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Applying for a Common Licence

A Common Licence is a Bishop’s permission for a marriage to take place in a particular church. An application for a Common Licence should not be made until the three month period prior to the proposed wedding date. The Licence will be valid for a maximum of three months (like a certificate that banns have been published) so if the Licence is issued too early it will expire before the proposed wedding date. Details of Bishop's Surrogates and information about Common Licences can be found here.


Couples seeking a Common Licence should take the following steps:

  1. Complete questionnaire (on-line or paper).

  2. Couple will require the following:

    1. Evidence of identity and address (current passport; or photo-card driving licence)

    2. Proof of current addresses, (e.g. driving licence, utility bill, bank statement or credit card statement, council tax bill)

    3. For previous marriages, death certificate of former spouse, or decree absolute (the decree nisi is not sufficient).
      Where the previous marriage was dissolved, please complete "Marriage in Church after Divorce".

    4. They may also be required to provide "such written or other evidence" of their qualifying connection.

  3. Meet with the Bishops Surrogate - Both parties must attend although just one of the parties is required to swear an oath. Contact details for Rev. Chris Painter are here.

  4. Pay fee to Surrogate - The Common Licence fee is currently £200, but special conditions apply due to the closure of church buildings during the pandemic. In the Diocese of Truro, please provide a cheque for £50 payable to Veale Wasbrough Vizards.

  5. The Registry will issue their marriage licence by post which is valid for three months from the date on which the affidavit is sworn.
    The licence becomes valid the moment the documents are signed and the couple do not have to receive the marriage licence before the service takes place.