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Civil partnership in Scotland

Civil partnership during Covid

There are no restrictions on maximum numbers.

Venues do not need to ensure that people from different households keep physically distanced outdoors or indoors.

This means that, at a reception following a marriage or civil partnership ceremony, guests can mingle and dance with each other both outdoors and indoors.

Face coverings indoors

You must wear a face covering indoors unless eating or drinking (or you're exempt from wearing a face covering). This includes areas of a hotel or venue such as the hotel reception, toilets and corridors.

This does not apply to the couple and the celebrant or local authority registrar during the ceremony if either:

  • physical distancing of 1m is in place
  • there's a partition between:
    • the couple and everyone else
    • the celebrant or local authority registrar and everyone else

Anyone accompanying the couple down the aisle does not need to wear a face covering at that point in the ceremony.

Everyone must still wear a face covering in any public areas before going into the room where the ceremony is taking place and once the ceremony is over.

Check the full face covering guidance on gov.scot.

Who can have a civil partnership

You can have a civil partnership in Scotland if you're:

  • aged 16 or over
  • not married or in a civil partnership with someone else
  • not closely related (see below for a list of relatives you cannot have a civil partnership with)
  • of the same sex
  • mixed sex (from June 2021)
  • capable of understanding what a civil partnership means and of consenting to a civil partnership

Mixed sex civil partnership

A mixed sex civil partnership is one between 2 people of a different sex.

The Scottish Parliament passed a new law which will make civil partnership available to mixed sex couples from 30 June 2021.

You must give notice to the registrar at least 29 days before the date you'd like to enter your civil partnership. You can do this now by completing a civil partnership notice form.

You can read more about the future of mixed sex civil partnership on gov.scot.

Relatives you cannot have a civil partnership with

You cannot legally have a civil partnership with any of the following relatives:

  • parent
  • child
  • grandparent
  • grandchild
  • sibling
  • aunt or uncle
  • niece or nephew
  • great-grandparent
  • great-grandchild
  • adopted parent or former adoptive parent
  • adopted child or former adopted child

Relatives you can have a civil partnership with

The relatives you can have a civil partnership with are:

  • child of former wife or husband
  • child of former civil partner
  • former spouse or civil partner of parent
  • former spouse or civil partner of grandparent
  • grandchild of former spouse or former civil partner

To do this you must:

  • be aged 21 or over
  • not have lived in the same house as the person when you were aged 18 or younger
  • not have been treated as a child of their family

Different types of civil partnership registration

There are 2 different types of civil partnership registration you can have in Scotland:

  • civil registration - can take place in a registrar office or anywhere agreed with the registrar, except religious premises
  • religious or belief registration - can take place anywhere by someone approved to register a civil partnership

Check with the religious or belief body that they'll register your civil partnership.

There's a different process if you want to change a civil partnership to a marriage.

How to have a civil partnership

You both need to complete a Civil Partnership Notice form (tells the local registrar you want to enter a civil partnership).

You'll be charged a fee to register your civil partnership - check with your registrar office how much this will be.

You need to return your forms and any other documents needed to the registrar at least 29 days before your civil partnership registration.

They can be returned to the registrar in the area you're having your civil partnership either in person or by post.

Documents you need to provide

You need to provide certain documents with your civil partnership notice form.

  • your birth certificate
  • evidence of where you live, for example a bank statement with your address
  • your divorce certificate if you or your partner were previously married
  • your dissolution certificate if you or your partner were previously in a civil partnership
  • a death certificate if a previous spouse (husband or wife) or civil partner has died
  • your passport or another document that provides evidence of your nationality
  • your certificate that you are free to marry under the law of your own country if you do not live in the UK

Get in touch with your registrar as early as possible if you cannot get any of these documents. You may be able to use other documents.

If any of the documents are not in English you'll need to get a translation of the document.

Declaration of Immigration Status

If you’re not from the UK, you also need to complete and return a declaration of status by Non-UK Nationals form

Religious or belief registration

If you're having a religious or belief civil partnership registration you'll also need to collect the 'civil partnership schedule'.

A civil partnership schedule is a form you sign during your registration.

You can collect this from 7 days before you register your civil partnership. You or your partner will need to collect it in person.

The civil partnership schedule needs to be returned to the registrar within 3 days of the registration.

Once this has been handed in your civil partnership will be registered. You can then order and pay for a civil partnership certificate.

If you're having a civil registration the registrar will bring your civil partnership schedule to your wedding. They'll also return it to the registrar's office for you.

Forms

If you have any problems with the online forms, you can get them from a registration office. You can find a list of all the registrars in Scotland on the National Records of Scotland website.

Further information

There's more information about civil partnerships in Scotland on the National Records of Scotland website.

If you're not sure what you need to do, you can contact:

National Records of Scotland
Marriage/Civil Partnership Section Room 38
New Register House
3 West Register Street
Edinburgh
EH1 3YT

Email: civilpartnership@nrscotland.gov.uk

Phone: 0131 314 4447

Find out about call charges on the GOV.UK website.

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