Marriage by Proxy is valid in the UK by the immigration rules?

Getting married overseas by proxy or by internet  … “doing or not doing, that is the question!


        Working in UK in the immigration matters, is quiet common to have clients whom ask questions about to get married by proxy and if it’s will be valid upon UK Immigration law.

The answer is >>>>>> >> YES  it will be valid !

       Who is not a  specialist in international Law  probably don’t understand about that, and they really think it is impossible to be done abroad and likely  will think this kind of marriage is not  be  valid in the UK. what is a wrong thought.

 What the Law says?

“Marriage in the United Kingdom

1. To be valid, all marriages which take place in the United Kingdom must be:”

1.1 Monogamous  and  carried out in accordance with the requirements of the Marriage Acts 1949-1994

1.2 The domicile of the parties is not relevant. This also applies to a marriage conducted on the premises of a foreign embassy or consulate, which is regarded, in English law, as being a part of the country in which it is situated and not as foreign territory.

         However, such a marriage will only be valid if the building has been listed as an approved building for civil marriages under the Marriage Act 1994.

     The  Law in the UK does not allow marriages to be contracted in the country either:

. with one of the parties represented by appointed proxy ; or

. where the proceedings are conducted over the telephone ( same for internet marriage)

        However, if the Law in the country where the marriage was contracted is valid and these countries can recognise either form of marriage  will be valid in the UK for sure.

    That means, will be as valid where they are contracted in those country,  where the local law does permit.


   When the marriage either by proxy or telephone  or by internet and the proceedings of any particular marriage appear to satisfy the requirements of that law then, in accordance with the normal rules on recognition of foreign marriages  the marriage should be treated as valid for all purposes of United Kingdom law.

   Its very important to  read and listen the guidance on the local validity of foreign proxy and telephone marriages.

      Some instances occurs  of marriages contracted between a person resident in the United Kingdom and another party resident overseas( in Portugal or Brazil for example) and will appoint a proxy (e.g. a brother) to stand in for him at the ceremony with the bride overseas.( Brazil or Portugal  for example)

      On other occasions, the exchange of vows between the two parties may take place over the telephone between the 2 countries. In the absence of a clear interpretation of the law on the validity of such trans-national marriages, there is authority for determining their validity in the following way.


a. the law of the country requires a ceremony, and

b. a ceremony takes place with the participation of a proxy in that country, then the country where the marriage is celebrated is the country in which the ceremony occurred, not the country from which the proxy was appointed and instructed by the sponsor – This such a marriage might well be valid.

             Where no ceremony is required under the law, and a marriage can be concluded by an exchange of promises, it will be more difficult to identify the country in which the marriage is celebrated and under the law of which it must be recognised.

       Conclusion, if the countries where the marriage is being celebrating  allows the marriage by proxy, UK law says that doesn’t have reason to that marriage be denied.

                Some countries like Brazil the marriage by proxy may be done by proxy  and both of parties don’t need to be there in person. In Portugal needs at least one of the parties be present.

          The international law  cannot interfere in the law of other country about some  rights if has not legal prevision or determination from the local rules where should the marriage be  approved.

The Immigration law until now in the UK does not have any prohibition against marriage by proxy if  it was contracted  abroad and those country allows this kind of  marriage .


         This article was written by Claudia M Vieira – Lawyer at Farani Javid Taylor Solicitors LLP ( London City office – 1 Red Lion Court  )



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