Skip Global Navigation to Main Content
  •  
Skip Breadcrumb Navigation
Marriage In Ireland

Requirements for Marriage

THIS INFORMATION HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY THE IRISH REGISTRAR OF MARRIAGES. THE EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA TAKES NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR CONTENT.

TO CONTRACT A VALID MARRIAGE IN IRELAND, THE PARTIES MUST HAVE THE CAPACITY TO MARRY EACH OTHER, THEY MUST FREELY CONSENT TO THE MARRIAGE, AND THEY MUST OBSERVE THE NECESSARY FORMALITIES AS REQUIRED BY THE LAWS OF IRELAND.  If you reside in Northern Ireland, follow link to the U.S. Consulate General in Belfast  for information regarding marriage laws in Northern Ireland.


Marriage by civil ceremony is a civil contract. Marriage by certain religious ceremonies is also recognized by the Civil Law as being a civil contract. Persons wishing to get married by religious ceremony should approach the authorities of the religious denomination concerned for advice on how to proceed. Those wishing to get married by civil ceremony should seek advice from the Registrar of Civil Marriages for the district in which they reside, or in which they wish to get married. A list of these Registrars, with names and telephone numbers is available from the General Register Office (address on page 4).

The following is a broad summary of the procedure for marriages in the Republic of Ireland. It applies to both Irish citizens and non-Irish citizens.

Both of the parties to a marriage must be over eighteen years of age on the day of their marriage (or have obtained a Court exemption Order in advance of their marriage) and must have given three months written notification of their intention to so marry to the appropriate Registrar for the district in which the marriage is to take place (or have obtained a Court exemption Order in advance of their marriage).

MARRIAGE BY CIVIL CEREMONY
Marriages may be solemnised in the office of a Registrar of Civil Marriages by Registrars license or by Registrars certificate. Persons wishing to be married in the office of a Registrar either by Registrars License or Certificate must serve notice in person upon the Registrar of the district in which they reside. If the parties intending marriage reside in different districts, notice must be served on the Registrar of each district. (N.B. If the marriage is to take place in the Republic of Ireland, one of these districts may be in the United Kingdom).

MARRIAGE BY REGISTRARS LICENSE
requires that one of the parties to the marriage should have resided in the registrars district in which the marriage is to take place for at least fifteen days immediately preceding the service of notice. If the other party to the marriage resides in the same registrars district, a minimum residence of seven days by that party is necessary before the service of notice. If the parties reside in different districts, a residence of fifteen days in their respective districts is required. The marriage may not take place until the eight day, at the earliest, after entry of notice by the registrar. One of the parties must also have resided in the registrars district in which the marriage is to take place for at least fifteen days before the marriage license is granted.

MARRIAGE BY REGISTRARS CERTIFICATE
requires a prior residence of seven days by each of the parties before service of notice, whether they reside in the same registrars district or in different districts. Marriage by certificate may not take place until the twenty second day, at the earliest, after entry of notice of marriage.

Certain other requirements have to be fulfilled between the service of notice and the issue of the registrars licence or certificate.

Marriage by registrars license or certificate in a church or registered building requires that notice be served on the Registrars of Civil Marriages in person, and that the same preliminary steps be taken as if the marriages were to be solemnised in the office of the Registrar. The license or certificate ultimately issued by the Registrar to the parties must then be produced by them to the officiating Minister.

If either party has been married previously, it is necessary for that party to produce either a divorce decree absolute or a death certificate, as appropriate. If the divorce decree is in a foreign language, an English translation of the same should be provided, duly certified by a relevant official body or recognised translation agency. In the case of a divorce, consideration is given to the question of whether the divorce would be entitled to recognition in the State. In this connection certain information as to place of birth, countries of residence and other relevant facts must be supplied. The information is then forwarded to the Registrar-General, whose consent must be obtained before the ceremony can take place. This may take two or three weeks.

Marriages by Civil Ceremony must take place in the office of a Registrar of Marriages, except in very exceptional cases of illness on the part of one of the parties, when the Registrar-General has power to grant a special license for the marriage to be conducted elsewhere.

RELIGIOUS CEREMONY OF MARRIAGE

Roman Catholic

Marriages according to the rites and ceremonies of the Roman Catholic Church are governed mainly by the ecclesiastical laws of that church. Roman Catholic marriages may be celebrated:

  • by Episcopal license or
  • after publication of banns or
  • by ordinary ecclesiastical license or
  • on production of a certificate from a Registrar of Civil Marriages.


