The Type of Corrections You Can Make
There are several restrictions on making changes to the register. You can only make an amendment if the original information in a marriage register is wrong.
A typical example would be correcting the mistaken recording of someone’s occupation.
As a rule, the process does not apply to new information due to a change of circumstances after you got married.
You will need to determine exactly where the mistake occurred. So, for example was the error made only on the marriage certificate. Or, is the information in the marriage register incorrect as well.
There are several ways you achieve this. You can make a check by contacting:
- The register office where a civil marriage took place.
- The officer responsible for registering a religious marriage (or the person who has since replaced them).
A Mistake on the Marriage Certificate (only)
The correction process is quite simple if the details are correct in the register. It is not uncommon for a mistake to occur when copying details from it onto the certificate. In this case, you would be able to order a new copy of a marriage certificate.
A Mistake in the Original Registration
A marriage register always shows the original information. But, they will add a note to the margin of the register once an amendment gets authorised. The note explains the correct information and the date that they made the correction.
Note: You would need to apply to the same register office that made the original registration of the marriage.
Further Help and Advice
You can contact either your local register office or the General Register Office (GRO). They can offer you further advice on applying to make a correction to a marriage registration.
Who Can Apply to Correct a Marriage Certificate
If both spouses are alive, then either of the two people who married each other can apply to have the marriage registration corrected. But, they will not authorise a correction if neither of the spouses are alive.
How to Apply to Correct a Marriage Registration
The first step is to contact the particular register office that registered the marriage. They will confirm how to send the application, how much it will cost, and a method of payment. Fill in the form and send it to the register office.
The General Register Office must authorise the amended marriage entry. Following that, it can then go ahead at any religious building or the local register office.
Note: The current cost of applying to correct a mistake in a marriage registration is £90.
How to Prove the Original Registration is Wrong
You must be able to show how the information given during the registration was wrong. So, you will need to send in some documents with your application.
The original, or certified documentation, should show what the correct information should have been. They should either be valid or dated around the time of, or before, the marriage (not after).
The typical kind of documents used to prove wrongness can include:
- A bank, Building society, or credit card statement.
- A letter from a doctor or a hospital (or a government department).
- A passport (or photocard driving licence).
You can send the documents to the register office team (or the person at the religious building). As a rule, they will forward copies to the General Register Office for you.
Note: In most cases, failure to send in documented proof means the corrections cannot get carried out. They will destroy all certified copies sent with an application unless you ask for a return.
Witnessing the Correction
There must be at least two (2) witnesses present when correcting a marriage record. In most cases, they will be (either):
- The couple (husband and wife) that got married.
- Persons nominated by the two people who got married.
Note: Any witnesses used do not need to have been present at the actual wedding. But, they must be aware of the information that will get corrected.
How Long Do Applications Take to Process?
There is no set time given for the process of correcting a marriage registration. As a general rule, you should allow up to four weeks to get a reply.
Once a Correction gets Approved
The General Register Office needs to approve the amendment before sending authorisation. They will also send details of the correction to the religious building (or register office).
You should then arrange for someone to witness the correction. They will need to be in attendance when when it goes ahead.
You will then be able to buy a new marriage certificate from GRO. It would show the original information with a note revealing the corrected details.