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Getting married overseas

If you’re getting married or having a civil union overseas, you usually do not 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.

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, for example 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’re not sure your overseas civil union is valid here

For an overseas civil union to be valid in NZ, the original civil union must have happened in:

  • UK
  • Germany
  • Finland
  • Vermont, or
  • New Jersey.

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.

Visas

If you’re planning to get married or enter a civil union in the UK you must get a visa before you arrive.

You cannot 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.

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.

Foreign nationals — marriages and civil partnerships in the UK

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.

Marriages and civil unions in the UK

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.

Notice of intended marriage outside NZ BDM 57 (PDF 144KB)

Notice of intended marriage outside NZ BDM 57 — accessible alternative (TXT 13KB)

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.

Application for certificate of no impediment to marriage or civil union BDM 189 (PDF 311KB)

Application for certificate of no impediment to marriage or civil union BDM 189 accessible alternative (TXT 37KB)

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.

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