Make sure you know the marriage laws before you leave
Every country has their own specific requirements for a legally binding wedding, so If you want your wedding to be legal back home, there is some important information on this page to help get you started for some of our most popular destinations.
However, if you read the information below and still have questions, feel free to give us a call. When you book with us, we can help you sort out the details and be sure you have all your ducks in a row before you leave for your wedding. Don’t leave this important matter to chance – helping you with matters like this is one of the many value-added benefits you receive at no extra cost to you when you choose to book your destination wedding with us.
[Legal Disclaimer – Please read before consulting guidelines listed below: As laws, ordinances, and other legal requirements change from time to time across the world, we can not be responsible for any inaccurate or out-of-date information listed below. We do our best to keep the information current. However, we are NOT lawyers, nor international marriage law experts. We simply provide this information as a value-added service. If you have any questions or are not sure who to contact to verify this information, please ask us.].
Another, less complicated option for Destination Weddings is a symbolic ceremony
In a symbolic wedding, the couple have already been married in the U.S. Then they have the wedding of their dreams without having to worry about whether or not the paperwork was properly processed.
In places where there are a lot of regulations, The Dominican Republic and Tahiti to name two, this is a particularly good idea.
Listing of Top Destination Wedding Legal Requirements
Please Note: Legal requirements listed below are the most up-to-date information we have on file. You may want to contact your destination of choice’s consulate or department of travel to insure there have been no changes. If you don’t know who to contact, we would be happy to help you locate the proper authority.
In order to be married in Antigua, a special license must be obtained.
- Valid passport, or birth certificate and valid ID picture: e.g. driver’s license or state issued ID (UK / European residents, beware, the latter refers to US citizens; lose your passport and you can not marry!)
- Proof of Status:
- Single – a declaration is signed within Antigua and Barbuda
- Divorced – Original Decree Absolute which includes the seal of the court where the Decree is issued
- Widow / Widower – Marriage Certificate and Death Certificate of husband / wife.
- Application form is filled out and signed at the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs in St. John’s. All applicants must be over the age of 18 years old. If under, then written parental consent must be obtained.
- There is NO waiting time in the country in order to obtain a Special License.
- The petition for a Special License shall be accompanied by a fee of US $150.00.
- Both parties must be present at the time of the application.
Thanks to a new marriage law passed by the Aruba Parliament recently, couples wishing to have a legal marriage ceremony in Aruba can now do so.
The following is some updated information that includes the necessary requirements to be legally married in Aruba.
The documents required are:
- Copies of birth certificate for bride and groom with apostille (state certification).
- Passport picture page or valid state issued picture ID for Bride & Groom.
- Witness (18 years up) passport picture page or valid state issued picture ID (minimum 2 witnesses).
- Certificate of no impediment for bride and groom (also referred to as a single status report and in some states called a negative statement of marriage). Apostilles are required for “negative statement of marriage”)
- If either party has been divorced a copy of the 1st and last page of the divorce decree(s) is required.
- If either party is a widow(er) copy of death certificate is required.
Couples who wish to be married in Australia are required to submit a Notice of the intended marriage with their chosen celebrant. The form must be submitted at least one month before the marriage is to take place (and no earlier than six months before the marriage). This form must be signed and witnessed either by an Australian Consular Official or Diplomatic Officer.
Personal identification (such as a passport, birth certificate etc.) is also required. Check with your celebrant to ensure you have the correct legal identification.
- The Bahamas
Bahamian law requires that a couple must reside in the Bahamas for 24 hours prior to applying for an application for a Bahamian marriage license. The license is then valid for 90 days.
- Both parties must be in The Commonwealth of The Bahamas at the time of application. If you are a minor under 18 years of age, you must have written parental consent. Consent forms can be obtained from the Registrar General’s office.
- If you are divorced, you must produce an original final divorce decree or a certified copy with a raised or color seal.
- If you are widowed, you must produce a death certificate for the deceased spouse.
- If you are a U.S. citizen or resident that has never been married, you must complete a sworn declaration before a Bahamian Notary Public or a U.S. Consul at the American Embassy in Nassau or immigration card.
