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Monday, 10 November 2014


The new Immigration Act 2014 makes changes to notice requirements. The requirement to give notice of an impending marriage or civil partnership will be increased from 15 days to 28 days by the Act. This applies to everyone in England and Wales, regardless of their nationality (saka kana nema British acho) . Notice must be given to a Registrar by both parties in person, and they will be required to provide specified evidence of nationality, rather than the current position whereby the Registrar /registration authority just needs to be satisfied of nationality. Without the correct documents, it may be difficult to get married or forming a civil partnership in the UK.

The registrar will now be empowered by new investigation powers to notify the Home Secretary if one party to the proposed marriage/civil partnership is a non-EEA national. Once the Secretary of State has been notified, she has 28 days to decide whether or not to mount an investigation into the proposed union. If she does not investigate further, she will notify the Registrar and the couple who may then proceed to marry / form a civil partnership.


However if the Secretary of State has “reasonable grounds for suspecting that the proposed marriage or civil partnership is a sham” then she can mount an investigation, which extends the notice period to 70 days. There may be home visits and / or interviews. The kinds of things that may trigger suspicion are if one of the parties:

1. Is of a nationality at high risk of involvement in a sham;
2. Has a visa of a category which is linked to sham cases;
3. Has no immigration status or leave which is due to expire shortly;
4. Has previously sponsored another partner to enter or remain in the UK.

Another important change is the end of the exemption from civil preliminaries for non-EEA nationals who are marrying in the Church of England.

Registrars will also now have a duty to report suspicions of a possible sham marriage.

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