Making Sure Your Overseas Marriage is Legal
Quite a few couples have discovered a year or even more after their wedding abroad that they are not in fact legally married at all.
So it is very important that you take all the necessary steps to ensure that this does not happen to you!
There are four major points of which you need to be aware.
1. Registration of Your Marriage
If you marry abroad your legal certificate of marriage will issued by the country where you marry.
- Marriages that take place outside your home country are not registered and usually cannot be registered in your home country.
Don't panic, because....
- Marriages registered overseas are recognised for all legal purposes in in your home country, provided they take place legally in a country whose marriage law is recognised by your home country.
The countries listed here will in almost all cases recognise each other's marriages.
2. Home Country Laws take Precedence
Basically this means that if you get married in a country whose marriages laws permit a union that would not be permitted in your country, that marriage will not be recognised when you get home.
There are several situations where this can arise.
- Different countries have different laws regarding the closeness of the blood relationship between parties to a marriage. You need to comply with the laws in your country.
- Marriages between same-sex couples are legal in several countries, but such marriages will not be legally recognised in countries where they are not.
- Some countries still permit men to marry more than one woman. If your country's marriage law does not permit this, the marriage will have no legal standing at home.
3. Religious Ceremonies Abroad
It is commonly the case if you get married in a Religious marriage ceremony only in another country, that your marriage will have no legal status when you get home.
This is the case even though a marriage ceremony in a church of the same denomination in your country would be legal.
For countries where it is possible to have a legal religious ceremony, see ourDestinations Overview.
4. Countries where non-citizens cannot marry
There are some countries were it is either not legally possible for a marriage to be registered by non-citizens or residency or other requirements make it unfeasible for a legal marriage of foreign nationals to take place.
The "wedding" in such a country will in effect be just a celebration of your union - it will not have any legal standing.
If you intend to marry in one of these countries, you must have a civil ceremony either in your home country or in another country who will register your marriage.