and secular marriages. This is sometimes referred to as notification of your intention to marry.

If everything is in order, the Registrar will give you a Marriage Registration Form (MRF). The MRF is like a marriage licence. It gives you authorisation or permission to get married.

How to give your notice of your intention to marry

You must give notification of your intention to marry to a Registrar at least 3 months before the intended date of the marriage.

You need to book a marriage notification appointment with the Registrar in a civil registration service in order to give the notification, and both of you must attend. You should arrange the appointment well in advance.

When you make the appointment with the Registrar, you will be told what information and documents to bring with you.

The Registrar does not have to be the Registrar for the district where you live or where you intend getting married. 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.

The requirement to give 3 months’ notice does not apply to civil partners whose civil partnership was registered in Ireland (see 'Civil partners' below).

Documentation you will need

Before you go to your marriage notification appointment, you and your spouse must gather the relevant documentation and fees, including:

  • Personal documents, such as birth certificates
  • Information about your upcoming marriage and witnesses
  • Data Capture Form and fees

Personal documents

Generally, you and your intended spouse will each need to bring the original (or certified copy) and a colour photocopy of your:

  • Passport as identification
  • Birth certificate – If your birth certificate was issued in a country outside the EU it may need an apostille or legalisation to certify that it is authentic. Embassies of Ireland abroad can legalise certain documents that were created abroad so that they are acceptable for use in Ireland. Check with your local civil registration service to find out exactly what is required. Since 16 February 2019, if your birth certificate was not issued in Ireland but in another EU member state, it no longer needs an apostille or authentication.
  • 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.

Information about your upcoming marriage and witnesses

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

Data Capture Form and fees

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. The non-refundable notification fee is €200. 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.

At the Registrar’s office

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 acknowledgement 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.

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. You will need this to get married and to be able to register your marriage.

If you have limited English

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 of intention to marry and the marriage itself.

What is a Marriage Registration Form?

Couples require a Marriage Registration Form (MRF) to get married in Ireland. It is like a marriage licence as it gives authorisation for a couple to marry . As long as there is no impediment (barrier) to the marriage, the Registrar will give you an MRF. You must then give the MRF to the person who will be solemnising your marriage. The MRF is also needed to register your marriage after you get married so it is an important document.

If you bring all the required documentation (see ‘Documentation you will need’ above) to your marriage notification appointment 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 need to repeat the notification process.

Find more information on notification requirements on the Health Service Executive (HSE) website.

Signing the MRF

You should give the MRF to whomever will be solemnising your marriage before the marriage ceremony.

Immediately after the marriage ceremony, the MRF should be signed by you and your spouse, the 2 witnesses, and the person solemnising the marriage. This signed document is needed to register your marriage.

Civil partners

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.

Postal notification if you are not able to attend in person

If either of you are living abroad or are unable to attend a civil 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.

Notification requirements for marriage during COVID-19

During COVID-19, you should contact your local civil registration service for a postal marriage notification form. Once you have completed the form, you can return it to your local civil registration service by post or by email. They will let you know that they have received it. You do not need to attend the civil registration service office in person.

When normal service resumes, you will need to contact the civil registration service to make a marriage notification appointment with the Registrar. At this appointment (which you must attend in person), you will be asked to show your documents as listed below. You will also need to sign a declaration stating that you are free to marry, that is, there is no legal reason why the marriage cannot happen, and pay the notification fee of €200.

If everything is in order, the Registrar will give you a marriage registration form (MRF). The MRF is like a marriage licence. It gives you authorisation or permission to get married. You give it to the person who will be solemnising your marriage. The MRF is also needed to register your marriage after you get married, so it is an important document.

Read more about current restrictions on weddings.

Postponing your wedding

If you have already started your 3-month notice period but have had to postpone your wedding, your MRF is valid for 6 months after your original wedding date.

If your rescheduled wedding date is within this 6-month period, you can get a new MRF issued at no extra cost. To do this, you should contact the local civil registration service where you originally served notice of your intention to marry.

If your rescheduled wedding date is after this 6-month period, you will need to contact the office where you originally served notice and give them your new date of marriage. They will let you know when to attend their office in person to sign the declaration that you are free to marry. You will then be issued with a new MRF at no extra cost.

You must inform the civil registration service (where you originally served your notice) of your new date of marriage at least 3 months in advance.

Refusal to issue a Marriage Registration Form

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 will be advised. You can appeal this refusal to the Circuit Family Court.

Where to apply

You can find a list of civil registration offices on the HSE website. You can book a notification appointment with a Registrar over the phone, or online at crsappointments.ie. Contact details for your local Registrar are also available from your Local Health Office.

Note: The online booking system at crsappointments.ie is currently not available due to the HSE cyber attack.

Page edited: 3 August 2021