The Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Services › Births Deaths and Marriages › Getting Married Overseas

Getting Married Overseas

If you are getting married overseas it is important that you contact the marriage authorities in the country where you plan to marry and check their marriage laws and requirements.

Many countries need a document stating that you are legally free to marry. Births, Deaths and Marriages issues this document, which is called a 'Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage'.

If you have married overseas and wish to confirm that your overseas marriage is valid in New Zealand you may apply to the Family Court for a declaration as to the validity of the marriage. Contact a lawyer to discuss whether it is necessary to obtain a declaration

There are special procedures for registering an overseas marriage in New Zealand.

Contact us for:
  • Further information on requirements and fees for a Certificate of No Impediment or a Certificate of Search.
  • Further information on how to have your overseas marriage registered in New Zealand.
If you are overseas, you should contact the New Zealand overseas post (Embassy, High Commission or Consulate) nearest to where you plan to marry. They:
  • Can advise you on requirements and fees;
  • Can direct you to the marriage authorities to check marriage procedures;
  • Can provide application forms;
  • May be able to witness your marriage.
If you require a single status certificate
Some countries require a single status certificate, or a similarly named document, as evidence that you are single for the purpose of immigration or for a work permit etc. While Births, Deaths and Marriages do not specifically have such a product, we do provide for a Certificate of Search that states that a search of the marriage and civil union registers has been carried out from a certain date (usually when the applicant turned 16).

To request a Certificate of Search to be used as a single status certificate you must:
  • Complete the application form for a Certificate of No Impediment (BDM189);
  • Cross out the words “intend to marry…” and state the full reason you require the certificate ensuring that you provide additional information as required; and
  • Pay the fee.
Please allow 14 days for a Certificate of Search to be issued.
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Notice of Intended Marriage, when marrying overseas under the United Kingdom's Foreign Marriage Acts 1892 to 1947

If you are intending to marry in the United Kingdom (or other place where the law of the United Kingdom applies to marriages), you may be required by the United Kingdom's laws to lodge a notice in New Zealand relating to your intended marriage. Please ask the authorities in the place where you are intending to marry about whether you need to complete any requirements before you leave New Zealand.
You can lodge a notice of your intended marriage if you have been resident in New Zealand for at least 7 days and are:
  • A New Zealand citizen; or
  • A United Kingdom national; or
  • A citizen of another Commonwealth country; or
  • A citizen of the Republic of Ireland;
    and either:
      i) you intend to marry a citizen/national of one of those places in the United Kingdom; or
      ii) you intend to marry outside New Zealand in accordance with the Foreign Marriage Acts 1892 to 1947 of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.
Please fill out a Notice of Intended Marriage outside New Zealand (BDM 57) form. If you are aged under 20 then you must also obtain consent from each of your parents.

As part of completing the notice form, you need to make a statutory declaration that states that there is no lawful impediment to the marriage (i.e. no legal reason that you cannot marry), that the details you give are true, that the bride and groom are not within the "prohibited degrees of relationship" (set out in Schedule 2 of the Marriage Act 1955) and that parental consent has been given (where relevant).

Once Births, Deaths and Marriages has received and processed your notice, a Certificate (that notice has been given of marriage intended to be solemnised out of New Zealand) may be issued after a statutory period of 14 days.
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Registration or Recognition of Your Overseas Marriage

Your marriage should be registered in the country where it took place. Most marriages that take place overseas in accordance with the laws of that country are recognised by New Zealand law.

There is no legal obligation to register your overseas marriage in New Zealand, however you may do this if your marriage ceremony is witnessed by an authorised official from a New Zealand diplomatic or consular post. You should contact the nearest New Zealand overseas post in the country where you plan to marry to determine whether they are able to provide this service.

One advantage of registering your marriage in New Zealand is that a marriage certificate can be issued to you from New Zealand. However, this certificate does not replace the marriage certificate supplied in the country where you plan to marry.