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Coronavirus: Registration of Births, Deaths, Marriages and Civil Partnerships

Coronavirus: Registration of Births, Deaths, Marriages and Civil Partnerships
15 July 2020

In line with guidance from the Depute Registrar General and the Scottish Government, registration services are provided in Orkney subject to the following restrictions:

Registration of birth

Please telephone the Kirkwall Registration Office on the undernoted telephone number to make an appointment to have the birth of your baby registered.  Registration is by appointment only.

Please call the Senior Registrar on the undernoted telephone number to discuss registering the birth of your child.

Registration of death

Deaths may be registered meantime via telephone appointment only with a Registrar in Kirkwall.  Please call the Senior Registrar on the undernoted telephone number.

Submission of marriage or civil partnership notices

Marriage and civil partnership notice forms are now being received.  For further information, please call or email the Senior Registrar whose details are undernoted. 

Scheduling marriage and civil partnership ceremonies

By law, a marriage or civil partnership ceremony may take place 29 days after marriage or civil partnership notices have been submitted.  If notices are submitted separately, this 29-day period follows receipt of the second set of notices.

Notice period

Normally marriage and civil partnership notices are valid for a 90-day period.  However, if a marriage or civil partnership is delayed due to COVID-19, please contact the Senior Registrar on the undernoted telephone number to request that the notice period is extended. There is no charge for this function.

Special dispensation to marry

In exceptional circumstances, couples may require special dispensation to be married or have a civil partnership within the 29-day period.  For more information, please get in touch with the Senior Registrar to discuss.

Marriage and civil partnership ceremonies

Marriage and civil partnership ceremonies can take place.  Ceremonies must adhere to the government guidelines.


  • Ceremonies can take place outdoors or indoors.
  • Physical distancing measures must be in place at all times.


  • Up to 20 people may attend where venues are able to allow that number to attend safely.
  • The maximum attendance of 20 people does not any limitation on numbers of households.
  • The maximum attendance of 20 people does include the registrar, celebrant, photographer and guests.


  • To minimise the chance of exposure to COVID-19, any potential participant in a ceremony or other attendee who has symptoms or is self-isolating should not attend.
  • If either party, the witnesses or anyone else attending the ceremony shows clear symptoms of COVID-19 on the day, the marriage or civil partnership should not go ahead.
  • Any person who is shielding should continue to follow Scottish Government guidance on shielding.
  • Any person who becomes unwell with symptoms of COVID-19 should return home and be advised to follow guidance on what to do when you develop symptoms.
  • Attendees should continue to practise good hand and cough hygiene (including the handling of rings and other objects, such as those associated with hand-fasting, and so on).
  • Face coverings can be worn as a desirable, precautionary measure by parties, witnesses and guests at an indoor ceremony (additional guidance on face coverings is available at:

In addition, to assist with contact tracing where a potential outbreak of COVID-19 is linked to a specific venue, the Registrar may require to collect minimal contact details from attendees at the ceremony.  This information will support NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect service and form part of the effort to suppress COVID-19.

We are available to provide support and information to all couples considering a marriage ceremony.  Please contact the Senior Registrar to discuss.


Group citizenship ceremonies have been cancelled for now.  Please contact the Senior Registrar if you wish to enquire about completion of the naturalisation process.

Extracts, certificates or searches

Requests for certificates or searches will only be accepted over the telephone.  All orders will be provided by post.  You will not be able to collect these in person.

Home-based Registrars

The Home-based Registrars in North Ronaldsay, Papa Westray, Westray, Sanday, Stronsay, Eday, Stromness, Hoy and Flotta will NOT be undertaking any registrations until further notice due to current COVID-19 restrictions at present.  Anyone on those islands requiring a registration service should contact the Senior Registrar, in the first instance, for advice.

The above restrictions will be kept under review and may be subject to further change in accordance with legislation or guidance.

If you have any queries, or need further advice, please call the Senior Registrar on 01856 886333.  Email:

School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY

Telephone: 01856 873535

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Orkney Islands Council: BOREAS DOMUS MARE AMICUS