This following provides general information on civil partnership registration in Ireland. It does not purport to be a legal interpretation of the relevant legislation and should not be construed as such.
Civil Partnership Registration in Ireland
- With effect from 16th November 2015, couples can no longer serve notice of intention to enter into a Civil Partnership.
- Only couples whose notice to enter into a Civil Partnership is complete prior to 16th November 2015 can have their civil partnership registered.
- A couple who have an incomplete Civil Partnership notification can request to have their notice converted to a marriage notification.
- A couple who have a completed Civil Partnership notification can have the notification converted to a marriage notification at their request, up to 6 months from the date the notice was completed.
- A couple who are in an existing state recognised Civil Partnership can serve notice of intention to Marriage.
The legal provisions concerning civil partnership registration are contained in Part 3 of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act, 2010. These provisions amend the Civil Registration Act, 2004 to provide for the registration of civil partnerships in Ireland.
Entering into a civil partnership is a solemn legal contract between same sex couples and it is vital that all necessary legalities are complied with in order to ensure that a civil partnership is legally valid.
The Marriage Act 2015 which commenced on 16th November 2015 provides for the removal of opposite sex as an impediment to marriage. It also provides for the repeal of civil partnership notifications under the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act, 2010 with effect from 16th November 2015 and the registration of a civil partnership with effect from 6 months after the commencement.
A current notification of a civil partnership shall at the request of the couple, be considered to be a notification of a marriage provided the couple have not already entered into a civil partnership. Where a couple make such a request, the registrar, will be required to further examine the notification to ensure the intended marriage satisfies current marriage legislation.
The information in this website reflects the requirements of the legislation and should be noted carefully. If you have any enquiries about the details contained herein, you should contact the General Register Office, Government Offices, Convent Road, Roscommon by telephone at LoCall 1890-252076 or email www.groireland.ie
To make an appointment with a registrar you should contact your local civil registration office. The contact details for all offices can be found on the Health Service Executive website at: Click on www.civilregistrationservice.ie to get details for local Civil Registration Service Offices.
There is also an online appointment booking system which can be accessed by clicking on www.crsappointments.ie
Preliminaries to a valid Civil Partnership
To contract a valid civil partnership in this State, the parties to the civil partnership must:
- Have the capacity to enter into a civil partnership,
- Freely consent to the civil partnership,
- Observe the civil partnership notification process as required by law,
- Meet all other substantive requirements for civil partnership as outlined in Part 7A of the Civil Registration Act, 2004
Minimum Age for Civil Partnership
The Minimum age at which a person may legally contract into a civil partnership, is eighteen years of age. All persons giving notice of intention to enter into a civil partnership must provide a Registrar with evidence of age and identity. Failure to produce such evidence will result in refusal to proceed with the civil partnership registration.
Civil Partnership Notification Process Personal Notification
With effect from 16th November 2015 it is no longer possible for a couple to give notice of intention to enter into a civil partnership.
The requirement to give three months’ notice of intention to enter a civil partnership may be exempted by way of an application to a court. Applications for such exemptions must be made to the Circuit Family Court where either party resides, carries out an occupation, or where the civil partnership is to be registered or the High Court. The court requires applicants for exemptions to show that their applications are justified by demonstrating good reasons and that the granting of the application is in the interests of the parties concerned. In cases where an exemption from the three months’ notice has been granted the couple must still attend the Registrar’s office in person by appointment at least 5 days before the civil partnership to make the declaration of no impediment and to produce the necessary documentation and particulars set out above.
Contact details for all courts can be located on http://courts.ie.
The Civil Partnership Registration Form (CPRF)
The Civil Partnership Registration Form (CPRF) is completed when the Registrar is satisfied that all required details have been provided and that the couple is free to enter into a civil partnership. In practice, this document will be held by the Registrar until the date of civil partnership registration.
The CPRF is the legal document for effecting registration of a civil partnership. It is therefore of the utmost importance that all details provided by the couple at their notification appointment are correct.
It is strongly advised that couples bring all documents and information requested by the Registrar to their notification appointment so that the entire process, including completion of the CPRF, can be completed in one meeting.
Civil Partnership Registration Process
The following is a broad summary of the procedure for registering a civil partnership in the State. It applies to both Irish citizens and non-Irish citizens. In all cases the preliminaries outlined in the previous section must be complied with.
Civil Partnership Registration
Civil partnership registration may take place at the office of a Registrar or at a venue which has been agreed between the couple and the Registrar and approved in advance by the Registrar.
The civil partnership registration must take place in a place that is open to the public and in the presence of two witnesses who are both over 18 years of age.
