All Comhairle Offices remain closed to the public and are not able to offer face to face appointments until further notice.
After legislation passed by the Scottish Government, the following changes have been made to Registration Services during this period.
(Latest Update 16/07/2020)
Registration offices can now accept marriage notice forms with immediate effect. During the current pandemic and while we are dealing with the backlog of suspended civil ceremonies and pre-existing bookings we are likely to have limited availability for new registrar-led wedding bookings for this year.
If your notices were not lodged before 24 March 2020 and/or you would like to enquire about an existing or new booking please complete the Marriage Enquiry Form (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) if possible before submitting your paperwork so that we can advise you how to proceed.
Couples are required to give the standard minimum 29 clear days’ notice before their ceremony can take place. Dispensations from the 29 day minimum notice period are currently still only permitted for consideration for terminal illness, armed forces deployment and imminent visa expiry. Couples who lodge notice now, can extend their notice period if required.
Getting Married in Phase 3 of the Scottish Government COVID-19 Routemap
From 15 July 2020 onwards, further relaxations of the lockdown rules on marriage and civil partnership will begin:
- The maximum number of people allowed to attend a marriage or civil partnership will be 20, with physical distancing in place and where venues are able to allow that number to attend safely
- This figure sets marriage and civil partnership on a different footing from wider gatherings (where household and number restrictions remain); the maximum attendance of 20 people does not include any limitation on numbers of households, but does include the registrar or celebrant, any interpreter and so on
- The maximum figure encompasses all those at the ceremony, including children, carers supporting any attendee, photographers, musicians or any other person employed by the couple, and so on
- This figure also applies to both outdoor and indoor ceremonies (where venue capacity allows the ceremony to take place safely).
Any further changes to numbers will depend on health protection advice.
In its guidance for celebrants and couples considering a ceremony, Scottish Government also provides advice on a number of issues which will be of use to registrars and registration managers as they take forward civil marriages and civil partnerships in phase 3:
- To minimise the chance of exposure to COVID-19, registrars should advise that any potential participant in a ceremony or other attendee who has symptoms or is self-isolating should not attend
- If either party, the witnesses or anyone else attending the ceremony shows clear symptoms of COVID-19 on the day, the marriage or civil partnership should not go ahead
- Any person who is shielding should continue to follow Scottish Government guidance on shielding
- Any person who becomes unwell with symptoms of COVID-19 should be sent home, and advised to follow guidance on what to do when you develop symptoms
- Attendees should continue to practise good hand and cough hygiene (including the handling of rings and other objects, such as those associated with hand-fasting, and so on)
- Face coverings can be worn as a desirable, precautionary measure by parties, witnesses and guests at an indoor ceremony (for additional guidance on face coverings please see the Scottish Government Website (Opens in a new window or downloads a file)).
The Scottish Government guidance (Opens in a new window or downloads a file), with full details of the above issues, can be accessed on the Scottsh Government website.
In addition, to assist with contact tracing where a potential outbreak of COVID-19 is linked to specific premises, venues hosting gatherings such as marriages and civil partnerships – including facilities provided by local authorities – will be required to collect minimal contact details from attendees at such gatherings. This information will support NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect service, and form part of the effort to suppress COVID-19 and support the country’s return to a more normal way of life.
If you have already submitted your M10 marriage notice forms (and they were entered onto our system before the suspension in March) we can apply to National Records of Scotland on your behalf to extend the notice period so they will remain valid until 31 December 2020. This means you would only need to submit new forms if your details have changed or if you postpone your wedding until after 31 December 2020.
From 29 June 2020, the Registration of Births will resume. We would ask parents to compete the Birth Registration Booking Form (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) in the first instance and we will contact you to arrange the registration. Local registration offices will work to ensure that births are registered as quickly as possible, but your patience will be much appreciated as the backlog of registrations is processed.
Parents of a newborn child who have not registered their child’s birth because of coronavirus will still be able to make a claim for Child Benefit. For further information about Child Benefit please see the GOV.UK website. (Opens in a new window or downloads a file)
Death Registration will continue to be completed via a ‘remote’ appointment with the next of kin (or other person responsible for this), using phone and/or email to agree the details to be recorded.
The Tell Us Once (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) service which can help you notify local council and government departments (without needing to send any death certificates) is still available and we will explain how to access this service.
Registrars are now able to arrange British Citizenship Ceremonies for candidates who have received their ceremony invitation from the Home Office.
If you have received your letter inviting you to arrange your ceremony, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- Your Full Name
- Your Home Office Reference Number
- The date you received your letter from the Home Office
- The date by which your ceremony must be completed (this is in your letter)
- Your contact telephone number.
We will contact you to arrange your ceremony as soon as we have an available appointment.
If you have applied for Citizenship but have not yet received your ceremony invitation letter – or have any queries about your application – please email Citizenship.Support@homeoffice.gov.uk
Requests for Extracts/Certificates
Due to changes to the systems available to registrars we are currently unable to offer our normal service of producing copy certificates for birth, deaths and marriages throughout Scotland.
If a copy certificate is required urgently please send your request with details of the name, date and place of registration by email email@example.com
We are required to contact National Records of Scotland to check for any amendments before we can produce any local certificates.
For any events registered in 2020 (and in some cases 2019) certificates can only be obtained from the district where they were registered. So we are not able to provide certificates for these births, deaths or marriages registered outwith the Western Isles.
Please note: the issue of certificates as part of the process of registering a death is unaffected and additional copies can be posted out on request.
There is a fee of £10 for events registered in the last month and £15 after that. Payment can be made online (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) (or by phone) once we have confirmed we can fulfil your request. Certificates will be sent by second class post.
To contact a member of the Registration Team, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, you can contact a registrar for the following areas:
Stornoway & Lewis: 01851 822620
Harris: 01859 502367
Uists & Benbecula: 01870 602425
Barra: 01871 810431