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Destination weddings: How to get married abroad

Planning to get married on a faraway beach, in your favorite foreign city, or at the base of your favorite ski slope? You can get married almost anywhere with careful planning and patience.

Is it easy to get married in another country?

It can be done, but “easy” may not be a word that applies. You may have to satisfy local requirements such as proof of divorce, provide an Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry, and more. Begin your research by contacting the embassy or tourist bureau of the country you plan to marry in to discover specific requirements. The Department of State may also be able to provide you with more information, as well. The Attorney General’s office in your state can tell you if your marriage will be valid in the United States. If you marry a foreigner abroad, you may need to apply for a spouse visa to bring them to the US.

Questions about getting hitched abroad?

Ask a lawyer any question and find other legal resources for newlyweds.

What documents do we need for getting married abroad?

Laws vary, but in many cases, you’ll need:

  • A valid passport
  • A certified copy of your birth certificate
  • Proof of divorce or annulment, if applicable
  • Single Status Affidavit or Affidavit of Civil Status
  • Proof of residence
  • Proof of death, if widower or widow
  • Adoption certificate
  • Parental consent, if underage
  • Proof of name change, if applicable

You may also benefit from bringing translated copies of these documents to help speed along the process. Give yourself enough time to make sure you can satisfy any waiting period or paperwork processing time required. Research what is required of your witnesses to ensure they have the proper documentation, as well. If the process seems too overwhelming, you can hire a wedding planner who specializes in weddings in your destination country to help you satisfy the local requirements.

Are marriages performed in another country valid in the U.S.?

They are valid in the country the wedding is performed in, but may or may not be valid in the United States. If you are getting married in another country, ask a lawyer about marriage laws in your home state. Depending on your state, you may need additional documentation to make your marriage valid. To ensure that a marriage is legally recognized, some couples choose to have a small, private civil ceremony in the U.S. followed by a destination wedding abroad.

With planning, you can get married abroad. In most cases, it cannot be done spontaneously, but it can be done with patience and the proper paperwork. If you are planning a destination wedding, plan well in advance and give your witnesses and guests adequate time to obtain the documentation they may need, as well.

Looking for more essential marriage documents? Rocket Lawyer is here to help. Try us for free!

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