Getting Married Abroad Part 1 – What’s involved?
Getting married abroad is becoming ever more popular. With guaranteed sunshine and photo opportunities in some of the most beautiful destinations in the world, it’s easy to see why! But what’s involved with getting married overseas in terms of paperwork, and once you’re married, is your certificate legal in your home country? We’re offering a two-part blog post on the before and after of the processes you need to know about.
I’m getting married overseas, which documents do I need?
The documents you need really do vary based on destination, though there are a few standard requirements which are uniform across all countries. This includes things such as a Certificate of No Impediment (CNI) which proves you are legally eligible to marry, and some form of official ID such as a birth certificate. We will have a look at some of the most popular destinations to get wed and what they will require for you to tie the knot there.
Getting married in Greece requires your documents to be legalised as well as translated before you can use your documents for your ceremony when you arrive. Where you get married can also have an impact on the documents required, for instance if you get married in a Church, registry office or other venue, or even on the beach! We also recommend you get a precise list of what you will be required to present from the person who will be conducting the ceremony, or their representative, just to avoid any complications.
As a British Citizen things you will usually require are:
- Full Birth Certificate (Including Parents’ names) for ID purposes. If the person has been adopted, it is a copy of the Adoption Certificate that is needed and not the original Birth Certificate.
- Certificate of No Impediment (CNI) to prove that the person is legally entitled to marry.
- Where applicable a Decree Absolute divorce certificate to show that a previous marriage has been dissolved.
- In the case that a previous spouse has died, a copy of the Death Certificate will be required.
- If there has been a change of name since birth, other than by marriage, a copy of the Deed Poll will be needed.
These documents will need to be translated into Greek by an officially recognised translator. These are nominated by the Greek Embassy in London and, once completed, are verified and stamped at the Embassy.
If the wedding is to take place within a Greek Orthodox Church, then the non-Orthodox partner must obtain their Certificate of No Impediment from the British Embassy in Athens or one of the British Consulates in Greece once they have been resident in Greece for at least 21 days. Once the Certificate of No Impediment has been issued, this will then need to be signed, sealed and dated by the Anglican Church Authority. Enquiries for this certification should be addressed to St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Athens in all cases other than for Corfu which is handled by the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Corfu.
Another popular destination for weddings is Mexico. The pure white sands of the beaches of Cancun are an idyllic option, as well as the beauty of the colonial villages with their quaint architecture. With so many couples flocking to these destinations, it’s important to know which documents you’ll need to prepare at the start of your planning.
General requirements to get married in Mexico:
- Valid passport.
- Valid Mexican entry documents (visas, migratory form, etc.).
- Birth certificates of both parties.*
- Pre-nuptial Agreement where, the parties must specify whether they wish to get married under the system of Joint Ownership Property (sociedad conyugal) or under a Non-joint Ownership Property (separación de bienes).
- If one or both parties is divorced or widowed, submit the appropriate certificate (e.g. death certificate or decree absolute).*
- Pre-nuptial medical certificate (must be obtained in Mexico).
- If one or both parties are under 18, they must submit original parental permission granted by the parents or guardians or emancipation document, which has been fully legalised.
- In some States (e.g. Quintana Roo: Riviera Maya, Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and Chetumal) four witnesses with official identification.
- In some States you’ll need to provide a Certificate of No Impediment (CNI)*, you can obtain a CNI from your local registry office.
The Birth Certificates and Certificate of No Impediment must be legalised in their country of origin before you leave for Mexico. As Mexico is part of the Hague convention, if you have UK documents these will only require Apostille legalisation. They will then require translation into Spanish once you reach Mexico by a state verified translator.
It’s highly important that you check your individual requirements for your own ceremony, as sometimes different states, venues and even celebrants will have additional requirements. Only the person or the representing office of the person who is marrying you can give you the exact list of requirements.
You are able to choose either a civil or a religious ceremony in the Dominican Republic. If you choose to get married in a Roman Catholic church, you will need to provide proof of a marriage preparation course to the parish priest in order to be considered for the ceremony. You will be required to provide the following documentation:
- Complete original long form Birth Certificate or an official extract including parents´ names; and According to his/her situation:
- If never married: A Statutory Declaration, stamped by a notary or solicitor, declaring single marital status and eligibility to marry.
- If divorced: Decree Absolute and a Statutory Declaration, stamped by a notary or solicitor, declaring marital status and eligibility to marry.
- If widowed: Spouse’s Death Certificate, previous Marriage Certificate and a Statutory Declaration, stamped by a notary or solicitor, declaring marital status and eligibility to marry.
- If a name has been changed by Deed Poll or if the person has been adopted, proof of this must be presented.
- A photocopy of the photo page of both parties.
- If the person is under 18 years old, parental consent is required in the form of an Affidavit stamped by a notary or solicitor.
The biggest positive in the Dominican Republic is that, unlike other destinations, there are no minimum requirements on how long you must be in the country before the wedding.
If you are looking to get married in Cyprus, you will need to present documents at the local government offices in the Municipality in which you wish to marry. This is a formal notice of marriage, after which date you must wed within 15 days at the earliest, or within 3 months at the latest from the date the notice is given. If your ceremony has not taken place within the 3 month time frame, your notice will be void and you will need to re-apply. To complete all processes you should aim to be in Cyprus for around 20 days, although for a fee you can expedite your notice to get married within 3 days at the earliest.
- Full passport with minimum validity of six months.
- Photocopies of the picture page of the passports of both parties
- Photocopies of the picture page of the passports for your two witnesses, listing their name, address and occupation
- Original long form birth or adoption certificate of both parties, legalised with an Apostille
- If you are divorced – Decree Absolute and Marriage Certificate
- If you are a widower – Death Certificate of previous spouse and Marriage Certificate
- If required, a Deed Poll certificate showing any changes of name which is not indicated in other documentation
- Non-UK citizens require a Certificate of No Impediment (CNI) legalised with an Apostille
- A sworn affidavit or statutory declaration from a Solicitor or a Notary Public in UK stating that both parties are free to marry
What else do I need to bear in mind when getting married abroad?
In all cases, you will need to be mindful of the validity period of your CNI, as you will often be required to complete the ceremony within a certain window after this certificate has been issued to you. On many occasions, you will also have to give your notice of marriage and allow a specified time to elapse before it will be processed for you, so make sure you give your notice of intent in plenty of time.
If you don’t have an original copy of your long form birth certificate, which is the version which gives the parental information and usually A4 in size, we can supply these for you as well as legalise them. We can also source UK marriage and death certificates, just get in touch to request a re-issue of these.
After the wedding and the paperwork
Once you have your marriage certificate issued, it’s extremely important you take good care of it, not only for the sentimental value but also because it can now be much more difficult to get hold of a copy of your overseas marriage certificate if you do happen to misplace yours. As of the 1st January 2014, the service to have an overseas marriage record deposited into the UK archives was suspended; this means that if your marriage certificate was not admitted into the British archives prior to this date, it will not be possible to obtain a copy of the marriage certificate from within the UK.
Our next blog in this series will cover how to obtain a copy of your overseas marriage certificate and will offer more information and advice on the above so stay tuned! If you are planning to get married overseas and you require any of the services included in this article, get in touch. You can request a quotation here, give our team of specialists a call on +44 (0) 330 088 1142, send us a message via WhatsApp on mobile, use our live chat system, or e-mail us at email@example.com.