Notification requirements for marriage
Anyone intending to get married in Ireland must give a minimum of 3 months’ notice 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 - see ‘Civil partners’ below).
Notification requirements for marriage during COVID-19
If you are getting married in Ireland (whether you are an Irish citizen or a foreign national), you must notify a Registrar at least 3 months before your wedding day.
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 gives you authorisation or permission to get married. You give it to the person who will be solemnising your marriage.
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.
A couple getting married are required to give notification of their intention to marry to a Registrar at least 3 months before the intended date of the marriage. You need to make a marriage notification appointment with the Registrar in order to give the notification, and both of you must attend. It is advisable to arrange the appointment well in advance. When you make the appointment with the Registrar, you will be informed what information and documents you need to bring with you.
The requirement to give 3 months’ notice does not apply to civil partners whose civil partnership was registered in Ireland (see 'Civil partners' below).
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.
Documentation you will need
Generally, you and your intended spouse will each be required to bring the original (or certified copy) and a colour photocopy of the following to you marriage notification appointment:
- Passport as identification
- Birth certificate – If your birth certificate was issued in a country outside the EU it may require 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 requires 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.
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. The non-refundable notification fee is €200.
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 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.
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.
What is a 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.
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.