Getting married abroad can be a bit confusing when it comes to the paperwork you need. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions about getting married overseas to help. Please be aware that the answers to these questions assume that you are a British national, resident in England or Wales. If this isn’t you, then don’t worry – we can still help, you’ll just need to contact us to discuss your specific requirements.
What is an impediment to marry?
Simply, any lawful reason that would prevent you from getting married. It could be that you are already married, that you are engaged to a close blood relative or that you are too young, for example. That is why a document to prove you have no impediment is needed for you to get married abroad.
What is the difference between a Certificate of No-impediment and an Affidavit/Declaration of Single Status?
A Certificate of No-Impediment (CNI) is issued by your local Registrar confirming that nothing has come to his or her attention that would prevent a marriage taking place.
An Affidavit/Declaration of Single Status (also known as a Statutory Declaration of Intended Marriage, an Affidavit of Marital Eligibility or an Affidavit of Non-Impediment) is a written document stating that you know of no reason why the marriage cannot take place and is then sworn by you under oath.
It is not always a requirement to produce a Certificate of No-Impediment when you are getting married abroad. Some countries will be happy with an Affidavit sworn before a notary public.
You should contact the registrar or local authority in the country where your intended marriage will take place for details of what is required.
How can I get a Certificate of No-Impediment (CNI)?
This is only available to British nationals residing in the UK. It is usually issued by your local register office. There are some exceptions, such as where you’re getting married in Italy or to an Irish national, or in a Commonwealth country – see below for more details.
I am getting married in a Commonwealth country can I get a Certificate of No-Impediment from my local register office?
No, in this case, it’s likely you’ll need an affidavit, but please check with the authorities in the country where you’re getting married just to be on the safe side.
I’m separated from my former spouse, but we never got divorced officially. Can I still get an affidavit?
Most likely, no, but we suggest you check with a lawyer specialising in family law in the country where the marriage took place.
I’m getting married in Italy. I’ve been told I need a Nulla Ostas. Is this the same as a Certificate of No-Impediment?
Strictly speaking, no, a Nulla Ostas is not the same as a Certificate of No-Impediment. However, they perform a similar function and you’ll need to obtain a Certificate of No-Impediment first, which you then exchange for a Nulla Ostas in Italy at the nearest British Embassy or Consulate to where you are getting married.
For Italy, there is also a requirement to complete a Statutory Declaration (a dichiarazione giurata). You can use the form on this site to produce the declaration, which you can then take to a notary public for signature.
I’m getting married to an Irish national. My local register office can’t or won’t issue a certificate of non-impediment. I’m confused. What do I need to do?
You need to send your application directly to the Consular Directorate of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in London (Nulla Ostas/Certificates of No-Impediment, Consular Directorate, K4.9, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, King Charles Street, London SW1A 2AH). You will also need to send a declaration of non-impediment signed by your local notary public along with your application – you can order the declaration from NonImpedimentToMarry.com
I’m getting married in the Dominican Republic and been told I need 2 Certificates of Non-Impediment/Affadavits. Is this correct?
Yes, each spouse has to have their own affidavit. This means that both you and your fiancé(e) will need to order their declarations for the Dominican Republic separately using our site. Once you have the declaration, it will need to be translated and legalised before your wedding. However, please check out the up to date position with the authorities.
I’ve been told some certificates or documents need an Apostille or have to be legalised. What does this mean?
This part of the process is often the most confusing, because every country has its own specific requirements for legalisation. It doesn’t help that people call this process by different names – legalisation, consularisation, attestation or getting an Apostille. In essence, legalisation is required so that the authorities in the country where you are getting married know that your documents are genuine. We’ve teamed up with Vanner Perez Notaries to help with this stage of the process, so contact them to get a quote for notarisation or legalisation.
Where can I get a certified or official translation of my birth and marriage certificates or my divorce decree absolute?
You need to speak to a professional translation agency. We’ve joined forces with Dot Comma Translations. They produce official translations into hundreds of languages so will be happy to give you a quote to produce a certified translation.
Will I need other documents translating for the authorities abroad?
Yes, in some cases. Presenting your document overseas in a country in which English is not the predominant language will often necessitate the translation of your documents. Check with the embassy or consular office what will be required in the relevant foreign language. Again, Dot Comma Translations can help you with this part of the process.