Civil partnership registration is a legal status for same-sex couples which recognises a partnership legally.
To register as civil partners you must both be 16 years of age or over and you must give notice using the Civil Partnership Notice Form and witness sheet. Our Civil Partnership leaflet gives more information.
You submit notices to the registrar together with a birth certificate and, if applicable, proof of dissolution of a former marriage or civil partnership. If your documents are in a language other than English you have to provide a translation.
If one or both of you are of a nationality subject to immigration control, you need to obtain clearance documents similar to those required for marriage in the UK. The Registrar will then publish details of the intention on the registration office notice board for public inspection.
There is a minimum 28-day notice period required to check compliance with the formal requirements, after which the registrar can carry out the civil partnership registration.
The legislation requires you to sign a Schedule in the presence of a registrar/religious or belief Celebrant and two witnesses aged 16 years or over. The Civil Partnership is then registered and a certificate from the Register of Civil Partnerships will be provided.
How to change a civil partnership to a marriage
Couples in a civil partnership registered in Scotland can change their civil partnership to a marriage in Scotland if they wish.
There are two ways you can do this:
By the administrative route using the prescribed application form
You can change your civil partnership to marriage using the administrative route. If you propose to use the administrative route, the first thing you should do is make an appointment with the local registrar for the date on which you want the change to take place. You should then complete sections 1-12 of the prescribed application form with details of each party to the marriage being entered in one of the two columns on the form. As outlined on the form, the information supplied at sections 1, 4 and 5 should be that applicable at the time of the application. You will also be given the opportunity at section 10 to determine what designation you want to appear on the marriage register and any marriage certificate (i.e. Bride, Bridegroom or No designation).
When you attend the registration office, you will be expected to provide an extract from the entry in the civil partnership register relating to your civil partnership and photographic evidence of your ID (e.g. passport, driving licence etc). You will then both sign the application form at section 13 in the presence of each other and the registrar. The registrar will prepare an entry in the marriage register and you can then obtain a marriage certificate.
Alternatively, you can change your civil partnership to marriage by having a civil, religious or belief ceremony. For more information about how to organise your ceremony see our Marriage in Scotland leaflet.
Date of marriage
Under both routes described above, your marriage will be recognised in law as having started on the date you registered your civil partnership in Scotland and, if you obtain a marriage certificate, it will state that your marriage is legally recognised as having started on that earlier date.
How much does it cost?
If you decide that you want to change your civil partnership to marriage by having a ceremony, then you will need to pay the relevant fee for the type of marriage ceremony you choose.
If you decide to change your civil partnership to marriage by the administrative route the statutory fee in Scotland is £30, plus £10 for a copy of the marriage certificate.