Wedaways network of top wedding planners will happily assist you with all the details regarding international marriage laws to make your wedding dreams come true.

Barbados

Canada

Croatia

France

Greece

India

Italy

Morocco

Northern Ireland

Scotland

Spain

Turkey

UK and England

USA

BARBADOS

It is very easy to get married in Barbados as there is no required waiting period or minimum length of stay. Nevertheless, Wedaways Elite Members will be assisted by their Wedaways wedding planner, if necessary.  Application for a marriage license must be made by both parties in person at the office of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Applications for marriage licenses must be made between the hours of 8.30 a.m and 3.30 p.m Monday to Friday. Required:

  • Valid passports and birth certificates.
  • Return tickets.
  • If either party was divorced, an original Decree Absolute or a certified copy of the Final Judgment. The Decree Nisi is not accepted.
  • If either party was previously married and widowed, a certified copy of the Marriage Certificate and Death Certificate in respect of the deceased spouse.
  • For a Roman Catholic ceremony, the relevant documents must be sent by your bishop to the bishop of Bridgetown.
  • Where necessary, all documents not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation.
  • Arrangements should be made with a Magistrate or Marriage Officer to perform the wedding ceremony, prior to applying for the marriage license. A letter from either the Magistrate or Marriage Officer must be presented at the time of making the application.

Fees for licenses as follows:

  • If neither party is a citizen or a resident of Barbados: US$100 (BDS$200) cash and a US$12.50 (BDS$25) stamp
  • If either party is a citizen or a resident of Barbados: US$22.50 (BDS$45) cash and a US$5.00 (BDS$10) stamp

Fees for Civil Marriage ceremonies as follows:

  • US$125 (BDS$250) – Magistrate fee for ceremonies held in the court
  • US$175 (BDS$350) – Magistrate fee for ceremonies held out of the court
    Please note: Prices may vary

CANADA

It is necessary to get a marriage license or certificate before getting married. Marriage licenses are provincial or territorial and it is necessary to apply to the relevant provincial/territorial municipal office or Department of Vital Statistics in order to get a marriage license. The license will only be valid in that province/territory, for example, an Ontario marriage license is only valid in Ontario.

Basic Requirements for Getting Married

Requirements vary according to the province or territory a person wishes to get married in. For example, in Ontario persons wanting to get married (without parental consent) must be at least 18 years old and in British Columbia, they must be at least 19 years old. With parental consent (from both parents) it is possible to get married at 16 or 17 years.

In some provinces, written parental consent is required if any party wishing to get married is under 19 years. Under 16-year-olds are generally not able to get married, but exceptions are made (in some provinces) if written parental permission is given, the bride is pregnant or is already a mother.

When applying for a marriage license or certificate, the following information is required:

  • The date the couple plan to marry
  • Proof of present marital status: (divorce decree if divorced, death certificate if widowed)
  • Proof of identification, often a birth certificate is required

Getting a Marriage License

Application forms for a marriage license can be obtained from the local municipal offices or the relevant Department of Vital Statistics. It is also possible to download application forms from provincial or territorial Departments of Vital Statistics.

To get a marriage license, it is usually necessary for both partners to go in person to the relevant municipal office and show any required identification and documents, at which point the couple generally pay a fee for the license. Marriage licenses are usually only valid for a limited time; for example, for three months from the purchase of the license, although in some areas this may be as little as 30 days. In British Columbia, Newfoundland, Labrador and New Brunswick only one person is required to go to the licensing agent to complete the process of getting a marriage license.

A marriage license may not be required where a marriage is to take place in a church, mosque or synagogue. In these cases, the couple may get married after a Publication of Banns. This is an announcement of the couple’s intent to marry. Check with the local religious official for exact requirements.

Additional requirements

Other requirements exist, depending on which territory/province the marriage is due to take place in. For example in Ontario and Newfoundland, if a divorce has taken place outside the province, additional information and confirmation of the divorce are required, as marriage licenses cannot be issued until a divorce is finalized. Immigration documents and details of parents are also sometimes required when applying for a marriage license.

In the majority of provinces/territories, a couple may be able to get married immediately after receiving the marriage license. However, some provinces require a short waiting period between the application for the license and getting married. The longest waiting periods are in Nova Scotia (5 days) and Quebec (20 days).

Provincial Departments of Vital Statistic deal with laws regarding the solemnization of marriage. They are able to provide information about getting a marriage license and any additional requirements.

CROATIA

The only legally binding type of marriage in Croatia is a civil ceremony, which, pending approval from the Registry Office, can take place anywhere.  You will be required to meet with the Registrar at the Town Hall a couple of days before your wedding takes place. The Registrar will discuss your paperwork and run through the required procedure with you.

Your Wedaways Wedding Planner will schedule the meeting. However, if you are organizing your own wedding, schedule to see the Registrar before your wedding.

  • No minimum residency period
  • A court-appointed translator must be present if neither person in the couple speaks Croatian.
  • You may have a religious ceremony either before or after the civil ceremony has taken place, at home or in Croatia.

All documentation is required to be original or certified copies and translated into Croatian by the relevant authorities.

Your Certificate of No Impediment  / Certificate of Freedom to Marry must not be older than 3 months (90 days).

All documentation must be submitted to the Registrar at the Town Hall 30 to 45 days prior to your wedding taking place. Your Wedaways Wedding Planner will organize this on your behalf. However, if you are organizing your own wedding you will need to make provisions to ensure your documentation is correctly submitted and logged on time.

The following documentation for both the bride and groom is required to be presented when applying for a marriage license in Croatia.

