What is a civil partnership?
Civil partnership allows same-sex couples across the United Kingdom to have their relationships legally recognised. After registration, these couples have the same rights as a married couple in areas like tax, social security, inheritance and workplace benefits.
Who can register?
Two people who are:
- Of the same sex
- 16 or over (with consent if under 18)
- Not already married or in a civil partnership
- Not closely related (eg parent, sister, niece, uncle)
How do we register a civil partnership?
First of all, you give notice of your intention to register (this is the same process as for conventional marriages) at your nearest registration service point. An appointment can be made by using our booking system. After 15 clear days, you can register your civil partnership by signing a civil partnership schedule in front of the registrar and your two witnesses.
The most important things to do are:
- Get advice and information. Your local register office or the website of the general register office can help
- Decide where you want to register. You can register in the same sorts of places where you can get married - view the list of approved venues. For information about holding a civil partnership formation in a religious building please contact us on 0345 678 9016
- Fix the date. If you're registering at an approved venue, remember to check that the registrar can attend on that day
- Arrange to give notice of your intention to register. Find out more about giving notice and evidence required for this process
- Get registered. A civil partnership is formed when each person signs the civil partnership schedule in front of the registrar and two witnesses. If you want a ceremony around these formalities, you should discuss it with the registration service and the venue. However, no religious service can take place whilst the civil partnership registrar is officiating at the formation of a civil partnership. This includes where the civil partnership formation is taking place in a religious building
Some same-sex overseas relationships will automatically be treated as civil partnerships in the United Kingdom and you may not need to register again. Take a look at the full details of the overseas schemes which may be recognised.
If either of the parties are subject to immigration control, you'll need to go together to a specially designated register office. For more information on this take a look at our immigration control page.
Civil partnerships - your rights and responsibilities
Getting registered is an important commitment and a serious decision that brings with it significant consequences in terms of both rights and responsibilities. Find out more about this.
Government’s announcement of Opposite Sex Civil Partnerships
The Government announced on 2 October plans to introduce civil partnerships for opposite sex couples. Any opposite sex couples wishing to form a civil partnership, need to be aware that this is not yet possible and the changes will be made as soon as there is a suitable opportunity to change the law.