How to Make Sure Your Overseas Wedding Is Legal


Photo

Ana and Jenson Turner at Son Marroig in Majorca.

Credit
Jimena Roquero

As romantic as it may be to wed in a castle in another country, it is important to pay attention to the laws of the land. Here are some tips to make sure your wedding is legal.

Some countries require that the couple reside in the country for a specific period of time before being married there. Blood tests may be required. Minimum ages and parental consent may be required. Contact the foreign embassy or consulate of the country in which you are to be married; the State Department provides a list.

Foreign countries may require documentation showing that previous legal relationships have ended; death or divorce certificates must be translated into the local language and verified as authentic. Affidavits that both parties are legally able to enter into a marriage contract also may be required. American embassies or consulates are typically able to execute such a contract, provided the couple has a signed and notarized statement attesting to their eligibility.

Not all marriages performed in other countries are recognized in the United States. Contact the office of the attorney general for your state to learn if your marriage will be recognized, and the steps needed to make it so.

For religious marriages, laws vary. Local officials, either religious or civil, typically perform the ceremonies. In Spain, for example, nonresidents may be married in a Catholic church if they obtain a nihil obstat, a document declaring that the bishop of their church at home does not object.

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