  • Certificate of No Impediment / Certificate of Freedom to Marry bearing the stamp apostille
  • Full passport with minimum validity of twelve months.
  • Photocopies of the picture page of the passports of the bride and the groom
  • Photocopies of the picture page of the passports for your two witnesses, listing their name, address, and occupation.

FRANCE

Marriage in France is legal only through a civil ceremony in council offices (called mairie, or town hall). Heterosexual and same-sex marriages are legal in France.   After the legal marriage, a couple can have a secular service, religious ceremony, or any other celebration anywhere in the country!

For people without family ties to France:

Non-residents who do not have a parent living in France require a special dispensation to get married in the country, and this is very rarely granted. Many couples prefer to have the civil wedding in their country of origin or residence, and hold a second, religious or secular, ceremony in France.

If you have family ties to France and would like your marriage to be legally recognized by France, you must meet the following requirements:

  • ID (passport);
  • birth certificate – this must be less than three months old if issued in France, less than six months old if issued elsewhere, and if from abroad, it may need to be ‘legalized’ so it’s recognized in France, for example, the affixation of an Apostille stamp;
  • proof of address (eg. rental agreement, recent bills);
  • proof of nationality;
  • proof of civil status – typically, you will request a Certificat de Capacité Matrimoniale from your embassy, but expect to provide a divorce or death certificate too, if you have been married previously;
  • notary’s certificate (only required with a prenuptial agreement);
  • family record book (livre de Famille) (typically only if you already have a child born in France);
  • information about the couple – four witnesses.

GREECE

Greek Orthodox Wedding Ceremony

Greek Orthodox marriage ceremonies are ancient and full of symbolism.  Unlike other weddings, the bride and groom do not make vows to each other.  Rather, the fact that they are present together in the church means that they are serious about getting married.

The groom waits for his bride outside the church entrance, with all the guests.  The bride arrives, the groom hands her the bouquet, and they enter the church together, followed by family and friends.  This touching gesture is symbolic of community approval and support.

An Orthodox wedding ceremony is divided into two parts: the Service of Betrothal and the Ceremony of the Sacrament of Marriage.

The exchanging of rings is the main part of the Service of Betrothal. The priest blesses the wedding rings by holding them in his right hand and making the sign of the cross over the heads of the bride and groom. The rings are then placed on the third fingers of their right hands. The “Koumbaro,” the couple’s religious sponsor, then swaps the rings over between the bride and groom’s fingers, three times. A number of rituals in the ceremony are repeated three times and this symbolizes the Holy Trinity: God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

The Ceremony of the Sacrament of Marriage consists of several parts. First, some prayers and then, the priest joins the right hands of the bride and groom. Their hands remain joined until the end of the wedding ceremony, which symbolizes the couple’s union.

Next, the bride and groom are crowned with thin crowns of orange blossoms, or “Stefana” which are joined by a white ribbon and have been blessed by the priest. The wedding crowns symbolize the glory and honor that is being bestowed on them by God, and the ribbon symbolizes their unity. The “Koumbaro” then exchanges the crowns between the heads of the couple, three times.

A reading of the Gospel follows the crowning and then the couples share wine from the same goblet. They alternate, each drinking from it three times. The priest then leads the couple, still wearing their Stefana, three times around the altar on their first steps as a married couple. “Koumbaro” follows close behind the couple holding the “Stefana” place.  Now the tradition the guests have been waiting for:  Showering rice upon the newlyweds!

At the conclusion of the Ceremonial Walk, the priest blesses the couple, the crowns are removed and he separates their previously joined hands with the Bible, reminding them that only God can break the union which they have just entered into.

Marriage Laws Greece

Wedaways Wedding Planners are knowledgeable in marriage laws and customs and will happily assist you with the details!

The following are required of foreigners applying for a marriage license in Greece (the bride and groom must each submit these documents):

  • A passport
  • A valid residence permit (if applicable)
  • An original or certified copy of the applicant’s birth certificate, along with an official translation into Greek. The birth certificate should have an Apostille stamp (see below)
  • If either has been married before, a death certificate or final divorce decree, along with an official translation into Greek
  • A Certificate of No Impediment, which must be completed in English and Greek and notarized at the applicable Embassy
  • A copy of the newspaper in which the wedding notices were published(if applicable)
  • The court decision approving the marriage for those under 18 years of age
  • Application fee

Two sets of the above documents are required if both civil and religious ceremonies are to be performed. One set is for the town hall and the other for the priest.

Note: Americans marrying in Greece may be able to use a valid marriage license issued in the United States if the license does not contain any wording that indicates it is exclusively valid in the issuing jurisdiction.

Certificates of No Impediment

For foreign nationals already in Greece, it may be possible to obtain a Certificate of No Impediment from their consular authority in Greece. This will usually require the applicant to attest to the fact that they are legally able to marry. A minimum residence period in Greece may apply, and the waiting period for the Certificate can be several weeks.

In some cases, consular authorities may require proof of civil status from the person’s home country, which can be obtained from the registry office or town hall of the person’s previous place of residence. This must be officially legalized with an Apostille stamp.

Note: If a Certificate of No Impediment cannot be obtained from a consular authority in Greece, then it must be obtained from the local registry office or town hall where the foreign national resides, therefore it is strongly suggested to contact the consulate in Greece well in advance.

The Apostille/Legalization

Any foreign legal documents which are to be used in Greece must be officially legalized with the Hague Convention Apostille. The Apostille is a stamp or seal that signifies the document is legal and authentic; it is meant to simplify the process of document legalization across international borders. If submitting more than one document requiring a Hague Convention Apostille, each document must have an Apostille.

