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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.

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.

Apply online

Anyone can apply online, whether you’re in NZ or not.

Apply for a marriage licence online

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.

Notice of intended marriage form BDM 60 (PDF 229KB)

Notice of intended marriage form BDM 60 — accessible alternative (TXT 21KB)

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.

Births, Deaths and Marriages offices

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

Notice of intended marriage where parties are ordinarily resident outside form BDM 58 (PDF 367KB)

Notice of intended marriage where parties are ordinarily resident outside form BDM 58 — accessible alternative (TXT 26KB)

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.

Cost

Personalised ceremony

The licence costs $150. 

Celebrants set their own fees, on top of the cost of the licence. 

Registry ceremony

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 do not need to be an NZ citizen. Visitors to NZ can marry or have a civil union here.

Who cannot legally marry

You cannot 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.

Full list of people you cannot marry — Marriage Act 1955

If you’re 16 or 17

You need consent from a Family Court Judge before you can marry.

Get consent to marry if you’re aged 16 or 17

If you get consent, you’ll be given a Court Order. You need to attach the Court Order to your marriage licence application form and post it to Births, Deaths and Marriages.

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 do not 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.

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