How does a UK citizen get a Civil Letter of Freedom to Marry?

Discussion in 'Consumer Issues and Rights' started by Serenn, 5 Oct 2016.

  1. Serenn

    Serenn Frequent Poster

    Hi All,

    hot upon the heels of a successful notification appointment with an Irish registrar, my UK fiance needs to get "Evidence of Civil Status (Civil Letter of Freedom to Marry – Certificate de Coutume or Certificate of Nulla Osta)".

    We've trawled the UK government websites but can't find anything obvious there.

    Does anyone have any experience of obtaining this? Surely we're not the first Irish/UK couple to get married here in Ireland!

  2. Slim

    Slim Frequent Poster

    Contact The General Registrars Office, PO Box 2, Southport, Merseyside, PR8 2JD, England and ask for a search between the requisite dates. Call on 0044 300 123 1837.
  3. Serenn

    Serenn Frequent Poster

    We found a website that said you could get the British Embassy to issue you with a cert of no impediment (CNI).
    Himself rang the British Embassy in Dublin and they told him they don't issue those certs, so he got back on to the Registrar we saw yesterday.
    She told him that the declaration we signed yesterday (which included a statement that you knew of no impediment to the marriage) was sufficient! No further documentation required!
  4. britabroad

    britabroad Registered User

    So glad you posted - was beginning to think it was just something weird that we were facing!

    We're wanting to get married and were told the same:
    ''Evidence of Civil Status - In the case of non Irish nationals, a ''Letter of Freedom'' to marry or other documentary confirmation of civil status issued by a relevant authority of the person's country of origin is a requirement.''

    As I'm divorced from a particularly violent person, I'd initially rung in to the Irish registrar we're dealing with to see could I just get an affidavit or something to avoid a papertrail that might disclose where I am now. She was absolutely adamant: ''no letter of civil status, no marriage.''

    Spoke to the relevant UK registrars' office. They kept passing the phone up and up to their head person. This is how the conversation with her went:
    Her - ''We can't do you one because we've never heard of it, so it can't exist in UK. I've looked up online and all I can find for it is a Citizen's Information page in Ireland, so it's an Irish thing and you'll have to approach the Irish state for one.''
    Me - ''Isn't the whole point that they need to know I didn't get married again in UK before I moved here?''
    Her - ''Yes, but we won't do you one because they don't exist.''

    ...So I rang the GRO and told them where I was at. They were SLIGHTLY more helpful. She said:
    ''We don't offer them for Ireland because there was a 'British Subjects Facilities Act of 1915' and Ireland never signed up to it.''

    Turns out they can though, do this thing called a 'no trace marriage record' which is apparently a letter saying they've looked everywhere since whatever date and can't find a record of any marriages'. It's free and she thinks most registrars over here will accept it.

    Hope this helps!
  5. MrsOlga

    MrsOlga Registered User

    Hi All

    Did you get the document ? Sorry for interrupting but my partner needs to have it and we have a massive trouble finding the organisation which would give it to us.

    Thank you!
  6. britabroad

    britabroad Registered User

    So sorry to have taken so long to reply - we were offline due to a family bereavement.

    Yes, the 'no trace marriage record' did arrive. It took roughly 12 weeks to get delivered to me in the Irish Midlands, though my guess is they might expedite, or fax on an advanced copy or something if you're under a time crunch.

    ...One word of caution though - just in case you're having similar issues as me with the keeping your details concealed etc: I can't prove anything of course, but since it arrived here while I was away, it turns out that somehow, my ex has managed to get a hold of the address we live at now. - For me, that can't possibly be coincidence, though I suspect I'll never manage to prove it.

    It was the GRO provided the document. I rang them on +44 (0)300 123 1837. If I remember correctly, they're open 8-8 during the week and 9-something on Saturdays.

  7. Donnamarie

    Donnamarie Registered User

    Hi, hope someone can help me.

    Myself and My partner are getting married in Ireland in September. We have our appointment of notification to marry next week. We both live in the uk- he is from the uk and I am Irish. I have just heard about needing evidence for civil status to marry. Do we both need this and if so how do we get it?
    I am panicking now as I don't think we will get these documents in time for our appointment!
  8. britabroad

    britabroad Registered User

    From what we got told, what it boils down to is that you simply cannot get a letter of freedom to marry from the UK as they don't exist. ...the longer explanation we got from that was that there was a specific piece of legislation that both countries would've needed to sign up to around Easter 1916 - no surprise, neither country got round to it.