A Hague Convention Apostille for a legal document, such as a birth certificate or divorce decree, can be obtained by an approved government office in the country, state or county where the document originates (this could be a State Secretary’s office or Foreign and Commonwealth Office).

If the country is not a member of this Hague Convention, then a certified letter from the town hall where the document originates, stating that the document is valid and true, may be sufficient. Otherwise, the Greek Embassy in the applicant’s home country may validate the documents.

Translation

All legal documents submitted for the marriage which are not in Greek must be officially translated into Greek. The term official translation means a translation that has been made and certified by a lawyer, a certified translator or by the Greek Foreign Ministry’s Department of Translation.

For those outside of Greece, the Greek Consulate in their home country can offer official translations. A fee is payable for translation services.

Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Department of Translation
At: Arionos St. 10, Psirri, 105 54 Athens
Tel: 210 328 5712/5711
Fax: 210 328 5777

Please note: The above contact information was correct at time of publication.  We’d appreciate an email if it has changed.  Thank you!  hello@wedaways.com SUBJECT:  Contact Update on Marriage Laws Greece

Registration of the Marriage

All marriages in Greece, whether civil or religious, must be registered at the local Registrar’s Office/Office of Vital Statistics (Lixiarhio) within 40 days following the ceremony. Registration can be done by the bride or groom, or by any individual who is in possession of a power of attorney signed before a Notary Public giving them the authority to register the marriage. Once registered, a Marriage Certificate (lixiarchiki praxi gamou) will be issued within three days and can be picked up or sent via the mail.

Note: Marriages not registered have no legal validity.  After 90 days, marriages can only be registered with the District Attorney’s authorization and the payment of fines.

INDIA

Hindu Marriage Customs

Hindu marriage joins two individuals for life, so that they can pursue dharma (duty), artha (possessions), kama (physical desires), and moksha (ultimate spiritual release) together. It is a union of two individuals as husband and wife and is recognized by law. The Hindu wedding is the most important ceremony in Hindu culture. Although Hindu wedding ceremonies may vary according to the local traditions of the different parts of India, they follow ancient rites and the marriage ritual can last three or more days. The pinnacle of the entire celebration is the ritual of the Saptapadi or seven steps when the bride and groom exchange seven promises that will bind their lives forever.

ITALY

Weddings are a milestone experience and when celebrated in Italy make the event even more unforgettable.  The breathtaking vistas and venues are the perfect backdrop to celebrating everlasting love.

Thousands of couples each year from around the world celebrate their weddings in Italy.  One of the most romantic countries on earth, it boasts an abundance of wedding venues.  Whether you decide on a city hall, a rustic or elegant villa in the countryside, a medieval castle perched high on the hills, an ancient fortress, a historical palazzo, a seaside estate or a winery, the options are endless.  Ceremony options may too, seem endless, and sometimes confusing.  Here is a breakdown of ceremony types to help you select the perfect option for your special wedding experience.

Symbolic, Blessing, Renewal of Vows, Civil or Religious

Many foreign couples (other than Catholic) marrying in Italy chose to have Symbolic ceremonies. Family and friends gather to witness their commitment to one another and celebrate their union.

Symbolic Ceremony

The Symbolic also called Non-denominational or secular wedding ceremony is the right choice for those couples who prefer not to worry about completing documents for a civil or religious ceremony or are already legally married. This type of wedding is not legally binding and couples have the freedom to personalize the ceremony in such a way that it completely reflects their values and beliefs.

Blessing

A Blessing ceremony is a self-styled ceremony that can be performed according to your specific wishes. They usually take place after a civil wedding (which is legally binding) and is the part of a ceremony that would otherwise take place in a church or synagogue.

If you answer YES to any of the following questions, a Blessing ceremony could be a good option for you:

  • We are an inter-faith couple
  • We are divorcees and are not allowed to re-marry in a church (Often divorced Catholics to get married in a Civil Registrar ‘s Office and have a blessing afterward).
  • We wish to renew our vows

Renewal of Vows or Re-Affirmation Ceremony

This is a ceremony that celebrates the union and evolution of your relationship. It is requested by couples who are already married and want to renew their commitment to each other.

Reflecting on their history, as well as their vision of hopes and dreams for their future,  some couples choose to include their original marriage vows in the ceremony. The script of the ceremony can be similar to a symbolic wedding ceremony.

Civil Ceremony

A civil ceremony is legal, in that the marriage is officially recognized by the government.

  • There is no official residency requirement for civil ceremonies in Italy
  • Ceremonies are officiated by an Italian authority and are legally recognized in other countries (check your country of residence)
  • The ceremony is performed in Italian by a Mayor or civil registrar, with an Interpreter.  Official or non-official interpreter requirements vary by office.
  • The ceremony consists of a mix between the articles of the Italian civil code and traditional marriage vows.
  • The ceremony lasts about twenty minutes.
  • Two witnesses over 18 years old are required for the ceremony
  • Civil ceremony by law must take place in approved government buildings
  • Outdoor civil ceremonies can be performed only in certain locations approved by the Italian authorities under special circumstances
  • Civil ceremonies in Italy can be personalized with music, readings, poetry and personal vows and Blessing ceremonies may follow.

Legal requirements for foreigners getting married in Italy

Please note:

  • Catholic weddings are legally recognized in Italy

Please note that Church authorities in Italy must be contacted well in advance for information.