- If you are an unmarried citizen or resident of a country other than the United States, you must furnish a sworn declaration before a Notary Public or other person authorized to administer oaths in your country and this document must accompany the marriage license application. A declaration may also be obtained at a Notary Public in Nassau.
- You must provide government-issued photo identification from your country of residence, i.e. a passport.
No blood test is necessary.
- You must provide evidence of your arrival date to The Bahamas, such as an airline ticket
It is very easy to get married in Barbados as there is no required waiting period or minimum length of stay. Application for a marriage licence must be made by both parties in person at the office of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Applications for marriage licences must be made between the hours of 8.30 a.m and 3.30 p.m Monday to Friday. You will require:
- Valid passports and birth certificates.
- Return tickets.
- If either party was divorced, an original Decree Absolute or a certified copy of the Final Judgment. The Decree Nisi is not accepted.
- If either party was previously married and widowed, a certified copy of the Marriage Certificate and Death Certificate in respect of the deceased spouse.
- For a Roman Catholic ceremony, the relevant documents must be sent by your bishop to the bishop of Bridgetown.
- Where necessary, all documents not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation.
- Arrangements should be made with a Magistrate or Marriage Officer to perform the wedding ceremony, prior to applying for the marriage license. A letter from either the Magistrate or Marriage Officer must be presented at the time of making the application.
- Couples getting married must reside in Belize for at least three days prior to their license application being processed. Applications must be made with the Registrar General’s Office in Belize City.
- Proof of citizenship is required (i.e. valid passport).
- If applicable, a certified copy or an original copy of your divorce decree or a death certificate is required in the event that one of the partners getting married is a widow or widower.
- A blood test is not required.
- Consent from a parent is not required, if both partners are over 18 years of age.
- Two witnesses must be present at the ceremony.
- The marriage must be registered with the Belize Registry Department after the marriage ceremony has been completed.
Marrying in Bermuda is very simple. Here are the 3 steps necessary for a legal wedding.
- Complete a Notice of Intended Marriage
- Choose a Wedding Location. Your many options fall into two categories:
- Civil ceremonies may be performed in the Registry General’s Marriage Room.
- Ceremonies may be held in a church or other location with the consent of a member of the clergy.
- Ensure You Have Two Witnesses – The witnesses must be over 18 years of age and must be present at the ceremony. The Registrar will happily supply witnesses but Monday to Friday only.
For the official marriage petition the following documents are required for both the bride and groom:
Photo copy of first page of passport (Signature & Photo page)
- Original Birth Certificate endorsed with an Apostille
- Declaration of Marital Status by the Civil Registry
- If divorced or widowed, divorce decree or document of proof is required.
After arrival on Bonaire, it takes four working days to arrange for all the forms to be processed. If you are arriving on a Saturday or Sunday and the following Monday happens to be a holiday, you will have to wait the four working days until you are able to marry and there may be a problem getting the permission arranged on time.
The best suggestion is to allow a full week for the papers to go through.
- Cayman Islands
Couples, including those arriving by cruise ship for their Cayman Islands wedding can marry the same day they arrive in the Cayman Islands. Just be sure to have the following:
- A non-residents marriage license, and…
- A letter from the authorized Marriage Officer who is to officiate.
- Costa Rica
Getting married in Costa Rica is a simple and straightforward process with a few requirements. By law two witnesses are required to attest that they know the couple and that the bride and groom are each entering marriage by their own will and are each legally able to be married (they are both single).
- A valid passport is required for the bride, the groom and each witness. Copies of each are required for the notary prior to the ceremony.
- Two witnesses must be present at the ceremony. Anyone can be a witness, and we can assist in providing a witness for you, if needed, at no additional cost.
- Certificate of marital status for groom and bride is required
- A wedding information questionnaire must be completed prior to the ceremony
It is not necessary to visit or reside in Costa Rica for any period of time before getting married. The documents brought by you do not need to be translated into Spanish, and you do not need to bring the original copies.
