What you can do

Converting a civil partnership

Couples who registered a civil partnership in England and Wales have been able convert this to marriage since 10 December 2014. In Scotland it has been possible from 16 December 2014.

The process is simple and gives couples the choice to hold a ceremony. Couples receive a marriage certificate, on which the date of their marriage will be backdated to the date of their civil partnership. The date of conversion will also appear.

To convert civil partnerships registered in England and Wales

First, make an appointment to convert your civil partnership to marriage at any register office in England or Wales. Both you and your civil partner will need to attend. You’ll need to say whether you want a simple conversion, or if you plan to hold a ceremony.

You’ll both need your birth certificate, passport or driving licence with photo card, and a recent utility bill, bank statement (or similar) showing your address. The register office will be able to advise on what other forms of identification are acceptable. You’ll also need your civil partnership certificate.

The ceremony

Legally, all you need to do is sign a declaration in the presence of a Superintendent Registrar or their deputy. This states that you agree to convert your civil partnership to marriage and are happy to become your partner’s lawful husband or wife. You can say the declaration to each other if you wish. For the first year, from 10 December 2014, this is free for all civil partnerships formed in England or Wales before 29 March 2014. If you want a marriage certificate this will cost £4, when ordered on the day or £10 thereafter.

Couples can choose to hold a ceremony. These can be held in a register office, any building approved for marriage or within the premises of a religious organisation that has agreed to hold marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples. You’ll need to book the date with the venue and Superintendent Registrar. You should discuss with them what you want.

Convert a UK civil partnership when living overseas

It is possible for conversions to take place in some British consulates overseas, for couples who live in that country. This is possible from 10 December 2014 for partnerships registered in England and Wales, and from 16 December 2014 for those registered in Scotland.

Conversions will be done through the British consulate in the country you reside. As when registering a civil partnership or marriage, the consulate needs permission from that country's Government before going ahead. You can contact them directly for information on this.

For further information please contact Stonewall's Information Service on 08000 502020, tweet to @StonewallUKInfo or email info@stonewall.org.uk