  • For Non-Italians a civil wedding is highly recommended before having a religious or symbolic ceremony
  • For other religions, proof of a civil marriage is required before you can celebrate in a church
  • Same-sex weddings, legal civil weddings, and unions are legal in Italy

Under Italian law, all public documents regardless of their origin are considered valid for only six months from the date of issue. Couples are therefore advised to make sure that all documents to be submitted to Italian authorities have not been issued more than six months prior to wedding date.

You must provide the following:

These documents must be translated into Italian. This must be done by an agency verified by the Italian Consulate.

  • Valid Passport
  • Birth certificate showing both parents’ names
  • If applicable, Final Divorce Decree, Annulment Decree or Death Certificate of the previous spouse.
  • To be legal in Italy, the translated documents must be given the Apostille Stamp  All documents for US citizens will need to be endorsed with an Apostille Stamp by the Secretary of State in the state where each document was originally issued. An Apostille Stamp authenticates documents executed outside of Italy (such as a birth certificate,) so that it will be recognized as genuine/official/legitimate for use in other countries, such as Italy.
  • Obtain an Atto Notorio from an Italian Consul in the United States. This is a declaration that according to US law there is no obstacle to the marriage, and it must be sworn to by two witnesses.

Upon your arrival in Italy, you will need to obtain:

A Nulla Osta, which states that “there are no impediments,” or that one is free to marry, according to the laws of the State of which the citizen is a resident. Your legal status must be such that you can legally marry under Italian and US law.

You can download the appropriate Nulla Osta form ahead of time. Fill it in but do not sign it as it will have to be signed in front of the Consul.

  • Legalization of the Nulla Osta must be done by the office of the Prefecture. There is one in every provincial capital.
  • A waiver for a woman who has been divorced within the last 300 days must be obtained from the Procura Della Republica (District Attorney), issued on presentation of a medical certificate that she is not pregnant.
  • For non-Italians wishing a civil marriage in Italy, it is highly recommended that they appear before the town registrar at least four days prior to the intended date of the ceremony in order to ensure enough time for all documents to be authenticated and the necessary paperwork to be completed.
  • With all the paperwork in place, it takes anywhere from three to four days to get permission to marry for a civil ceremony held at a town hall.

Catholic Ceremony

If you have been divorced, you will not be allowed to marry again in a Catholic Church. The ceremony is possible only if you can acquire an annulment from your previous marriage and it is recognized by the Church.

Catholic weddings in Italy can only take place by the priest’s permission and upon presentation of the following documentation:

  • A formal letter on church letterhead from your parish priest stating that you have fulfilled all PRE CANA procedures and granting permission for the wedding to be performed in the church of your choice.
  • A letter from the Archbishop or Vicar of the parish stating the same – your priest can obtain this for you.
  • ALL certificates of baptism, first communion and confirmation must be sent TOGETHER with this letter, together with a mixed marriage application completed if one of the spouses is not Catholic.
  • Original of the marriage encounter with church seals/signatures. This original is not just the certificate but also a type of signed questionnaire.
  • Seals or stamps must be from the parish office so that everything is correct.
  • For foreigners marrying in Italy, it is also necessary to produce a Pre-Nuptial Inquiry or Pre-Nuptial Investigation, since this contains the Nulla Osta which is the authorization given to the spouses by their Bishop. It will contain permission for marrying outside of their parish. It is signed by the diocese of the couple.

These documents must be sent within 2 months of the wedding date, so that there is enough time to make sure they are all correct and that nothing is missing!

Ceremonies including mass and holy communion may be arranged at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome at the Vatican, as well as in all cities, towns, and villages.

Jewish Ceremony

There are beautiful and ancient synagogues in Rome, Florence, Venice, Naples, Trieste, Torino, Milan, Apulia, and Sicily, in which Orthodox Jewish ceremonies may be celebrated. WEDAWAYS wedding planners work with local religious authorities and can assist with all legal requirements. Our in-network wedding vendors are experienced in all aspects of Jewish wedding traditions including kosher catering, kosher wine, ketubot, chuppahs, challah, kippot, talitim, Jewish music and more. Interfaith marriages, same-sex couples, and vow renewals are welcome.

Fun Fact: Wedaways founder Renée Strauss had an Orthodox Jewish destination wedding on the Isle of Capri off the Amalfi Coast in the south of Italy.

MOROCCO

General documentation required of foreigners legally marrying in Morocco:

  • Passports.
  • Full birth certificates & photocopies of the photo page and the page showing your entry stamp into Morocco.
  • Affidavit of nationality and eligibility to marry.
  • Resident card if living in Morocco.
  • Police record from your country of residency.
  • Men must obtain a notarised statement of religious denomination.
  • Medical certificate from a doctor in Morocco.
  • 4 recent passport photos 3cmx4cm.
  • If you have been divorced then the final divorce papers must be shown.
  • If you are widowed then the death certificate of your previous spouse must be shown.
  • All documents must be translated into Arabic by an official translator.

U.S. Citizens marrying in Morocco:

Marriages cannot be performed at U.S. Embassies or Consulates, nor do U.S. diplomatic personnel have the authority to preside over marriages.  A Moroccan marriage is recognized in the U.S.; you do not need to register your marriage at the U.S. Consulate General in Casablanca.

The length of time needed to marry in Morocco varies.  A non-Muslim man who wishes to marry a Muslim woman may anticipate one to three months to complete the process, including the time needed to convert to Islam.  In general, the process is less complicated for a Moslem man who wishes to marry a non-Muslim woman.

