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Births/Deaths/Marriages Abroad


Registering Babies Born Abroad

In most counties, the birth of a British citizen can be registered with either the British High Commission or the British Consul of the country where the child was born. Birth certificates are issued by the High Commission or Consul and may be used as proof of British citizenship.

For further information contact:

Postal AddressThe Foreign and Commonwealth Office Link to External Website, Consular Division, King Charles Street, London SW1A 2AH


Babies Born to Serving Members of the Armed Forces

Children born to parents serving in the British Armed Forces whilst posted abroad can be registered by Forces registering officers. Copies of births registered by British authorities overseas are sent to Overseas Registration Section at the General Register Office, after which certificates can be obtained from GRO in the usual way.

For further information contact


Registering an Overseas Death

If a British citizen or member of the Armed Forces dies abroad, the death certificate is issued by the relevant authorities in the country concerned. The certificate is usually accepted for all official purposes, although it may be necessary to have the document translated into English or Welsh, as appropriate.

The General Register Office is not automatically notified, or sent a copy of the certificate. Additionally, the death can often be registered, at the request of the deceased family, by the British Consul or High Commission. If the person was a serving member of the British Armed Forces, his or her commanding officer can also request it.

A British Armed Forces registration, provided it takes place within 12 months of the death, may be made by the Forces Registering Officer. The advantage of registering with the British authorities means that a record of the death will be sent to the General Register Office who will be able to issue death certificates from the record in the usual way.

There are some countries where it is not possible to register with the British authorities - for information on these, and any further queries, contact:

To arrange for a death that has taken place overseas to be registered with the British authorities, contact:

Postal AddressThe Foreign and Commonwealth Office Link to External Website, Consular Division, King Charles Street, London SW1A 2AH


Getting Married Abroad

If you have any general enquiries about marrying abroad, you should contact the Embassy or High Commission of the country concerned. The marriage will be contracted according to the marriage laws of the country in which it is to take place, so all enquires must be directed to the appropriate authorities of that country.

You may be asked to obtain a ‘certificate of no impediment’ which is a document required by some foreign authorities to enable a non-national to marry in their country. This is usually supplied by the Register Office for the district in which the person lives. You will need to ascertain the length of time, prior to the marriage, that the ‘certificate of no impediment’ has to be obtained, as some foreign authorities will only accept paperwork dated within three or six months of the marriage date.

You may also be asked to provide an Apostille, which is simply formal confirmation that a signature, seal or stamp appearing on a document is genuine. Contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 020 7008 1111 for further details.

Once the marriage has taken place, you should receive a marriage certificate. You may need to have this translated into English or Welsh, as appropriate, to facilitate ease of use. Overseas marriages may not be recorded at a register office in this country. From 1 January 2014, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has discontinued its service of depositing foreign marriage and civil partnership certificates with General Register Offices in the UK. 

There is no legal requirement to deposit a foreign marriage or civil partnership certificate with the General Register Office (GRO), or to have a marriage or civil partnership recorded in the UK. The deposit of a foreign certificate does not ‘recognise’ the marriage as a valid one. The validity in UK law of a marriage or civil partnership contracted in a foreign country is in no way affected by its having been, or not having been, recorded in the UK.

This change also means that from 1 January 2014, GRO’s no longer accept foreign marriage or civil partnership documents from British nationals overseas. British nationals overseas will need to make their own arrangements for the safekeeping of these certificates, as they do for other important documents.