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Getting Married Overseas

Click here for Maori language version

(Statement on the use of macrons)

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 able to marry. Births, Deaths and Marriages issues this document, which is called a Certificate of No Impediment or a Certificate of Search (see details below).

If you marry overseas your marriage will usually be recognised in New Zealand. There are special procedures for registering an overseas marriage in New Zealand.

If you are in New Zealand you should contact Births, Deaths and Marriages on Call Free 0800 22 52 52 (New Zealand only).

They can:
  • Advise you on requirements and fees for a Certificate of No Impediment or a Certificate of Search.
  • Provide application forms for a Certificate of No Impediment or a Certificate of Search.
  • Provide 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. Click here for an index of New Zealand overseas posts (courtesy of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade). 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

Getting a Certificate of No Impediment
Certain overseas countries require a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage before allowing you to marry, to prove that you are not already legally married in your country of citizenship or residence.

To get a Certificate of No Impediment you will need to fill out the form Notice Of Intended Marriage Of New Zealand Citizen In Another Country. Click here to download this form in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format. You need to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. You can download a free version from the Adobe site.

Or contact us to have a form sent to you.

For marriages in some countries, the Certificate of No Impediment must be endorsed by the representative of that country in New Zealand before despatch. The fee for this service is in addition to the fee payable in respect of the notice. Contact Births, Deaths and Marriages Central Registry or the appropriate Embassy/Consulate for details of these prices.

Once Births, Deaths and Marriages has received and processed the application, a Certificate of No Impediment may be issued after a statutory period of 14 days. The endorsement by the Embassies for Brazil, Malaysia and Taiwan can be arranged by Births, Deaths and Marriages. Additional time should be allowed for the endorsement. This can vary depending on the country involved, but as a general rule, you should allow four weeks.

If you live in New Zealand but are not a New Zealand citizen, you will be issued with a Certificate of Search. The certificate states that there is no record of a legal marriage existing in New Zealand.

The cost of a Certificate of No Impediment or a Certificate of Search is NZ$120.00.

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 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.

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

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Last updated: 28/10/2003