The marriage process is handled by the Government of Morocco.  After obtaining a completed Affidavit of Nationality and Eligibility to Marry and notarized passport pages from the US Consulate in Casablanca for $100fee, you will need to translate the Affidavit of marriage as well as all your foreign documents into Arabic.

Below is a list of documents needed in relation to getting married in Morocco, the first two are required from the US Consulate:

  1. An Affidavit of Nationality and Eligibility to Marry. This document is obtained at the U.S. Consulate General in Casablanca by appointment at http://morocco.usembassy.gov/appointments-2011.html.   There is a $50 fee for a Consular Officer to notarize the document.  This affidavit is valid for six months from the date it is signed and notarized at the U.S. Consulate.
  2. Copies of your biographic passport and the page containing your entry date to Morocco must be notarized at the U.S. Consulate General in Casablanca for a $50 fee.
  3. If divorced, provide original or certified copies of proof of dissolution of any previous marriage(s).
  4. If the former spouse is deceased, provide original or certified copy of his or her death certificate (s).
  5. Provide an original or certified copy of your birth certificate.
  6. Evidence of employment from an employer in the United States or source of income.
  7. A written statement indicating your intention to marry in Morocco.
  8. If resident in Morocco, a copy of the residency card.
  9. If resident in Morocco, obtain a Moroccan police record from the Ministry of Justice in Rabat (Office of Penal Affairs and Pardons).  (For U.S. citizens, resident in Morocco, you will need both an American and Moroccan police record.)
  10. If male, a notarized statement of religious denomination or a certified copy of a conversion document to Islam.  (Conversion documents are obtained from and notarized by Adouls, or religious/court notarials, at the Ministry of Justice in Rabat.)  Women do not need this document.
  11. A medical certificate of good health from a doctor in Morocco.  This document must be obtained in Morocco.
  12. Four (4) recent passport photos (3cm x 4cm, please note this is the same size required for a Moroccan passport).
  13. The fee for submitting an application for marriage to an Adoul is 150 Moroccan Dirham.
  14. An American police record must be obtained from a police department in the state where you last resided or from the FBI BEFORE coming to Morocco.

*U.S. citizens who would like to obtain their police records are required to contact the FBI.  If you have not obtained your police records, you will need to submit your fingerprints to the FBI. The Consular Section cannot take your fingerprints and the Moroccan authorities will only fingerprint individuals who are resident to Morocco (holders of a carte de séjour). If you already have your fingerprints and wish to submit the criminal background check by mail, you will need:

  • Fingerprint card with your name, date of birth and place of birth;
  • An informal note explaining the reason for your request;
  • And a certified check or money order payable to the U.S. Treasury for $18.00 in U.S. currency.

Please send your documents and the required fee to the FBI at the following address:

FBI, CJIS Division
SCU – MOD, D-2
1000 Cluster Hollow Road
Clarksburg, WV 26306

The FBI will send your record in approximately 8 to 10 weeks.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Couples marrying in Northern Ireland have a choice of either a religious or a civil ceremony. The initial arrangements are the same for both types of marriage. It is important to organize the date and time of your marriage as soon as possible.

Who can be married in Northern Ireland?

Any two people can marry in Northern Ireland provided:

  • both are at least 16 years of age on the day of their marriage – anyone under 18 will need permission from their parent or guardian, or if appropriate a court order to allow the marriage to go ahead
  • they are not related to each other in a way which would prevent their marrying
  • they are unmarried (any previous marriage must have been ended by divorce, death or annulment)
  • they are not of the same sex
  • they are capable of understanding the nature of a marriage ceremony and of agreeing to the marriage

There are certain conditions that apply to anyone who is subject to immigration control. That means if you are not a UK, EEA (European Economic Area) or Swiss national.

Types of relationships where marriage is unlawful

Marriage may not possible if the parties are related, by blood, adoption, step-parent relationship or surrogacy.

SCOTLAND

There is some paperwork to be completed, and you will need to book a place, date and time. You may find it useful to download the following documents about our requirements.

If you are subject to Immigration Control please read the attached information (27 KB PDF) carefully.

If you wish to change your existing civil partnership to a marriage, the information you need is on this page.

The RM1 leaflet should answer most of your questions, but please bear in mind the following points:

  • Always telephone the selected local Registrar before filling in the Marriage Notice Application (Form M10).
  • If you want a civil rather than religious or belief marriage, the Registrar will be able to help you choose a day and time, and tell you what fees you are likely to pay.
  • It will also enable you to confirm what form of payment the Registrar can accept.
  • Both parties to the marriage should provide the Registrar with a postal address and a contact telephone number (and if possible, a fax number).
  • You must post (not email) the completed forms to arrive normally 10-12 weeks before the date of the proposed marriage and certainly no later than 29 days before. You must include:
    • the questionnaire if you are submitting divorce or dissolution documents from outside the United Kingdom;
    • original or certified copies of documents provided by the issuing authority;
    • the Declaration of Immigration Status form if you are subject to Immigration Control;
    • the Witness Details form (if you have chosen your witnesses);
    • the appropriate payment to the relevant local Registrar (not to the National Records of Scotland). The registrar will not be able to accept forms without payment.
  • If you intend to submit the completed forms in person please be aware the opening hours of registration offices vary between local authorities and some operate an appointments system. You should check with the relevant local authority before attending an office.

If you want a religious or belief marriage the marriage schedule needs to be collected in person by one of the parties to the marriage from the registrar no more than 7 days prior to the date of marriage during office hours.  The marriage schedule must be returned to the registrar within 3 days of the marriage so the marriage can be registered.  If you cannot take the marriage schedule back personally, you can ask someone else to take it for you or you can post it so that it is received by the registrar within that 3 day timescale.