Church of Ireland

Marriages according to the rites and Ceremonies of the Church of Ireland may be celebrated:

  • by special license (granted by the Bishops of the Church of Ireland)or
  • after publication of banns or
  • by ordinary ecclesiastical license or
  • on production of a certificate from a Registrar of Civil Marriages.

Presbyterian Church

Marriages according to the form and discipline of the Presbyterian Church may be celebrated:
  • by special license (granted by the Moderators of the Presbyterial Church) or
  • after publication of banns or
  • by ordinary ecclesiastical license.

THEIR RELIGIOUS BODIES

Marriages according to the usage's of certain other Religious Bodies may be celebrated:

  • by special license (granted, where applicable, by the Head of the Religious Body) or
  • on production of a certificate or license from a Registrar of Civil Marriages (in a building registered for the purpose, see page four).
     

SOCIETY OF FRIENDS

Marriages according to the usage's of the Society of Friends may be celebrated:

  • by special license (granted by the Clerk of the yearly meeting) or
  • on production of a certificate from a Registrar of Civil Marriages.

 

JEWISH COMMUNITIES

Marriages of persons professing the Jewish religion may be celebrated:
  • by special license (granted by the Chief Rabbi) or
  • on production of a certificate from a Registrar of Civil Marriages.

Special Licenses authorize marriage at any convenient time or place.

Marriage by ordinary ecclesiastical license requires that notice be served by one of the contracting parties on the Licenser of Marriages from the district in which the marriage is to be solemnized, and is subject to the fulfillment of other requirements, among them, residence by one or both parties in the Licenser's District (Church of Ireland) or within the Presbytery (Presbyterian) within which the marriage is to be solemnized for a specified period before the granting of the license. One of the parties must be a member of the same church as the person who grants the license.

Marriages celebrated according to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of Ireland after the publication of banns require that both parties be Protestant Episcopalians. Marriages celebrated according to the form and discipline of the Presbyterian Church after publication of banns require that both parties must be Presbyterians.

REGISTRATION AND LICENSING OF CHURCHES AND BUILDINGS FOR MARRIAGE PURPOSES

Marriages by religious ceremony, other than Roman Catholic marriages and those by special license, must be celebrated in a building licensed, certified or registered for the purpose of marriage.

Churches of the Church of Ireland are licensed for marriages by the Bishops of the Church of Ireland with the approval of the Minister for Health. Presbyterian churches are certified by their Ministers and registered by the Registrar General.

Buildings used by other bodies (not Roman Catholics) as places of public religious worship and certified as such are registered by the Registrar General for the purposes of marriage. In some cases registration is effected for marriage in the presence of the Registrar of Civil Marriages only.

MUSLIM MARRIAGES

There is at present no provisions for the Civil Registration of Muslim Marriage Ceremonies solemnised in the State.

MARRIAGE OUTSIDE THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

Marriages outside the State are normally registered in the country in which they occur and are not normally registered in Ireland by the General-Register Office, except in very specific circumstances, prescribed by law. Persons marrying abroad should ensure that all legal requirements of the country in question are met, and should enquire that all legal requirements of the country in question are met, and inquire as to the procedure for obtaining a marriage certificate from that country - the relevant Embassy and/or religious authorities may be able to advise. In particular, the Italian Embassy, 63 Northumberland Road, Dublin 4, Tel: 353-1-6601744, can provide useful information on marriage in Rome. If a marriage certificate is in a foreign language, it should normally be accepted for official purposes in this State if accompanied by an official translation, or a translation from a recognised translation agency.

Certificates of Freedom to marry (also known as "Certificates de Coutume" or "Certificates of Nulla Osta"), which state that a person is not married, and may be needed for marriage in some foreign countries, are not issued by the General Register Office. Irish citizens living in Ireland wishing to obtain one should apply to the Consular Section, Department of Foreign Affairs, 72/76 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Tel: (01)4780822, extension 304. Irish citizens living abraod should contact their nearest Irish Embassy.

For further information, contact:

General Register Office
Government Offices
Convent Road
Roscommon
Co. Roscommon.
Tel: +353 (0) 90 6632900
LoCall: 1890 252076
Fax: +353 (0) 90 6632999
Website: http://www.groireland.ie/