Are you getting married? – Notice period extended

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Every couple in England and Wales who is getting married is required to give notice of their intention to marry. This is usually done at the parties’ local registry office, where the couple is asked a number of questions about each other so that the registrar is satisfied the couple is entitled to be married. The Notices are displayed in the registry office for 15 days to allow any member of the public the time to raise an objection or a query to the proposed marriage.

Now the Government has made this notice period longer, with couples being required to give notice of the intention to marry at least 28 days before the wedding date. The new arrangements are part of the Government’s Immigration Act, which became law last year and aims to give the Home Office more time to investigate whether couples are trying to flout the immigration system.

Registrars were already required to report suspected sham marriages to the Home Office, but these new powers now build upon those requirements. Where a sham is suspected, couples may be subject to an extended notice period of 70 days to allow investigators extra time to consider whether the proposed marriage is a sham.

The Immigration and Security Minister, James Brokenshire, said: “Marriage can no longer be seen as a ‘fast track option’ for those seeking to abuse marriage to cheat their way into the UK.”

Between April and December 2014, the Home Office carried out over 2,000 sham marriage operations resulting in over 1,200 arrests and more than 430 illegal immigrants have been removed from the UK as a result.

If you need advice, our friendly and experienced solicitors are on hand to help. Call the team on 01473 611211 or email

Amanda Crowe is a divorce solicitor at Barker Gotelee, Solicitors in Ipswich.

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