Change a civil union to a marriage
You can change your civil union to a marriage (or your marriage to a civil union) without dissolving your current relationship. You need to complete a form and hold another marriage or civil union ceremony.
Who can do it
You can stay in a relationship with someone but change:
- your marriage to a civil union, or
- your civil union to a marriage.
You don't have to dissolve your current marriage or civil union, but you need to apply for a new marriage or civil union licence and hold a marriage or civil union ceremony.
If the original marriage or civil union was held overseas
You can change an overseas marriage to a civil union in New Zealand.
To change a civil union to a marriage in NZ, the original civil union must have happened in:
- Vermont, or
- New Jersey.
How you apply
1. Complete the form
You need to show evidence of your current marriage or civil union. This could be:
- a marriage certificate
- the Copy of Particulars of Marriage from your ceremony.
2. Sign the form in front of a Registrar of Marriages
You or your partner needs to take the notice to your local Registrar of Marriages in person so they can witness you signing the declaration. You need to do this at least 3 working days before your marriage or civil union ceremony will be held.
3. Pay the fee
- $240 if you’re holding the new ceremony at a registry office, or
- $150 if you’re using a celebrant (the celebrant costs extra – you’ll pay them directly).
You can pay when you make your declaration by:
- credit card
- New Zealand money order
- cheque — who you make the cheque payable to depends on which registrar of marriages you’re making your declaration to.
If you both live outside NZ
You can complete the form without signing the declaration and post it to the registry office closest to where you’ll have the ceremony to change your relationship.
You’ll need to visit the Registrar of Marriages to sign the form in person at least 3 working days before the ceremony.