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Before getting married in a country outside Australia you will need to contact the closest embassy, consulate or local representative of the country where you plan to marry, for information about that country’s legal requirements for marriage.
You can find a list of foreign embassies and consulates in Australia (external link) at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
Some countries require a document as evidence that a person is free to marry. This document is called a single status certificate and is issued by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
Additionally, some countries also require a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage (external link). This certificate is issued by DFAT and provides evidence that an overseas marriage will be recognised as a valid marriage in Australia.
If you have been previously married and divorced or widowed, you may also need to provide your divorce certificate or your spouse's death certificate as evidence that your previous marriage has ended.
Once married, you need to ensure your marriage is registered in that country and obtain documents as evidence of the event. Evidence of an overseas marriage may include any official, commemorative or keepsake documents couples receive at the time of their ceremony.
While a marriage that occurs overseas cannot be registered in Australia, an overseas marriage will generally be recognised as valid if:
- the marriage is recognised as valid under the law of the country where the marriage took place
- the marriage is between a man and a woman
- both bride and groom are at least 18 years of age, and
- neither bride nor groom is married to any other person at the time of marriage.
If you wish to change your surname after marrying overseas, you may need to formally change your name.
Find more information about getting married overseas in the overseas weddings FAQs.