Get a marriage licence
Before you get married, you need to apply for a licence. A licence confirms it’s legal for you to marry. It costs $150 if you use a celebrant, and a registry ceremony costs $240 in total.
COVID-19 and marriage and civil unions
In response to COVID-19, the government has raised the alert level. This will impact on gatherings such as marriage or civil union ceremonies. Visit covid19.govt.nz for more information.
What you need to know
- You need to arrange your licence at least 3 working days before you get married.
- It expires after 3 months.
- If you’re using a celebrant, they have separate fees.
- Only one of you needs to complete the application, but you need information about both of you.
Anyone can apply online, whether you’re in NZ or not.
If you want to use the paper form instead
If you’re in NZ
1. Start the form
Fill in all parts of the form, except the statutory declaration.
2. Sign the form in front of a Registrar of Marriages
You or your partner needs to take the notice to your local Registrar of Marriages in person, so they can witness you signing the declaration. The address is on the form.
If you live in Auckland, Manukau, Wellington or Christchurch, you can make the booking online.
After you’ve signed the declaration and posted it to Births, Deaths and Marriages, you have to wait until you get the licence before getting married. It takes 3 days to get the licence. If you’re using a celebrant, you can have your licence sent directly to them by email or courier.
Signing the declaration is not your wedding ceremony.
You’ll need to declare:
- you’re legally allowed to get married
- you’ve been truthful on your marriage licence form
- you’ve got consent from a Family Court judge if you’re 16 or 17.
3. Pay the fee
If you’re in Auckland, Manukau, Wellington or Christchurch, pay the fee when you make the declaration in front of the Registrar of Marriages.
If you’re anywhere else in NZ, when you make your declaration, you’ll be given information about how to post your payment to the Births, Deaths and Marriages office in Wellington.
If you’re outside of NZ
1. Start the form
Fill in all parts of the form, except the statutory declaration
2. Sign the declaration
You need to sign the declaration in front of an authorised person. Check the form for a list of people who can witness your declaration.
3. Pay the fee
Send it to the Births, Deaths and Marriages office. Include an international bank draft in NZ dollars to pay the fee. Make it payable to the Department of Internal Affairs.
4. When you arrive in NZ
You’ll need to visit a registry office to sign a declaration before your ceremony. There’s a list of addresses on the application form.
The licence costs $150.
Celebrants set their own fees, on top of the cost of the licence.
A registry ceremony costs $240 in total.
Who can get it
Most people can get a marriage licence. Same-sex marriages are legal in NZ.
You don’t need to be an NZ citizen. Visitors to NZ can marry or have a civil union here.
Who can’t legally marry
You can’t legally marry if you’re:
- already married or in a civil union, unless you’re changing your relationship with the same person
- closely related by birth, marriage or adoption
- under 16.
If you’re 16 or 17
What happens after you apply for a licence
If you’re having a personalised ceremony
You’ll be sent the licence, and 2 copies of the “Copy of Particulars of Marriage” — a form with all the details of the people getting married.
Give all 3 of these documents to your celebrant before your wedding.
If you’re having a registry ceremony
Your celebrant will be sent the licence, and 2 copies of the “Copy of Particulars of Marriage” — a form with all the details of the people getting married.
You don’t need to do anything else until the ceremony.
Tip: If you have a back-up venue.
Put your back-up venue in your application. You can only have the ceremony in the places you’ve put on the application.