Are you thinking about saying your vows on a tropical beach as the sun sets behind the endless ocean? Before you get wrapped up in a romantic daydream about your special day, make sure you understand the technicalities of what you need to do to make that happen. To get married abroad in a destination wedding, you’ll need to follow the local laws and requirements of the country where you plan to marry. The process can be time-consuming and expensive, so it’s essential to do thorough research and plan ahead. While every country will have different expectations, here’s a brief overview of the documentation requirements for marrying abroad.
Marrying in a Foreign Country as Two U.S. Citizens
Many couples dream of hopping on a plane and getting married in a beautiful location in another country. Sometimes, it may involve organizing a destination-driven event for a large group of friends and family, while other couples prefer to celebrate their special day alone. If both you and your spouse are U.S. citizens, here are a few documentation requirements for marrying abroad in most other countries:
- Decide if you want to legally be married by foreign officials or if it’s okay for the ceremony abroad to be symbolic. Some couples will perform the legal ceremony within the U.S. and then have a symbolic wedding abroad. If you want the legal paperwork and ceremony to align, you must follow the specific requirements of the country where you plan to marry.
- Research the requirements of the other country. Each country has its own set of requirements for getting married. These can include special documentation, blood tests, waiting periods, witnesses, and extra fees. Contact the embassy or tourist information bureau of the country where you plan to marry to learn about specific requirements.
- Gather the necessary documents. The documents needed to get married abroad depend on local regulations. Some of the most common requirements for U.S. citizens include valid passports, birth certificates, divorce or death certificates (if applicable), and an Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry or a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage. You will likely need the original and a certified translation of each.
- Authenticate your foreign marriage certificate. After your ceremony, you must authenticate your foreign marriage certificate to be recognized in the United States. Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country where you got married for assistance with this process.
Marrying in a Foreign Country as a U.S. Citizen and a Citizen of the Destination Country
Thanks to the internet, the world has become smaller, and more people than ever and now meeting (and falling in love with) citizens of foreign countries. If your spouse is a citizen of the country in which you’ll marry, the steps are slightly different.
- Check the specific requirements. In addition to the requirements for U.S. citizens, you’ll also need to meet the destination country’s requirements. These can include additional documentation and procedures. Have your foreign fiance(e) go to their marriage registry in the foreign country and inquire about the specific requirements for marrying a U.S. citizen.
- Decide if you intend to reside in the other country. If you are marrying abroad to continue living in or become a citizen of another country, you may need to complete applications and a set of requirements. You should also discuss this with the foreign country’s marriage registry.
- Obtain a Certificate of Singleness. Nearly all countries have a central vital statistics registry for births, deaths, marriages, and divorces. The U.S. Federal government does not have such a registry because states handle these matters. In this situation, nearly all foreign governments are willing to accept an Affidavit of Singleness obtained from a U.S. consulate in the country where the marriage will take place.
- Translate and authenticate your foreign documents: In most cases, a marriage to a foreigner requires that foreign documents must be translated and authenticated with an apostille certificate. This process ensures that the documents are recognized as valid in both the foreign country and the United States. Professional legal translators from The Perfect Translation can help to ensure all documents are translated accurately to the correct standards and assist you with obtaining the appropriate apostille or certification.
- Consider hiring a local wedding planner. This is a great tip to help make sure you’ve covered all your bases. Along with knowing all the ins and outs of planning a fabulous event, a local wedding planner can help navigate the specific requirements and procedures of the destination country. This one step can make the process smoother and less stressful.
Remember that the information provided here is a general guide, and the specific requirements may vary depending on the country and individual circumstances. It’s always best to contact the embassy or consulate of the country where you plan to marry for the most up-to-date and accurate information.
What is the difference between an affidavit of eligibility and a certificate of singleness?
These documents are typically required if a foreign government will be legally marrying you. While similar, an affidavit of eligibility and a certificate of singleness are two different documents that serve distinct purposes:
Affidavit of Eligibility: This document affirms that an individual meets specific requirements or qualifications. In the context of marriage, an affidavit of eligibility may be required to confirm that a person is not already legally married and is free to marry under the laws of their destination country. It is also known as a single status affidavit, certificate of no public record, or certificate of non-impediment to marriage abroad. Obtaining an affidavit of eligibility typically involves filling out a form, having it notarized, and, in some cases, getting it apostilled or legalized, depending on the destination country.
Certificate of Singleness: This document, also called a certificate of no marriage record, indicates that an individual is single and not currently married. It is often required when applying for a marriage license in another country or for other legal purposes. The specific process for obtaining a certificate of singleness may vary depending on the country. Still, it generally involves providing personal information, such as a complete printed name, date of birth, and passport number, and may require notarization or authentication by a government office.
Get a Jump on the Correct Documentation Requirements for Marrying Abroad with The Perfect Translation.
The Perfect Translation provides accurate translations for official records, transcripts, documents, and other essential material related to immigration, business, real estate, financial, academic, legal, and medical industries. The documentation requirements for marrying abroad can appear complicated, but our experienced team will work with you to ensure your documentation and translation needs are met. Our certified translators will ensure your documents are translated accurately and formatted correctly for acceptance by foreign agencies. Contact us today to get a free quote and start your project.