July 4, 2023

Tying the knot overseas – what you need to know

So, you’re head over heels and ready to tie the knot with someone special — and love the idea of an exotic overseas location. Here are some of the legal ramifications for you to consider.

In Australia, you must comply with certain rules to get married, such as not being married already, be over the age of 18, provide a Notice of Intended Marriage at least one month prior to an authorised celebrant, and use specific words during the ceremony. But what happens if you want to get married overseas?

Generally speaking, the foreign country will want proof that you are free to marry. Although that proof varies by country and even within a country, the most common document required is a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage, which is issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Some jurisdictions require further proof, such as a Single Status Certificate, which can be issued by NSW’s Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Usually, marriages performed overseas will be recognised in Australia, provided they are recognised as valid in the overseas jurisdiction, and would have been recognised as valid if the marriage had been performed in Australia. Exceptions include if the parties are too closely related, where consent was not free due to duress or fraud, or if one of the parties was married to someone else.

Provided your overseas marriage is recognised in Australia, there is no need to register it here (although this is possible if you want to). Since 9 December 2017 this also applies to existing and future same sex marriages made validly under a foreign law are also recognised in Australia.

Usually, a foreign marriage certificate will be sufficient evidence of marriage in Australia, however you should seek legal advice to ensure it is valid.


This information and information published on our website and social media sites is general in nature and for information and entertainment purposes only.  This information does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.  If you require legal advice which takes into account your personal circumstances, please contact us for an appointment.