Get a marriage licence
Who can get it
You can’t get married or have a civil union in NZ without a marriage licence. You need to arrange it at least 3 working days before you want to get married. It costs $150 if using a celebrant and $240 if getting married at a registry office.
Anyone can marry in New Zealand, as long as you’re not:
- already married or in a civil union, unless you’re changing your relationship with the same person
- under 16 — and if you’re 16 or 17, you need your parents’ consent
- closely related by birth, marriage or adoption — the full list of people you can’t marry is on the back of the marriage licence form.
Both different sex and same sex marriages are legal in New Zealand.
If you're 16 or 17
If you or your partner is 16 or 17, you can only get married with the consent of:
- both your parents, unless one of your parents doesn’t live with you or has died
- a guardian or relative if your parents can’t be located or aren’t able to consent because they’re too sick or have died
- a Family Court Judge if your parents or guardians won’t give you consent.
Each parent needs to complete a Consent to Marriage of a Person Aged 16 or 17 form. It needs to be witnessed by someone who doesn't live with you and isn't related to whoever is giving consent.
Consent to marriage of a person aged 16 or 17 form BDM 11 (PDF 30KB)
What you need
Before you apply, you need to:
- arrange for a marriage celebrant or choose a registry office to get married in
- organise where you’ll get married. You can only get married in the place you’ve put on the marriage licence form, so include a back-up venue in case something goes wrong.
If you've been married before
If you or your partner:
- is divorced, you’ll need a copy of the dissolution order if you have it
- had a spouse or civil union partner who has died, you won’t have to give evidence of their death, but you’ll need to put the date they died on the marriage licence form.
How you apply
An NZ marriage licence costs:
- $150 if you’re getting married by a celebrant — the celebrant costs extra and you’ll pay them directly, or
- $240 if you’re getting married at a registry office — this includes the ceremony.
There are two ways to apply for an NZ marriage licence. If you live overseas and will arrive in NZ less than 3 days before you get married, follow the second process below.
If you normally live in New Zealand, or arrive in NZ more than 3 working days before you get married
1. Complete the licence form
You need to complete the marriage licence form — this is officially called the notice of intended marriage or civil union form. You can’t get married or have a civil union in NZ without a marriage licence.
If either of you has been married before, you need to say how and when that relationship ended.
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.
You’ll need to declare:
- you’re legally allowed to get married
- you’ve been truthful on your marriage licence form
- you’ve got parental consent if you’re 16 or 17.
You can book a time online to go in and sign the form if you live in Auckland, Manukau, Wellington or Christchurch.
3. Pay the fee
- $240 if you’re getting married at a registry office (including the ceremony), or
- $150 if you’re getting married by a celebrant (the celebrant costs extra – you’ll pay them directly).
You can pay when you make your declaration by:
- credit card
- New Zealand money order
- cheque — who you make the cheque payable to depends on which registrar of marriages you’re making your declaration to.
If you arrive in NZ less than 3 working days before you get married
1. Complete the form
2. Don’t sign the declaration
3. Pay the fee
Send it to the registry office closest to where you plan to get married. Include an international bank draft in New Zealand dollars to pay the fee — check the list of registry offices to see who to make it payable to. It costs:
- NZ$240 if you’re getting married at a registry office (including the ceremony), or
- NZ$150 if you’re getting married by a celebrant (the celebrant costs extra – you’ll pay them directly).
4. When you arrive in NZ
Visit the registry office to sign the declaration and pick up your marriage licence and copies of the documents you'll sign on the day.
If you're in a Commonwealth country, you can also take your completed form to a New Zealand high commission, embassy or consular office and sign the declaration in front of a Commonwealth representative before you post it. Contact the office first to check someone is available to witness your declaration.
When you get it
Your marriage licence will take at least 3 days to be issued.
You’ll be given or sent (if you’ve arranged this with the registrar) the licence, and two copies of the Copy of Particulars. Give all 3 of these documents to your celebrant before your wedding.
You’ll also be given a form for updating your details on the electoral roll.
It's possible to give notice at one registry office and collect your licence at another, but you need to allow a few extra days for this. Discuss this with the Registrar first.
What happens next
Your marriage licence is valid for 3 months from the date it's issued.
If you change your venue before the marriage takes place, you need to tell the registry office where you got your marriage licence.
Straight after the ceremony, your celebrant will ask you to sign two copies of the Copy of Particulars form — one for you to keep and one they'll send to Births, Deaths and Marriages so your marriage can be registered. You can order a marriage certificate from Birth, Deaths and Marriages after your marriage has been registered.
The marriage licence form is officially called the notice of intended marriage or civil union form.