When you’re planning to get married abroad, there are enough things to worry about without the fear that your legal paperwork for your wedding overseas might not be in order. Let’s face it, getting your documentation ready isn’t the most exciting part of getting married, but failing to get it done correctly might jeopardise the wedding ceremony! Thankfully, you can avoid many problems by avoiding the Top 10 mistakes that people make when organising their wedding paperwork.
#1 Out-of-date declaration
Although it pays to be organised, be careful! Often, the authorities in the country where you are tying the knot will expect your declaration of non-impediment to be no more than 3 months old. Don’t worry, though, you can get your affidavit/declaration prepared in advance and only get it signed three months before your wedding.
#2 DIY declarations
Weddings cost money, fact. Whilst you might be tempted to cut corners by drafting the affidavit/declaration yourself to save money, you will regret it if the example you use isn’t actually correct meaning your wedding can’t take place! There are other areas where you can save money without putting your celebrations at risk (chair covers might be a good place to start!).
#3 Not getting things translated
If you’re getting married in a country where English isn’t an official language, you’ll more than likely need to have your documents translated. Usually, you’ll need to have your birth certificate translated, possibly also your passport or, if you’re divorced, your divorce decree absolute. If you need a quote for a translation, speak to Dot Comma Translations.
#4 Not having your declaration notarised
Your affidavit or declaration will only be valid if it is stamped by a notary public. You can find your local notary via The Notaries Society. If you’re in London, then you can visit our partners, Vanner Perez Notaries, a firm of notaries public in London Bridge.
#5 Forgetting an Apostille or consular stamp
It’s tempting to think that once you’ve obtained your declaration of non-impediment and dug out your birth certificate, that’s it. However, you will often need to have your documents legalised to be acceptable for use abroad. This means getting them stamped by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and/or the consulate of the country where you’re getting married. Don’t overlook this last step.
#6 Misspellings or wrong numbers
Making a typo in your fiancé(e)’s name or transposing your passport number can be catastrophic. The details in your affidavit/declaration must match your other identity documents so that the authorities can check you are one and the same person. The rule is, therefore, check, check and double check!
#7 Wrong type of declaration
Confusingly, a declaration of non-impediment goes by many names (and it doesn’t help when the name of the document has been translated into English) – an affidavit of single status, declaration of marital eligibility or certificate of no-impediment. Check you understand the difference between an affidavit and a certificate of no-impediment by reading our FAQs.
#8 Incomplete information in your declaration
Your declaration/affidavit of non-impediment needs to contain specific information. Leaving stuff out is not a good idea. You might get away with missing out details of your profession, but you certainly wouldn’t be able to leave out your fiancé(e)’s first name!
#9 Not having enough copies
If you want to save the environment, that’s all well and good. But some countries need you to produce multiple copies of your documents. If you’re in any doubt about how many copies you will need, you’re best to check with your wedding planner or the authorities in the country where you’re getting married.
#10 Using a solicitor not a notary
A solicitor is empowered to administer oaths and declarations for use in the UK. Unfortunately, if you’re using your documents abroad, your solicitor’s signature probably won’t be acceptable. To be on the safe side, we recommend always visiting a notary public, as notaries specialise in authenticating documents for use all over the world.