You do not need to apply for a marriage license from your Home Country or in Costa Rica. According to Costa Rican law, women do not change their last name when they get married. In the legal documentation and in your marriage certificate, your names will appear as they currently appear on your passports. You can start the process in order to change your last name in your Country of Residence if you wish to do so when your marriage certificate is sent to your Country.
You will need to send a written marriage petition to the town hall. The letter must be signed by both parties and provide two wedding date and times. Provide birth certificates with the parents’ names. Provide an international declaration of unmarried status by the civil registration of the parties’ hometowns and an apostille/legalization. If either party is divorced or widowed, bring a copy of the divorce decree or a death certificate plus an apostille/legalization of proof required. This has to be done at the Netherlands embassy in the country of the parties residence. None of the documents provided can be older than 6 months by the time of the wedding. A witness brought from the parties home country must be at least 21 years of age. Provide the full name of the witness together with their address and date of birth. The witness will need a copy of a valid passport and the witness should apply for temporary residence. A wedding planner can arrange for local witnesses if the parties choose. A photo copy of each passport should be furnished. All documents need to be original and recent and apostille.
- Dominican Republic
Once you have chosen the Dominican Republic to celebrate your wedding before a justice of the peace, remember that you must bring the following documents:
- Photocopies of your passports.
- Photocopies of your birth certificates.
- Sworn statement that you are unmarried.
- In the event that either of the spouses is divorced, a copy of the divorce decree must be submitted.
- Two adult witnesses with valid passports.
All these documents must be legalized by the Dominican Consulate in the country of residence and translated into Spanish.
Legal weddings can also be done by the Catholic Church, subject to the rules of the church. Both parties must be Catholic etc.
Getting married in Fiji is relatively simple and straightforward with no real legal problems. All that they require is
- Original birth certificate,
- Your passports,
- A Decree Nisi/Absolute, if you are divorced, a death certificate of your spouse, if you are a widow/er,
- An officially witnessed consent by your parents, if you are under the age of 21 and a letter confirming your marital status and that you are single. Only citizens of New Zealand, Australia, UK, USA and Canada, do not require this letter.
To get married in Fiji you and your partner need to visit the Registry office to apply for a marriage license. These formalities take just 15 minutes, and you can obtain your license within one working day. Original documents must be presented when you visit the Registry office in person, while a photocopy of the required documents must be sent to the office, at least 2 weeks prior to your intended wedding date. If you wish to have a Catholic wedding, you will also need a Letter of Freedom from your church, along with your baptism certificate. These documents must be sent to the priest in Fiji 2 to 3 months in advance.
The process for getting married can vary slightly between regions and islands so it is suggested to verify requirements with the local City Hall, and/or with the presiding religious leader in the case of a religious ceremony.
A wedding notice must be published in one local newspaper or (in small towns) posted at the town hall in the Greek language eight days before the application for the marriage license can be submitted. One notice must be published or posted for the bride, and one notice must be published or posted for the groom. The names on the notice should be phonetically written in Greek and not in Latin characters.
The following are required of foreigners applying for a marriage license in Greece (the bride and groom must each submit these documents):
- A passport
- A valid residence permit (if applicable)
- An original or certified copy of the applicant’s birth certificate, along with an official translation into Greek. The birth certificate should have an Apostille stamp (see below)
- If either has been married before, a death certificate or final divorce decree, along with an official translation into Greek
- A Certificate of No Impediment, which must be completed in English and Greek and notarized at the applicable Embassy
- A copy of the newspaper in which the wedding notices were published (if applicable)
- The court decision approving the marriage for those under 18 years of age
- Application fee
Two sets of the above documents are required if both civil and religious ceremonies are to be performed. One set is for the town hall and the other for the priest.
All legal documents submitted for the marriage which are not in Greek must be officially translated into Greek. The term official translation means a translation that has been made and certified by a lawyer, a certified translator or by the Greek Foreign Ministry’s Department of Translation (Μεταφραστική Υπηρεσία / Metafrastiki Ipirresia). For those outside of Greece, the Greek Consulate in their home country can offer official translations. A fee is payable for translation services.
