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Legal & practical issues of getting married abroad

Written by    Last updated: June 6, 2006

Make sure you’re prepared for all the legal requirements paperwork and practicalities of getting married abroad… .

Make sure you’re prepared for all the paperwork and practicalities of getting married abroad…

Residency and legal requirements

Most countries have rules about residency ‐‐ the time you need to have been there for ‐‐ before you can get married (check the detailed breakdown for each destination), but this is usually only a few days. If you are using a tour operator, the legalities of your wedding will be dealt with by them. However, it’s a good idea to check that all legal requirements will be taken care of. If you are arranging everything yourself you will need to get accurate advice from the consulate or embassy of the country concerned.

You will most certainly need to supply copies of the following before you travel, taking the originals with you to be produced before your ceremony:

  • birth certificates
  • valid 10‐year passports
  • affidavit/statutory declarations confirming single status
  • Decree Absolute (if you are divorced)
  • previous spouse’s death certificate (if you are widowed)
  • parental consent if you are under 18 (21 in some countries)

What are Affidavits/Statutory Declarations?

An affidavit or statutory declaration is a legal document that can be obtained from a commissioner of oaths (a solicitor authorised to authenticate oaths). It’s important to note that the requirements for a Single Status Statutory Declaration are per person (not a joint declaration). These must state that you are both free to marry, that you are single, divorced or widowed and must be signed and stamped by a solicitor. The declaration should also contain your full name, address, nationality, religion, passport number and occupation. This document must be obtained within three months of your intended date of wedding and must also state your intent to marry in the destination you have chosen. The cost will vary from area to area depending on court charges.

A sample affidavit might read:

I (name, nationality, passport number and occupation) do solemnly and sincerely declare as follows:

I declare that I have always been known by the name ……….

I also declare that I understand that I am free to contract marriage according to the legal requirements for marriage in (destination), and I make this Solemn Declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true and by virtue of the provisions of the Statutory Declaration Act 1835. Declared by (name) at (address) and (date) signed by (solicitor’s name and official stamp).

To find out more see Getting married abroad

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One thought on “Legal & practical issues of getting married abroad

  1. tass says:

    hi..actually i have a conjugal partner,and i am sponsoring him…i must make 2,3 persons make statutory declarations upon our relationships..wher must i go to do it??