    What you can get is a ''no trace lookup'' from GRO. You can ask for it from their website or over the 'phone M-Sat. Can't remember the hours on Sat, but Mon-Fri it's 08.00-20.00. It typically takes 3 weeks to get one, or you can pay extra to get it sent overnight. It comes out as a letter with a red official stamp on it, saying that they have looked between the date of x and y - basically any time you told them - that could be since your 18th birthday if you never married, or since your decree absolute if you were divorced. It goes on to confirm that there is no record of any/other marriage, which is as near as you can get to the letter of freedom in UK.

    Try not to worry. If it helps, so far we've found that on the Irish side, with the exception of one lady who's been really good, a lot of the Irish side, particularly the helplines etc have been no help at all and just don't want to help with anything. In my case I'm marrying a French citizen and we're both resident here and with UK GRO and the French Embassy they've been great and when there has been things that we've worried on, they've gone 'don't panic, it's just the Irish system'. One of the ladies we've dealt with even told me she's seen brides nearly in tears from the bullying and threats of 'I don't care if they do it this way, you do it this way or else...' that they've gone through.

    Hope it goes alright for you. - You're one step ahead of us. We only just squeaked in booking our appointment as we'd understood it was a case of get every single document in place first and then make the appointment - with an implication of we're around, it's simple, pop in, ...only to get told this week ''you're cutting it very fine'' and that appointments are usually gone 3mts ahead of the 3mts notice.
  9. MissDC

    MissDC Registered User

    Hi, I am also in the same predicament as you, I'm Irish living in the UK and my partner is English living in UK. Just wondering how did it all pan out for you? I can see the general consensus is to call for this 'no trace marriage record' which I will do. I was wondering if you needed it for yourself as well as your English partner? We have our appointment in January, and I am worried we won't get the documents in time.
  10. amtc

    amtc Frequent Poster

    My uncle was previously married and divorced on the uk. Anyway he wanted to marry here to a non eu national. Ended up leaving it so late that he flew to uk and hired car and drove to northampton and got documents he needed there and then...teo days before
  11. Johnson

    Johnson Registered User

    Hi, I`ve literally just phoned the GRO (0300 123 1837) for this service as I`d never heard of it before and have my marriage registration meeting in Ireland in Feb! It was very straight forward, they just need details of the person, DOB, Place of birth, full name, fathers full name and then they trace back to when the person was 16 years of age and it`s £50 for every 10 years (ouch!) so I`ve just paid £100 for my fiance`s search ahead of our meeting in Ireland. (He`s UK, I`m Irish) they said it will take 15 working days for the letter to arrive. Hope that helps
  12. colin16

    colin16 Registered User

    Hi, i just wanted to see how things turned out for those above. I live in the UK, I'm Irish and my partner is from the UK. We have our notice to marry meeting in ireland next month but dont have the Civil Letter of Freedom to Marry certificate. Is this an absoulute requirement for the notice meeting to be successful or can the meeting be completed without this to hand?

    I'm just worried because there are so few available dates for meetings between now and when we are getting married in july.

    Many thanks.
  13. SadaboutMondays

    SadaboutMondays Registered User

    Hi all

    I know this is an old thread but I came across a similar issue recently, whereby I'm from the Northern Ireland but will be getting married in the Republic Ireland. The person at the registers office in Ireland was very helpful and explained that in the UK they simply call it a 'Marriage Index Search' instead of a 'Letter of Freedom' - but both are accepted.

    The NI direct website was also very helpful with a page covering a few different marriage scenarios and the link for the Marriage index search application form ( outside the uk). It costs £7 for each 5 year period they have to search. I've just posted off my form so hopefully it arrives in a reasonable timeframe!
  14. AndyMac

    AndyMac New Member

    Yes I see you can't post links here. I went to NI Direct and searched for Marriage outside UK - great as I was going round in circles with the Irish and UK websites. Thanks.

    Can I ask how long did it take for your Index Search to arrive? Thank you