Wedding abroad legal requirements…I completely understand that this is not the most exciting topic but it is a vitally important one.
I can imagine at this point in time, you will have one very important question on your mind…
If we get married abroad will our marriage be legally recognised?
For most countries the answer to this question will be “Yes”.
Yes, your marriage will be legally recognised but wedding abroad legal requirements do vary from country to country.
In most countries the legal requirements are relatively straightforward and are not as difficult as you may first think.
After gathering information about the legal requirements for getting married abroad through sources such as this website, I would strongly advise you to contact the foreign embassy or consulate of the country you are considering getting married in to obtain first hand information about their legal requirements.
You need to be sure that your marriage will be both legally recognised in your country of residence and in the country in which you choose to get married. You definitely don’t want to find out after your wedding has taken place that your marriage is not legally valid. It definitely pays to do your research and find out as much first hand information as you can to avoid this situation arising.
I would also suggest enrolling the help of a wedding professional, such as a wedding planner, in the country where you plan to get married. This will help to ensure you are following the correct procedures and timelines for submitting all the required documentation. It can take away a lot of the stress knowing that you have an expert dealing with the legalities on your behalf.
You need to be aware of the following:
1) Legal Validity of Your Marriage in the Country where You are Marrying
If you are getting married abroad you need to be aware that the legal validity of your marriage is governed by the laws of the country in which you are marrying and not by the laws of the country in which you are resident.
2) Legal Validity of Your Marriage in Your Home Country
Although you must meet the legal requirements of the country in which you are marrying, you are still bound by the laws of your home country in so far as your capacity to marry is concerned.
Examples where this situation may arise are:
- If you are not of “minimum age” and have not obtained a letter of consent to marry, your marriage will not be recognised under the laws of your home country.
- Same sex marriages are legal in some countries but may not be recognised under the laws of your home country.
In other words, in order for your marriage to be legally recognised in your country of residence, you must meet not only the legal requirements of the country in which you are marrying but also the legal requirements of your home country.
Even if you intend on enlisting the help of a wedding planner, I strongly suggest that you read the required documentation section below. This outlines details of the documentation you may be required to submit and other specific requirements which may need to be met to ensure that your marriage will have legal standing.
4) Residency Requirements
Residency requirements vary from country to country. Information on specific residency periods for individual countries are detailed in each country’s legal requirements guide.
5) Further Reading
You can search via our category facility (at the very bottom of the page) for further articles and advice in respect of the legal requirements for specific countries. The “legal requirements” link contains every page with reference to the subject. Alternatively, click on the county you are interested in below.
Both Caroline & James highly recommend getting the help of a wedding planner to deal with the legal side of things, particularly in countries where the legal requirements are intricate. A wedding planner will know exactly what is needed and ensure that all the documentation is submitted within the relevant time fames.
As Caroline commented, “all that needs to happen is for one piece of paperwork to be incomplete and the wedding can’t take place, so it’s an essential aspect to get right.”
Please note: although much care and attention has been taken to ensure the above information on wedding abroad legal requirements is correct please do not take it as legal advice.