Weddings Abroad: What is a Certificate of No-Impediment (CNI) and how to obtain it?


A Certificate of No-Impediment, also known as a CNI, is a document that states that there are no known impediments for you to marry, in other words, you are free to marry.

It is not always a requirement to produce a Certificate of No-Impediment when you are getting married abroad. You should contact the registrar or local authority who will be conducting your wedding; they should be able to tell you if it is needed or not.

Some authorities abroad will be happy with an affidavit, which is a written declaration where you state that you are free to marry and you swear to be true and sign before a solicitor or Notary Public.

If in your circumstances you do need a proper Certificate of No-Impediment, here is what you need to do:

If you live in the UK, you will have to go to your local register office and give notice that you wish to marry – more or less the same as you would do if you were to marry in the UK, just state that you wish to marry abroad and that you need a CNI.

The certificate will then be issued 21 days after you give notice to marry.

If you live abroad, you would obtain the certificate from the nearest British Embassy.

Note that Certificates of No-Impediment cannot be issued to British nationals if they are getting married in a Commonwealth country. You would have to contact the relevant local authority to find out what would be acceptable instead of the CNI.

If you are getting married in Italy, you will need to obtain a CNI from your local register office, then exchange that for a Nulla Osta at the British Consulate nearest to where you are getting married in Italy. (More information about weddings in Italy can be found on our website)

If you are getting married to an Irish national, you will not be able to obtain a CNI from your local register office, instead you will have to apply for a CNI directly from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office if you live in the UK, or through your local British Embassy if you live abroad. The application form is available on the FCO website.

Weddings Abroad: What is a Certificate of No-Impediment (CNI) and how to obtain it?

13 thoughts on “Weddings Abroad: What is a Certificate of No-Impediment (CNI) and how to obtain it?

  1. I am getting married in Scotland to a Hungarian man. We have been told we need a CNI. What do I need to get a CNI, and where do I get one from? Do I need to go to the consulate in London, or can I do it by post?

  2. Can someone please advise me, I have already been to my UK marriage office to tell them i wish to get married in morocco but I have just realised that on my fiance's address I spelled the name of the street with an (e) at the end instead of an (a). Is this minor spelling error changeable and if not then will I have a problem with my CNI being accepted in morocco? I am so worried now.Elly

  3. Do not all the registry offices ask for a local Certificate of No Impediment in the Philippines? Some may take a English one? Many thanks

  4. Getting married in the Philippines can be a nightmare, It all depends on who is going to marry you, Sometimes you need to get a local cni too from the British embassy.Don`t forget any divorce papers you have, Birth certificate.They will try and get money out of you anyway they can.You can get married for as little as 1000 peso.

  5. I am planning to get married in the Philippines…I know how to get the Certificate of No Impediment but when i go to the Philippines do i go to the register office or the British Embassy in the Philippines to show the certificate, before i apply for the marriage license? so confused.. can someone help me… Thank you

  6. hi there my fince lives in indoniesa she went to bali british embbsy to ask for details what we need as i live in uk she told me that embbsy said i got go to my nerest embbsy of indoniesa in london to get the cni form but as look on line i got bit cunfused then see can go to registrar office but still dont no if i done right do you think i should call the emmbbsy first finding hard at mo as working nights #

  7. I would advise you to contact your local Registrar and explain your situation to him – He/she will be able to give you the appropriate advice in your situation.It usually takes 21 days for a CNI to be issued from the date you apply for it.

  8. hi my absolute decree will be finalise on the 14th of march 2012, ca i apply for my certificate of empidiment before i have my final decree, and how long do i have to wait for the cni once i apply for it, many thanks

  9. I went to the registrar to ask for a certificate of no impediment and they told me that i had to be resident in the uk for a full 7 days before i can apply. I am a British Citizen but i live and work outside of the EU and have done for over 5 years, and my partner is not a British Citizen. I came back to the UK especially for this certificate and they gave me an interview date for after ive already departed the UK even though i am here for 8 full days (10 including flight days. They told me they was nothing more they can do for me and to come back to the UK later on but for a longer period. I mean, why do they have to ahve that silly 7 day rule and why cant they give me the interview before i go back??????

  10. Hello macYou would need to contact your local registrar (at the register office) and ask them what documents they require. I would guess you would have to take your passport of another type of photo ID, and maybe proof of address. Only the registrars themselves can tell you for sure what is needed.

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