The legal requirements for registration or a civil partnership are:
- That the registrar is satisfied that the parties to the civil partnership understand the nature of the civil partnership,
- that each party declares:
- that they do not know of any impediment to the civil partnership,
- their intention to live with and support the other party, and
- that they accept the other party as a civil partner, and
- signature of the CPRF by the parties to the civil partnership, the witnesses and the Registrar
Venues for Civil Partnership Registration
If you wish to have a civil ceremony at a venue other than a Registry Office, you must contact the Registration Office in the area where the venue is located and apply to have the venue approved for the civil partnership. This may involve the Registrar making an inspection of the venue. In order that the venue can be inspected in good time for your intended civil partnership, it is recommended that you make appropriate arrangements with the venue well in advance of your notification appointment with the Registrar.
A civil partnership may be registered only at a place and time chosen by the parties to the civil partnership with the agreement of the registrar and, if the place chosen is not the office of the registrar or a place referred to in section 59D (1) (b) of CRA 2004, the approval of the place by the Executive (HSE), and the question whether to give or withhold the approval, shall be determined by the Executive by reference to the matters that the Minister may specify. The matters specified by the Minister are-
- Having regard to their primary use, situation, construction and state of repair, the place in which a civil partnership may be registered must, in the opinion of the registrar, be a seemly and dignified venue for the registration of civil partnerships. The primary use of a venue would render it unsuitable if that use could demean proceedings or bring them into disrepute.
- The place in which a civil partnership may be registered must have adequate capacity to accommodate the numbers attending the ceremony.
- Section 59D (1) of the Civil Registration Act 2004 provides that the registration of a civil partnership must take place in a ‘place that is open to the public’. Only venues that allow unrestricted public access without charge will be considered for approval, subject to normal security and health and safety considerations.
- The place in which a civil partnership may be registered must conform to all the requirements of any venue open to the public in respect of planning permission, certificate of fire safety and must meet all relevant health and safety requirements.
- The place in which a civil partnership may be registered must have adequate public liability insurance cover.
- The place in which a civil partnership may be registered must be accessible to all, including persons with disabilities.
- The place in which a civil partnership may be registered must have no recent or continuing connection with any religion, religious practice or religious persuasion which would be incompatible with the use of the venue for the registration of civil partnerships.
- The place in which a civil partnership may be registered must be clearly identifiable by description and location.
- The requirement that a civil partnership be registered in ‘a place that is open to the public’ precludes registrations taking place in a private dwelling or a courtyard, garden, yard, field or piece of ground that is lying near to and usually enjoyed with the private dwelling.
It is important that you do not enter into any binding arrangements with the venue until the registrar has confirmed that he/she is available to register your civil partnership on the date and at the venue in question.
Please note there will be additional fees for civil partnership registration at venues other than the office of a Registrar. The Registrar will advise you of what fees are due when you are giving your notification.
Use of interpreters
The services of an accredited interpreter must be obtained where any of the parties to the civil partnership does not have sufficient knowledge of the language of the civil partnership to understand it. It is the responsibility of the couple to arrange this service.
The fees charged for a civil partnership certificate are as follows;
- €20 for a full standard certificate
- €1 for a copy for social welfare purposes (letter from Department of Social Protection required)
- €4 for an uncertified copy of an entry in the Register
- €10 to have a certificate authenticated (only available from the General Register Office)
Embassy / Diplomatic Mission Civil Partnerships
Civil Partnerships performed at foreign embassies/ diplomatic missions in Ireland are not regarded as valid in Ireland. However, when commenced section 26(1) of the Civil Registration (Amendment) Act 2014 will provide for the validation of certain civil partnerships, carried out during the period commencing on 1 January 2011 and ending on the day before the commencement of this section, at foreign embassies or diplomatic missions in the State.
In the meantime, Section 26(2) (a) of the Civil Registration (Amendment) Act 2014 provides the opportunity for both parties or the surviving party to a civil partnership that took place in an embassy or diplomatic mission in the State, during the period commencing on 1 January 2011 and ending on the day before the commencement of the relevant amendment to the Principal Act, to notify the registrar in writing of their intention not to validate the Civil Partnership. This provision is valid during the period 4 December 2014 and the commencement of Section 26(1) of the above mentioned Act only. Anyone availing of the provision may not subsequently have the said Civil Partnership validated.
Civil Partnership outside of Ireland
The Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act, 2010 provides for the recognition of registered foreign relationships. Any enquiries in relation to such orders should be directed to the Department of Justice and Law Reform - LoCall 1890 221-227.
The General Register Office has no function in advising on, or in the registration of, civil partnerships which take place outside Ireland. There is no facility for registering such civil partnerships in the State.
Recognition of foreign civil partnerships, under section 5 orders, has been repealed for civil partnerships which have been entered into by two parties on or after 16th May 2016.
A couple in an existing foreign civil partnership may marry each other in the State, provided they satisfy existing marriage legislation.