The Church of England must ensure that non-EEA nationals apply for a licence in order to marry within the UK. This change took effect from 12 April 2011.
This involves the person making a sworn declaration, recognized in law. If a member of the clergy is not satisfied that the marriage is genuine, this will be communicated to the person responsible for issuing the licence.
The Church may ask for paperwork which proves the couples right to marry together with evidence of identity and official correspondence. In addition to the above, the couple would most likely be visited at their named address.
There have been 155 arrests across the UK which related to sham marriages; as a direct result of improved awareness and co-operation between the UK Border Agency and the Church of England.
Sham marriages often occur when a person believes that this will give them the automatic right to settle in the UK. This is not the case.