All marriages in Greece, whether civil or religious, must be registered at the local Registrar’s Office/Office of Vital Statistics (Lixiarhio) within 40 days following the ceremony. Registration can be done by the bride or groom, or by any individual who is in possession of a power of attorney signed before a Notary Public giving them the authority to register the marriage. Once registered, a Marriage Certificate (lixiarchiki praxi gamou) will be issued within three days and can be picked up or sent via the mail.
US citizens planning to marry in Italy must present certain documents and comply with specific requirements of Italian law in order to obtain a marriage license.
The original Birth Certificate, with Apostille and translated into Italian should show the names of both parents.
EVIDENCE OF TERMINATION OF ANY PREVIOUS MARRIAGE (E.G.: FINAL DIVORCE DECREE, ANNULMENT DECREE OR DEATH CERTIFICATE OF FORMER SPOUSE)
If you will be married in the Roman Catholic Church, bring baptismal and confirmation certificates. If however any previous divorce, annulment or death has been recorded properly on the Atto Notorio then these documents are no longer necessary.
Before leaving the United States to get married in Italy, it is advisable to obtain an Atto Notorio from the Italian Consulate closest to your current residence.
Atto Notorio: This is a declaration, in addition to the sworn statement described under point 4, stating that according to the laws to which the citizen is subject in the United States there is no obstacle to his/her marriage.
ONCE IN ITALY
A declaration (Nulla Osta or Affidavit) is required by Italian law.
A Nulla Osta literally states that “there are no impediments,” or that one is free to marry, according to the laws of the State of which the citizen is a resident. Your legal status must be such that you can legally marry under Italian and US law.
Any previous marriage of the bride must have been dissolved at least 300 days before the date of the proposed marriage: a woman whose previous marriage was terminated within the last 300 days must obtain a waiver from the Procura della Repubblica presso il Tribunale (District Attorney’s office) at the Palazzo di Giustizia (Courthouse), in the city where the new marriage will be performed. Such waiver is issued upon presentation of medical evidence that the applicant is not pregnant.
Note: All documents originating out of Italy (birth legality of the marriage).
DOCUMENTS EXPIRING DATE
Under Italian law, all public documents — regardless of their origin — are considered valid for only six months from the date of issue. Americans are therefore advised to make sure that all documents to be submitted to Italian authorities have not been issued more than six months ahead of the marriage.
Since Jamaica’s tropical climate does not vary from season to season, planning a wedding or honeymoon anytime from May to December can save those couples with budgetary concerns up to 40% on hotels and other costs.
Unlike many countries, Jamaica does not expect you take a blood test before getting married. However, the following documentation is required:
- Proof of citizenship – certified copy of birth certificate, which includes father’s name.
- Parent’s written consent if under 18 years of age.
- Proof of divorce if applicable (original certificate of divorce).
- Certified copy of death certificate for widow or widower.
- Visitors can be married just 24 hours after arriving in Jamaica, providing prior application has been made for a marriage license.
- You will need your certified birth certificate and a valid passport.
- Copy of a photo ID such as valid driver’s license.
- Original health certificates, no older than 15 days from the wedding day.
- Orginal blood test results comlete of each one, including HIV, RPR (sexually transmitted diseases) and Blood type.
- These results must be taken no more than 14 days before wedding date. The results will take 24 hrs to be ready.
- Divorce certificate if one or both of you is divorced.
- FMT Tourist Card. (you will get this from the airline when you fly in.)
- Four legally qualified witnesses (over 18) who must be present.
- New Zealand
You will need to complete a “Notice of Intended Marriage” form which is obtained from the Office of Births Deaths and Marriages. The form incorporates a statutory declaration that can be signed when one of the parties to the intended marriage lodges the form or picks up the license.
Applicants aged 16 and 17 need parental/guardian consent. Those who have been previously married need to provide evidence of the dissolution of the previous marriage or their current status.
