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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 do not 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:

  • UK
  • Germany
  • Finland
  • Vermont, or
  • New Jersey.

How you apply

1. Complete the form

From civil union to marriage

Notice of intended marriage, change of relationship from civil union form BDM 59 (PDF 210KB)

Notice of intended marriage, change of relationship from civil union form BDM 59 (TXT 21KB)

From marriage to civil union

Notice of intended civil union, change of relationship from marriage form BDM 359 (PDF 204KB)

Notice of intended civil union, change of relationship from marriage form BDM 359 (TXT 21KB)

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.

Find a registrar of marriages

3. Pay the fee

It costs:

  • $150 for the marriage licence (the celebrant costs extra – you’ll pay them directly). If you are having a registry ceremony the fee you pay the celebrant directly is $90.

You can pay when you make your declaration by:

  • credit, debit or prepaid gift card (for example Prezzy card)
  • EFTPOS.

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.

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