Marriage of EEA Nationals post-Brexit

In its eNews of 15 February 2019, the Diocese of Oxford has included the following useful advice concerning the marriage of European Economic Area (EEA) Nationals post-Brexit. 


Marriage of European Economic Area Nationals – Post 29 March 2019

As you will be aware, the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019.  A number of clergy and parish administrators have been in touch to find out what the situation will be post ‘Brexit’ and we have recently received guidance from the Home Office in this regard.

No immediate change 

We understand the Home Office is not intending to make changes to the way European Economic Area and Swiss (EEA) nationals are able to marry in the UK immediately post-Brexit.  This means all EEA nationals can continue to be married by Banns or Common Licence for at least the remainder of 2019, assuming the couple have a legal link to the parish or church, either under the Marriage Act 1949 (residence in the parish or membership of the Electoral Roll of the church) or the Marriage Measures 2008 and 2012 (by way of qualifying connection).

Consultation

Before making any changes to marriage preliminaries for EEA nationals, the Home Office will consult all ‘interested parties’ which includes the Church of England. Such consultation will consider whether transitional provisions are required.

Potential Timetable

The Home Office has indicated that marriages of EEA nationals can continue to take place by Banns and Common Licences for the whole of 2019 and “early next year”.  At this stage, no assurances can be given for arrangements in 2020.  EEA nationals requesting a wedding next year should be advised that it may not be legally possible for them to be married by Banns or Common Licence.

Non-EEA nationals

Brexit does not affect marriages involving non-European Economic Area (non-EEA) nationals.  As you are no doubt aware, all non-EEA nationals need to be married by Superintendent Registrar’s Certificates.  Please see the Guidance posted in the Legal Section of the Diocesan Website entitled ‘Marriage of Foreign Nationals – Post 2 March 2015’ (https://www.oxford.anglican.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Marriage-ofForeign-Nationals-post-2-March-2015.pdf).

Going Forward

We will keep you updated as soon as we receive further information regarding the timetable of proposed changes so please continue to check the Diocesan e-news or Legal Section of the website (https://www.oxford.anglican.org/support-services/legal-diocesanregistry/#tab-id-2)

Sara Leader, Registry Manager: Email: sleader@wslaw.co.uk; Phone: 01865 297211.

February 2019


Comment

Throughout the Church of England, clergy and parish administrators will have been concerned regarding the marriage of European Economic Area (EEA) Nationals when the arrangements for Brexit come into force on 29 March 2019 (or whenever). It will therefore be a reassurance that the will be no immediate change, and that the Home Office will consult interested parties such as the Church of England. This may, or may not, involve a public consultation.

Many marriages are planed some time in advance, ad it is therefore important for clergy and administrators to note that after 2019 “EEA nationals requesting a wedding next year should be advised that it may not be legally possible for them to be married by Banns or Common Licence”.

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Marriage of EEA Nationals post-Brexit" in Law & Religion UK, 15 February 2019, https://lawandreligionuk.com/2019/02/15/marriage-of-eea-nationals-post-brexit/

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