Are you subject to immigration controls?

If you are a national of a country outside the European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland such as, for example, Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the United States etc., and you intend to visit Scotland to get married or to register a civil partnership, then you will need an entry clearance.  You should check the information which is available on the GOV.UK website.

If you are just visiting Scotland to change your civil partnership registered in Scotland to a marriage, you do not need entry clearance but will need to provide evidence to show that you are in an existing civil partnership when you enter the UK.

If you have any questions, contact the Home Office’s UK Visas and Immigration Contact Centre (Tel no:  0300 123 2241).

Registrars have a statutory duty to report any marriage they suspect has been registered for the sole purpose of evading statutory immigration controls.

SPAIN

Applicants should allow enough time before the intended date of the marriage for the paperwork to be completed.  In the first instance, both parties must first certify, in a file processed in accordance with the legislation for the Civil Register, that they meet the requirements established by law.  Heterosexual and same-sex marriages are legal in Spain.

IF NEITHER PERSON IS A SPANISH CITIZEN, AT LEAST ONE MUST BE A LEGAL RESIDENT OF SPAIN FOR THE PREVIOUS 2 YEARS IN ORDER FOR THE MARRIAGE TO BE LEGALLY RECOGNIZED IN SPAIN.

  1. First, allow time before the wedding to fill out an application for a certificate of permission to marry (Certificado de Capacidad Matrimonial)
  2. For a civil marriage, start with the application for a certificate of permission to marry (Certificado de Capacidad Matrimonial). It is issued on condition that the applicants fulfill the legal right to marry and affords proof of permission to marry. Applications for civil marriages must be made to the Civil Registry (Registro Civil – see the Spanish Ministry of Justice’s website for contact details), District Court (Juzgado) or Town Hall in the place where the marriage is to be celebrated.

Likely documentation you will need:

  • Long form birth certificate – notarized and translated into Spanish.
  • A valid passport and at least four copies – to be used when you apply for the Empadronmiento, Residencia file for the marriage.
  • Certificate of Marital Status (Certificado de Estado Civil)
  • Certificate of No Impediment (Certificado de No Impedimento), which can be obtained from the registrar office of the home country.
  • Divorce decrees (Certificados de divorcio) – if applicable
  • Spanish Town Hall Registration Certificate (Certificado de Empadronamiento or “Padrón”)
  • Extranieria application form – print three copies. Complete the extranjeria form and file it at the national police station. Remember to bring with your passport and a photocopy of it.

Empadronamiento

This is the process of registering yourself as a resident of your province. This is required in some provinces but may not be applicable everywhere. It is best to check beforehand. Fill out the form (it’s the same as the extranjeria form) and take your passport and a photocopy of it along with you. As you are registering yourself as a resident of your province you will need to have an address. This can be a rented address and you will need to show your rental contract.

Religious Ceremonies

Couples marrying in a Protestant, Islamic or Jewish ceremony will need to first obtain authorization from the Civil Authorities. For Catholic marriages, the documents listed below must be presented to the priest performing the ceremony. If you wish to have a Catholic ceremony and either you or your betrothed is a foreigner in Spain, you must contact the Bishopric in the area where you plan to marry. Arrangements for a Catholic marriage generally take from one to three weeks, and the following documents are generally required:

  • The long form of birth certificate – notarized with a Spanish translation
  • Baptismal certificate: This must be issued within the six month period prior to your wedding, and authenticated by the issuing Bishopric. A Spanish translation must be attached.
  • Proof both parties are free to marry

Step 2: Submitting the paperwork

Bring along a photocopy of your passport along with the necessary documents when you file for your marriage at the local registry office. You will also need one of your two witnesses to accompany you and to bring his/ her passport. The officials will then process your information and register you on their system. The intent to marry is then displayed on the public notice board in their office for 21 days. After 10 days, you can call the office to request an interview date – part of the marriage process.

If you do not speak Spanish it is advisable to either hire a Spanish solicitor or to get someone who speaks Spanish to help you with all of the paperwork so that the process runs smoothly. Also, registry offices can be quite busy and it is usually better to go earlier rather than later in the day.

Step 3: Waiting and going for the interview

Once the 10 days are up, you can call to arrange an appointment for the interview process. Be advised that you may have to wait up to six weeks for the appointment date. At the interview, you may be interviewed separately and asked to answer a number of questions to make sure that you are genuine applicants.

Wedding ceremony in Spain

A civil marriage can be held in the courts or the Town Hall of residence, performed by the Mayor or a designated counselor. The marriage is effective immediately following the ceremony. After the wedding, it will be registered in the Civil Registry and a certificate stating the date, time and place of the marriage will be issued.

A religious ceremony (or blessing) can be held following the civil ceremony if desired. You should be aware that after a religious ceremony, you have one week to present the church-issued certificate to the nearest civil registry. If you fail to register the marriage will not be recognized.

Useful links:

Spanish Ministry of Justice: www.mjusticia.gob.es.

TURKEY

Only civil marriage is legal in Turkey. You may have any religious ceremony you wish in addition to the civil one, but the religious service has no legal standing in Turkey. Same-sex marriage has been legal since 1923.

Turkish officials cannot perform a marriage that would not be approved in your own country. If your own country’s laws prohibit you from marrying, you will not be able to obtain from authorities of your own country the documents that are required by Turkish marriage law, and thus you will not be able to marry in Turkey.

