How to Obtain a Certificate of No Impediment

When planning to get married overseas it is common that the authorities in that country will request a Certificate of No Impediment. This document is a way of proving that there is no Impediment/Obstruction in allowing you to be married and shows that there has been no objection to your proposed marriage.

The Certificate of No Impediment (CNI) is now regularly requested of UK citizens that intend to marry abroad. Similar documents are used in other countries but within the UK the CNI is an official government issued document.

  • Contact your local register office (where births, marriages and deaths are recorded) to obtain your Certificate of No Impediment. This must be done by the person applying for the CNI. We cannot order these for you.

If you live in the UK and wish to obtain the CNI then you would simply need to contact your local Registry Office and inform them that you wish to be married overseas and require the CNI. Notices will then be placed and the document will then be issued 28 days after you have made the application.

If you are a British National living overseas and wish to also be married outside of the UK then you cannot contact a UK Registry Office. Instead, you may have to visit the closest British Embassy to you who will then complete the process on your behalf or provide alternative documentation. Obtaining the CNI can also vary based on who you are marrying, for example, if you are to be marrying an Irish National then you will need to obtain the CNI from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office directly, if you live in the UK.

The CNI contains 8 pieces of information for both the Bride & Groom which are as follows: -

  • Name & Surname
  • Age
  • Condition to Marry (for example – Single, Previous Marriage Dissolved etc)
  • Occupation
  • Place of Residence
  • Period of Residence at the address
  • Location where the Marriage shall be taking place
  • Nationality & District of Residence

Once you have obtained your Certificate of No Impediment you should then present this to the government body overseas who are requesting the document. In most circumstances the certificate will also require the apostille although we do recommend that you check this before proceeding.

In addition to obtaining a CNI we would also recommend that you investigate if any further documents may be required. You may need to provide copies of birth certificates, proof of divorce in the form of a decree absolute or a sworn affidavit confirming you are legally able to marry.

It is essential that you find out which documents you will need to present overseas to get married. If the documents need to be legalised by apostille you should arrange this before travelling abroad. However, do not complete this more than 3 to 6 months ahead of the wedding as some countries request the apostille has been issued recently. 

About the Author

The Apostille Service are pleased to provide advice on a wide range of document legalisation matters. Our team of advisors contribute to the blog.