Home Secretary Theresa May said forced marriage was an “appalling practice” and criminalising it would send “a strong message that it will not be tolerated”. It is already illegal in Scotland.
The new law will distinguish between forced marriages, where there is no consent, and arranged marriages where “both parties have consented to the union but can still refuse to marry if they choose to”.
A Home Office consultation, which ended in March, was launched at the request of Prime Minister David Cameron, who has said forced marriage is “little more than slavery” and “completely wrong”.
The new law will not apply to Northern Ireland, but ministers there will be able to introduce their own legislation, the Home Office said.
An estimated 8,000 young women a year are forced into marriages.
However, campaigners fear the plan could deter victims from coming forward because they do not want their relatives to end up with a criminal record.