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Marrying abroad: United Kingdom

Updated: Aug 17, 2021

In recent years in Bulgaria more and more same-sex couples are living openly, creating families and raising children. In quite a few cases, couples from Bulgaria choose to travel abroad in order to get married there. The EU countries that give same-sex couples the right to marry are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Sweden.

If you have any questions about getting married abroad or about the rights of same-sex couples in Bulgaria, contact us at or on our Facebook or Instagram.

We would be delighted if you would share with us your story of why you married your mate or why you wish to do so in the future.

If you wish to marry in the UK (England and Wales) you can do so without the requirement you have lived in the country for a large period of time.

When you apply, the following options are open to you:

- apply for a special visa (Marriage Visitor visa) with a 6 month limitation period, which is entirely for foreign nationals who have no intention of remaining to live in the UK after marriage and once approved to apply;

- apply directly to the registry office.

The website (Welcome to GOV.UK) says that if you choose to apply without being approved for a visa, UK immigration will be informed. They are likely to contact you to ask questions about your relationship and yourself. If this happens, you will need to wait up to 70 days before you can make the alliance. There is also a small risk that your application will be rejected, which will prevent you from reapplying.

There is a requirement that you have lived for a minimum of 7 days in the region where you will be applying to marry. After submitting it, you can at the earliest after 29 days hold the ceremony and finalize the process. Two witnesses are required to be present during the ceremony.

The documents you must submit on the day of application include:

- details of the venue;

- identity card/passport;

- documents to prove that you have spent the last 7 days at your UK address.

You can learn more about:


By 15 September 2021, the Bulgarian government must submit a written statement on Lily and Dari's case to the ECtHR. Some time ago, we told you about the story of Lily and Dari - a gay female couple who married in the UK in 2016, the fruit of a long-standing relationship that began in 2009.

Upon their return to Bulgaria, they are denied recognition of their marriage by our institutions, thus exhausting all domestic remedies.

Deystvie has filed a case with the European Court of Human Rights in September 2020. The court's case law says that same-sex couples need legal recognition and protection of their relationship, such as the form of protection provided by the institution of registered cohabitation.

Keep an eye on our Facebook page for updates on developments in the case.


Since 2014 LGBT Youth Deystvie has been providing free counselling and legal assistance to people from the LGBTI community for violations of their rights. You can register on our legal platform through this link:

This publication is produced in the framework of the National LGBTI Legal Programme project. The main goal of the project is to empower the LGBTI community by providing direct access to legal protection through the National LGBTI Legal Programme in the cities of Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas and Veliko Tarnovo. The filing of cases leads to official national statistics and official coverage of an existing problem, which in turn will lead to changes in legislation and improved lives for LGBTI people in Bulgaria.

This publication has been produced with the financial support of the Active Citizens Fund Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area. The entire responsibility for the content of this document lies with LGBT Youth Action and under no circumstances can it be assumed that this document reflects the official position of the EEA Financial Mechanism.

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