What is a "Certificate of Non-Impediment?
Sometimes called a "Certificate de Coutume" or a "Certificate of No Impediment" or a "Certificate of Nulla Osta" or simply a "Certificate of Freedom to Marry", this is a declaration from your country of origin of your freedom to marry.
Almost all countries require that a couple can provide such a certificate before they will issue a marriage licence. There is information below on how to acquire such a certificate in your country.
For most destinations it is sufficient just to have a standard Certificate of No Impediment, as issued by your country. However some have specific requirements of which you need to be aware.
We point these out in the individual country pages, but this is a summary of what may be required.
- Many countries will require that certificates are translated into the local language.
- A country may require the certificate be endorsed at its embassy in your home country.
- Some require that the certificate is either issued or endorsed by your national embassy in the country where you will marry.
- A few require that witnesses swear affidavits to the effect that the parties are free to marry and that these be appended to the certificate.
- Your certificate usually has to be issued within a specified time frame, generally within 3-6 months of the date of your wedding.
USA: Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry
No standard 'Certificate of Freedom to Marry' document exists in the United States. You can however make a sworn affidavit testifying to your freedom to marry, which will be accepted in almost all countries.
You can do this in one of three ways, depending both on your situation and on what is specified by the country where you will marry:
- A sworn statement can be made before a consular official at the embassy or consular office (in the United States) of the country where you will marry
- A sworn statement can be made at the American embassy or consulate in the country in which the marriage will occur.
- An affidavit prepared by a lawyer licensed in both the USA and the country where you will marry verifying that all documents related to your marital status have been examined and that you are free to marry.
Note: We will specify in the civil weddings section in each country's information if only one of these methods only is acceptable, but in most cases either is accepted.
Canada: Certificate of Non-Impediment
Canada does not supply a certificate of non-impediment, however you can apply to the Departments of Foreign Affairs and International Trade for a "Statement In-Lieu of Certificate of Non-Impediment to Marriage Abroad".
Applications must be made by mail and accompanied by:
- If you were born in Canada, a certified copy of your birth certificate.
- If you were not born in Canada, certified true copies of your Canadian citizenship card and Record of Landing form.
- A statutory declaration of your present marital status and the name and citizenship of your future spouse.
- A certified copy of a divorce certificate or divorce judgment if divorced or a death certificate of a previous spouse if widowed.
There are a number of countries who will not accept this document and require instead that you get a letter or statement at the Canadian Embassy, in the country where you will marry, to the effect that there are no impediments.
Australia: Certificate of No Impediment
Certificates of No Impediment to Marriage are issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through overseas missions and state and territory offices to Australian citizens seeking to marry overseas.
Note: Certificates will only be issued by the local Australian Embassy or Consulate in the country in which the marriage will take place if this is a requirement in that country.
An application form for a certificate is available at your nearest state or territory office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You do not need to attend at the office in person, just complete the forms and return with the current fee.
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
R.G. Casey Building,
John McEwen Crescent,
Barton, ACT, 0221 Australia.
Tel: +61 2 6261 1111
Fax: +61 2 6261 3111
|Adelaide, South Australia |
Sydney, New South Wales
Perth, Western Australia
|Melbourne, Victoria |
Darwin, Northern Territory
UK: Certificate of No Impediment
If either party to the marriage is a UK citizen resident in the UK they will need a Certificate of No Impediment issued by their district registrar.
If you are living overseas a certificate can be issued by the Embassy or Consulate in the country in which you live.
Once issued, it needs to be sent the Legalisation Office of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to be legalised. This can take 2-3 weeks.
Ireland: Certificate of Nulla Osta
In Ireland a Certificate of Nulla Osta can be obtained from the Consular Section of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
To acquire your certificate:
- You must both attend at the Consular Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs in person
- Bring your birth certificates and, if relevant, divorce or annulment certificates.
- You will be required to make a solemn declaration that you are free to marry.
If you are living abroad you can apply for a Certificate of Nulla Osta at an Irish Embassy or Consulate.
In most cases the Certificate of Nulla Osta will be given to you and you are responsible for making sure it is deposited in the area where you will marry according to local requirements.
If you are getting married in Italy, the situation is a little different and your Certificate will be sent directly to the Irish embassy in Rome who will forward it to the district where you will be married.
Department of Foreign Affairs
80 St. Stephen’s Green
Tel. 01 478 0822
New Zealand: Certificate of No Impediment
To apply for a Certificate of No Impediment you will need to request the form: Notice Of Intended Marriage Of New Zealand Citizen In Another Country.This is available from the Department of Internal Affairs.
Once the application has been received, a Certificate of No Impediment will be issued after a statutory period of 14 days.
Department of Internal Affairs
Births Deaths & Marriages
PO Box 10-526
Level 3, Boulcott House
47 Boulcott Street
Freephone: 0800 22 52 52 (New Zealand only)
Tel: +64 4 474-8150