Required Documents for Civil Marriage:

  • Certificate of No Impediment
  • Full (Standard) birth certificate with parents’ names
  • Passport
  • Decree Absolute (if married before and divorced)
  • Death Certificate of Spouse (if married previously)
  • Name Change Declaration (if there are any changes to names)

Same Nationality

If both bride and groom have the same nationality and it is not Turkish, your marriage will be valid if conducted either by Turkish authorities or by your country’s embassy or consulate officials. But note: Not all embassies and consulates will perform marriages—check with yours

For marriage by Turkish authorities, you must obtain a document from the authorities in your own country attesting to your eligibility for marriage. This can be a marriage license or a statement (Evlenme Ehliyet Belgesi) from your country’s diplomatic officers (usually a consul) resident in Turkey. (See Additional Requirements and Necessary Documents).

Different Nationalities

If you and your fiancé(e) are of different nationalities, and neither of you is a Turkish citizen, your marriage must be conducted by a Turkish official. The foreign national must obtain a document from the proper authorities in his or her own country attesting to eligibility for marriage: a marriage license, or a statement (Evlenme Ehliyet Belgesi) from the embassy or consular authorities resident in Turkey. (See Additional Requirements and Necessary Documents).

Foreigner Marrying a Turk

If one person is Turkish and the other is not, your marriage must be conducted by a Turkish official. You must obtain a document from the proper authorities in your own country attesting to your eligibility for marriage: a marriage license or statement (Evlenme Ehliyet Belgesi) from the embassy or consular authorities resident in Turkey. (See Additional Requirements and Necessary Documents).

U.S. Citizens

Turkish Marriage Procedures For U.S. Citizens

SEE U.S. EMBASSY AND CONSULATES WEBSITE: https://tr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/marriage/

If you are a U.S. citizen getting married in Turkey, you will first need an Ankara Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry, Istanbul Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry, or Adana Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry issued by the U.S. Embassy/Consulate.  All marriages in Turkey must be performed under the authority of the Turkish Civil Code to be legally recognized. Religious ceremonies are not legally recognized.  We do not perform marriage ceremonies at the U.S. Embassy or Consulates in Turkey.

The U.S. Embassy in Ankara issue affidavits that are accepted by authorities in the following Turkish provinces: Afyon, Agri, Aksaray, Amasya, Ankara, Antalya, Ardahan, Artvin, Aydin, Bartin, Bayburt, Burdur, Cankiri, Corum, Denizli, Erzincan, Erzurum, Eskisehir, Giresun, Gumushane, Igdir, Isparta, Izmir, Karabuk, Karaman, Kars, Kastamonu, Kayseri, Kirikkale, Kirsehir, Konya, Kutahya, Manisa, Mugla, Nevsehir, Nigde, Ordu, Rize, Samsun, Sinop, Sivas, Tokat, Trabzon, Usak, Yozgat and Zonguldak.

The U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul issue affidavits that are accepted by authorities in the following Turkish provinces: Balikesir, Bilecik, Bolu, Bursa, Canakkale, Düzce, Edirne, Istanbul, Kirklareli, Kocaeli, Sakarya, Tekirdag, and Yalova.

The U.S. Consulate in Adana issue affidavits that are accepted by authorities in the following Turkish provinces: Adana, Adiyaman, Batman, Bingol, Bitlis, Diyarbakir, Elazig, Gaziantep, Hakkari, Hatay, Icel, Kahramanmaras, Kilis, Malatya, Mardin, Mus, Osmaniye, Siirt, Sanliurfa, Sirnak, Tunceli, and Van.

SEE WEBSITE: https://tr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/marriage/

Step 1: Fill out online and print out (BUT DO NOT SIGN) the Ankara Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry, Istanbul Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry or Adana Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry. If you have previous marriages, please bring your original or certified divorce decrees with you to the Embassy/Consulate. Write each field exactly as it is in your passport, e.g. United States Department of State.

Step 2: Make an online notarial appointment to apply in Ankara, Istanbul or Adana depending on where you will be getting married.

Step 3: Come to the U.S. Embassy/Consulate to sign the affidavit in person.  Bring your valid U.S. passport. If you have been married previously, also bring an original or a certified copy of your divorce decree. Pay the US $50 fee for notarizing the affidavit of eligibility in U.S. cash or a major credit card.  We do not accept Turkish debit cards or Turkish Liras.

Step 4: Take your notarized affidavit from the U.S. Embassy/Consulate and follow the instructions on where you should be taking the affidavit in Istanbul (instructions on the second page of the affidavit), Adana (instructions on the second page of the affidavit) and Ankara.

UK AND ENGLAND

If you live abroad and want your marriage to be recognized in England and/or Wales, one partner in the couple must be a resident of England or Wales.

You can get married or form a civil partnership in the UK if you’re:

  • 16 or over
  • free to marry or form a civil partnership (single, divorced or widowed)
  • not closely related

You need permission from your parents or guardians if you’re under 18 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Same-sex couples

You can:

  • form a civil partnership in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • get married in England, Scotland and Wales
  • convert your civil partnership into a marriage in England, Scotland and Wales

If either of you is from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland and subject to immigration control, you or your partner will need a visa to come to the UK to:

  • give notice
  • get married or form a civil partnership

This includes people who don’t normally need visas for general visits (unless you’re already in the UK).

Once in the UK (or if you’re already in the UK), you and your partner must give at least 28 days’ notice at a designated register office if both the following apply to either of you:

  • you’re from outside the EEA or Switzerland
  • you’re subject to immigration control

The process is different in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

There has been no change to the rights and status of EU nationals in the UK, and UK nationals in the EU, as a result of the referendum.

