Book an urgent ceremony if someone is seriously ill

Urgent marriage or civil partnership ceremonies where someone is seriously ill.

If you need to get married or form a civil partnership quickly due to a serious illness, you can apply for either a:

  • Registrar General's Licence
  • Waiver of 28/70 day notice period

For more information about getting married or having a civil partnership where someone is seriously ill, please contact us.

Registrar General's Licence

If you or your partner are seriously ill and not likely to recover, a wedding or civil partnership, civil or religious, can take place any time, anywhere including your home or hospital 24 hours a day using a Registrar General's Licence (RGL). 

You can apply for an RGL in the area where the ceremony is to take place. The fee is £29.

Medical evidence

You need to provide medical evidence that the person is not likely to recover, usually in the form of a letter from the doctor treating the unwell partner. A doctor must sign a letter confirming that:

  • they are in medical attendance of the person
  • the person is seriously ill and not expected to recover
  • the person cannot be moved to a place registered for marriages or civil partnerships

Our template letters cover all the information that needs to be included.

Issuing a licence

Either you or your partner must give notice, normally the person that is well. After taking the notice, the Superintendent Registrar will forward the medical letter to the General Register Office so that the application for an RGL can be considered.

The marriage or civil partnership can take place once the Registrar General has issued the licence. This may be on the same day that the arrangements are made. The ceremony must take place within 1 month of giving notice. Only 1 notice is given under these circumstances.

Waiver of 29/71 day notice period

Normally you must give notice and then wait 29 days and sometimes 71 days before you can get married or form a civil partnership.

If you or your partner are seriously ill, or somebody important to the wedding is seriously ill, and the 29/71 day period poses a problem, you can apply for a waiver to get the notice period reduced. There is no guarantee that a waiver will be granted and evidence to support the application will be needed.

We will give you a waiver form when you give notice. The fee is £60.

Marriage by Church of England special licence

If you and your partner wish to be married in an emergency in a Church of England church, a special licence from the Archbishop of Canterbury is required.

For more information go to do I need a special marriage licence on the Faculty Office website.

Haringey Register Office: urgent enquiries

Out of hours