Getting married overseas
If you’re getting married or having a civil union overseas, you usually don’t need to do anything in NZ beforehand — check with the country's officials if you need to do anything there.
Overseas marriages are valid in NZ
Most overseas marriages are valid in New Zealand. Your marriage will be registered in the country where it takes place — you don’t need to register it here.
If you're not sure if your overseas marriage is valid here
An overseas marriage is usually valid unless it would be illegal in NZ (eg bigamy). If you want to check your marriage is legal here, you can apply to the Family Court for a declaration. Talk to a lawyer to find out if you need to do this.
If you want to register your overseas marriage in NZ
You don't have to register your overseas marriage in New Zealand, but you can if you want to. This means you can have a New Zealand marriage certificate issued.
To register your overseas marriage in NZ, the ceremony has to be witnessed by an authorised official from a New Zealand diplomatic or consular post. Contact the nearest New Zealand overseas post in the country where you plan to marry to find out about costs and to see if they are available.
Before you get married overseas
Contact the authorities in the country where you plan to get married and check their rules and requirements.
If you're intending to get married in the United Kingdom
If you're intending to get married in the United Kingdom you need a UK visa. You might also need to lodge a notice in New Zealand about your upcoming marriage.
If you're planning to get married or enter a civil union in the UK you must get a visa before you arrive.
You can't enter the United Kingdom to get married or enter into a civil union on the 6 month tourist visa that most NZers can get at the UK border.
The type of visa depends on whether you and your partner plan to:
- leave the UK within 6 months, or
- live in the UK after you're married.
If you plan to leave within 6 months, apply for a Marriage Visitor Visa.
If you want to live in the UK after you're married, apply for either:
- a family of settled person visa, or
- an European Economic Area (EEA) family permit.
The type of visa you need depends on your partner's residency status.
Lodge a notice
You should check to see if you need to do this with the local register office in the country where you intend to get married.
Make sure you do this before you leave New Zealand, or you may need to return to NZ if the overseas authorities require that a notice of intended marriage is lodged here.
You can lodge a notice of your intended marriage if you have been resident in New Zealand for at least 7 days and are:
- a New Zealand citizen, or
- a United Kingdom national, or
- a citizen of another Commonwealth country, or
- a citizen of the Republic of Ireland
and either you intend to marry a:
- United Kingdom national or,
- citizen of another Commonwealth country, or
- citizen of the Republic of Ireland
in the United Kingdom, or
you intend to marry outside New Zealand in accordance with the Foreign Marriage Acts 1892 to 1947 of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.
If you are under 20, and intending to get married in the United Kingdom, you must also obtain consent from each of your parents.
What to do
Fill out a Notice of Intended Marriage outside New Zealand form and return it to Births, Deaths and Marriages.
Certificate of no impediment
Some countries will ask you for a document that proves you're not already married in New Zealand. In New Zealand, this document is called a "certificate of no impediment to marriage" — other countries might call it something different.
Who needs it
Each country has different rules — you need to check with the authorities in the country where you want to get married.
When you find out
It takes between 3 and 5 weeks for the certificate to be sent to you.