Getting a visa if you’re outside the UK

The application process is different depending on your partner’s circumstances.

If your partner is from the UK or settled in the UK

Apply for a family of a settled person visa (eg, as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner) if you intend to stay in the UK for more than 6 months.

Apply for a Marriage or Civil Partnership Visitor visa for a stay of fewer than 6 months.

If your partner is from the EEA (excluding the UK) or Switzerland

If your partner is a permanent UK resident (ie has a ‘document certifying permanent residence’), you can apply for a family of a settled person visa.

If your partner isn’t a permanent UK resident, you can apply for an EEA family permit to accompany or join your partner in the UK. You’ll usually have to prove that you and your partner have lived together in a relationship for at least 2 years.

If your partner is not from the UK, Switzerland or EEA, and not settled in the UK

Apply for a Marriage or Civil Partnership Visitor visa. You’ll have to leave the UK within 6 months.

Giving notice

Both you and your partner must give at least 28 days’ notice at a designated register office in England and Wales.

You can only give notice if you’ve both lived in England and Wales for at least 7 days.

If you’re both exempt from immigration control you need to give notice at your local register office. You’ll need to show evidence of why you’re exempt, eg you have right of abode.

When your notice period can be extended

Your notice period can be extended to 70 days if you or your partner:

  • are from outside the EEA or Switzerland
  • have limited or no immigration status in the UK
  • don’t give the registrar enough evidence to show you’re settled in the UK

You’ll be told within 28 days if your notice period will be extended.

The registrar will tell you if this applies to you and your proposed marriage or civil partnership will be referred to the Home Office. The Home Office may investigate to make sure your marriage or civil partnership is genuine.

You may be interviewed by the Home Office or asked for more information as part of the investigation. You must comply with the investigation or you won’t be allowed to get married or form a civil partnership.

You must also tell the Home Office if you change your address during the notice period.

Documents you need

You need to take proof of your name, date of birth, nationality, and address to the designated register office.

You’ll also be asked about your partner’s immigration status if they’re from outside the EEA or Switzerland (or your partner will be asked about your status if you’re from outside the EEA or Switzerland).

Fees and conditions you will have to pay a notice fee of £35 if your passport or immigration document shows that you:

  • have settled status in the UK, eg indefinite leave to remain
  • are exempt from immigration control, eg right of abode
  • have a Marriage or Civil Partnership Visitor visa (you both must also bring a passport sized photograph)
  • a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner visa (you both must also bring a passport sized photograph)
  • have an EU right of permanent residence in the UK

If you don’t have any of the above documents, you’ll have to pay a fee of £50 and give:

  • details of your normal address if it’s different from the address you’ve used to give notice
  • details of a UK contact address if your normal address is outside the UK
  • details of any previous names and current or previous names or identities that you’ve been known as
  • a passport sized photograph

USA

A marriage license issued by the county clerk or clerk of the court (along with payment of a fee).

Both spouses are 18 or older, or have the consent of a parent or a judge if younger.

Proof of immunity or vaccination for certain diseases

  • Many states have done away with mandatory premarital physical exams or blood tests. Some states still require a test for venereal diseases, and a few also test for rubella (also known as German Measles, a disease that is very dangerous to fetuses), tuberculosis, and sickle-cell anemia.

Proof of the termination of any prior marriages by death, judgment of dissolution (divorce) or annulment.

  • Where there is a valid marriage, termination of marital status is obtained through a dissolution or divorce lawsuit, which results in a judgment that returns both the man and the woman to the status of an unmarried (single) persons.

Sufficient mental capacity (often this is determined as the ability to enter into a contract).

  • Marriage requires two consenting people. If either person cannot or does not understand what it means to be married (due to mental illness, drugs, alcohol, or other factors affecting judgment), then that person does not have the capacity to consent and the marriage is not valid.

The couple is not close blood relatives.

  • Close blood relatives cannot marry, although, in some states, first cousins can marry. Of the states that allow first cousins to marry, a few also require that one of the cousins no longer be able to conceive children.

Satisfaction of a waiting period from the time the marriage license is issued to the time the marriage ceremony is performed.

Performance of a marriage ceremony with witnesses and a person recognized by the state to have the authority to perform a marriage ceremony (such as a priest, rabbi or a judge).

  • A religious ceremony should be conducted under the customs of the religion, or, in the case of a Native American group, under the customs of the tribe. Religious ceremonies normally are conducted by religious officials, such as ministers, priests, or rabbis. Native American ceremonies may be presided over by a tribal chief or other designated official.
  • Civil ceremonies usually are conducted by judges. In some states, county clerks or other government officials may conduct civil ceremonies. Contrary to some popular legends, no state authorizes ship captains to perform marriages.
  • Most states require one or two witnesses to sign the marriage certificate.

Recording of the marriage license after the marriage ceremony is performed.

  • The person who performs the marriage ceremony has a duty to send a copy of the marriage certificate to the county or state agency that records marriage certificates. Failure to send the marriage certificate to the appropriate agency does not necessarily nullify the marriage, but it may make proof of the marriage more difficult.

Consummation of the marriage by the act of sexual relations (only a few states require this).

  • Most states consider a couple to be married when the ceremony ends. Lack of subsequent sexual relations does not automatically affect the validity of the marriage, although in some states non-consummation could be a basis for having the marriage annulled.

A marriage performed in another jurisdiction — even overseas — is usually valid in any state as long as the marriage was legal in the jurisdiction where it occurred.

Please Note: State and county marriage license requirements often change. The above information is for guidance only and should not be regarded as legal advice.