Hint: If being married outdoors, and with Auckland’s variable weather, it is recommended you indicate on your license an alternate all-weather venue.
Allow at least three working days for your application to be processed. Once the license is issued, it is valid for 90 days. Ceremonies may take place at any time, on any day, but only at the location specified on the Marriage License.
Only a licensed independent marriage celebrant can conduct a wedding ceremony in New Zealand in a form chosen by the parties where they exchange the following words: “I …. take you …. to be my legal wife/husband” (or words to similar effect). This means your vows can be in words that you choose, as long as the intent is clear.
- St. Lucia
The following original documents are required to be produced in person before the local registrar (foreign documents must be translated into English):
- Birth Certificate
- Proof of Absolute, if one of the parties is divorced.
- A Death Certificate for the former spouse, in the case of a widow/widower.
- A Deed Pool, if a name has been changed.
- Evidence of parental consent, in the form of a notarized sworn affidavit, if one of the parties is under the age of 18.
- Residency Application to be married in St. Lucia must be made by a local solicitor to the Attorney General, who will issue a marriage license after a two-day residency period. It takes two business days to process the application.
- Turks & Caicos
- Original Birth Certificate
- Both parties must be in The Turks and Caicos Islands at the time of the application
- Persons wishing to be married in the Turks and Caicos Islands may do so after one day (24 hours). Before an application for a Marriage License can be made to the Registrar in Grand Turk. The ceremony can then take place after a period of 2-3 days or at any time after the application has been granted
- Proof of marital status – If single a sworn affidavit is required. If one of the parties is a divorcee, then a Divorce Decree is required, either the original or a notarized copy, sealed by a Court Clerk.
- In the case of a Widow/Widower a Death Certificate of the previous spouse is required.
- In the case of change of name by Deed Poll or Adoption, then proof is required
- If either party is unmarried, being a citizen or resident of a country other than the U.S.A., a declaration certifying this fact must be sworn before a Notary Public or other person authorized to administer oaths in that country and must accompany the application for the marriage license.
- If under the age of 21, then consent of one or both parents or guardian, in the form of an affidavit stamped by the Notary Public
The marriage parties must not be within the prohibited degree of relationships to each other. Include a letter stating both party’s occupations, marital status, age as of last birthday, present address of residence and fathers full name.
- For church weddings, Ministers may require proof of membership
- The parties must produce evidence of the date of their arrival in The Turks and Caicos Islands
- No blood test is necessary
- Tahiti (French Polynesia)
There are a myriad of regulations for marriages in Tahiti. Here are some of them:
Weddings in the islands of Tahiti are now legally binding for American and Canadian nationals. Please note that this process will take approximately three to five months to complete. So, be sure and plan ahead!
Eligibility to Get Married in Tahiti
- Both spouses must be at least 18 years old.
- Neither spouse can be currently married.
- Spouses must be of the opposite sex.
- The couple cannot be related by direct lineage.
- The couple cannot be French nationals or residents of France
- The bride and the groom must each choose a witness who must be 18 years of age or older (if the chosen witness is not present, the mayor’s office can provide a witness).
- The “Marriage of Foreign Citizens in French Polynesia” application must be completed.
- A letter signed and dated by both future spouses, addressed to the mayor of the commune chosen for the marriage ceremony.
- A copy of both spouses’ passports is required for proof of identity
- A certified copy of both spouses’ birth certificates authenticated with an “Apostille” (note: the birth certificates must have been issued less than 6 months prior to the date of the marriage). Both of the birth certificates and the “Apostille” must be translated into French by an approved translator and legalized by the French Consulate. Translators can be found on the consulate’s website.
- A “Certificate of Non-Marital Status” (“Certificat de Celibat”) signed by a lawyer, translated into French and legalized by the French Consulate. Lawyers can be found on the consulate’s website.
- Proof of residency for both of the future spouses (a utility bill or any bill noting names and physical address will suffice). A photocopy of bills for both spouses is acceptable.
- Optional, if a prenuptial agreement has been created, it must be translated into French and authenticated by the French Consulate.