Marriages abroad provide the ultimate wedding experience and are typically performed by local civil or religious officials in the country where you want your marriage to take place.
A local wedding planner is not necessary in most countries, nor is an attorney. We encourage everyone to research the country and select a location for the wedding ceremony and other wedding venues such as restaurants or resorts, which typically have on site wedding planners who will plan your entire wedding, including all requisite documentation, without involving any third party planners; this not only saves money but will also minimize the chances of any difficulty with communication or other problems that can often arise when dealing with third party wedding planners.
Documents you will need for getting married abroad:
Getting married abroad involves pretty much the same documents in any country:
• Proof of Citizenship
• Proof of Identification. Given current international travel guidelines, your passport will suffice. Some countries may also require a photo ID or drivers license.
• Copy of divorce decree or death certificate when applicable
• Any local marriage requirements, which vary slightly in different countries
• Proof of child custody when applicable
Always contact the country's department of tourism or chamber of commerce and request a written list of specifically what documents you will need to bring.
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General Information and Vital Details for Getting Married Abroad
Ceremony and Venue Selection for Weddings Abroad. Marriages abroad are typically performed by local civil or religious official in the country where your marriage is taking place. A local wedding planner is not necessary in most countries, nor is an attorney. We encourage everyone to research the country and select a location for the wedding ceremony and other wedding venues such as restaurants or resorts, which typically have on site wedding planners who will plan your entire wedding, including all requisite documentation, without involving any third party planners; this not only saves money but will also minimize the chances of any difficulty with communication or other problems that can often arise when dealing with third party wedding planners. Of course, if the resort, restaurants or ceremony location does not have a wedding planner on staff, you will need to work with a third party planner. This is often the case in countries where English is not the primary language, which can complicate and confuse matters concerning your marriage ceremony, reception and even your required wedding documentation. Hence, in countries where your language is not the primary language of the country, it may often be in your best interest to contract with a reliable wedding planner to orchestrate everything for you. We strongly recommend checking references prior to contracting with a wedding planner in a foreign country.
The validity of marriages abroad is not dependent upon the presence of an American diplomatic or consular officer, but upon adherence to the laws of the country where the marriage is performed. Consular officers may authenticate foreign marriage documents. The fee for authentication of a document will usually run between US$30.00 to US$50.00. In general, marriages which are legally performed and valid abroad are also legally valid in the United States. Inquiries regarding the validity of a marriage in a foreign country should be directed to the attorney general of the state in the United States where the parties to the marriage live.
Foreign Laws and Procedures: The local embassy or tourist department of the foreign country where the marriage ceremony will be performed is usually the best source of information regarding marriages in that particular country. Some general information on marriage in a limited number of countries can be obtained from:
Overseas Citizens Services Suite 4811
Department of State
Washington, DC 20520
American embassies and consulates abroad typically have information about marriage in their country, providing a good source of general information regarding laws and documents. Marriages abroad are subject to the residency requirements of the country in which the marriage will be performed. In some countries, obtaining documentation can involve waiting periods ranging from days to months. The Cayman Islands are an example of a very easy country to get married in because they are a British Commonwealth state and all wedding documentation can usually be obtained and completed in a matter of days. Other countries, such as some South American third world countries can take as long as several months so it is always wise to plan your overseas wedding at least several weeks in advance. Most countries require that a valid U.S. passport be presented. Some countries require that the documents presented to the marriage registrar first be authenticated in the United States by a consular official of that country, which can be time consuming and costly.
Age Requirements For Marriage depends upon the country. Foreign marriage ceremonies for anyone under the age of 18 will usually require a written notarized statement of consent from their parents. Some countries require parental consent to be authenticated by a local consular official.
An affidavit of eligibility to marry may include producing proof of legal capacity to enter into a marriage contract in the form of certification by a competent authority ensuring that no impediment exists contradictory to the foreign marriage. No such document is required in the Cayman Islands however some foreign countries do require a notarized statement to be executed before one of their own consular officials in the United States. If that is the case it will be necessary for the persons getting married abroad to execute an affidavit at the American embassy or consulate in the country where the marriage will transpire, simply stating that they are free to marry. This is called an affidavit of eligibility to marry. The fee for the American consular officer's certification of the affidavit costs about $50.00. Some countries also require witnesses to execute affidavit stating that the parties are free to get married.
Additional Requirements: Many countries, including the United States require blood tests prior to getting married. Some countries where English is not the spoken language may require the documents to be translated into the language of that country.
In some countries, marriage to a national of that country will automatically make the spouse either a citizen of that country or eligible to become naturalized in that country expeditiously. The automatic acquisition of a second nationality will not affect U.S. citizenship. However, naturalization in a foreign country on your own application or the application of a duly authorized agent may cause the loss of American citizenship. Persons planning to apply for a foreign nationality should contact an American embassy or consulate for further information. Marriage to an Alien Information on obtaining a visa for a foreign spouse may be obtained from any office of the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. embassies and consulates abroad; or,
The Department of State Visa Office
For general information regarding visas, contact the Visa Office at: 202-663-1225.
Getting married in a foreign country will be the most exciting and memorable occasion of your life. Be sure to take care of all the preliminary requirements per the country of your choice of marriage and work directly with the resort, restaurant or attraction in that country whenever they offer an on site wedding planner. This will ensure the most problem free and cost effective foreign country marriage.
If you have any questions pertaining to getting married in the Cayman Islands, please visit our Cayman Wedding section and Forums for all of the very latest information, photos, videos, reviews and substantial savings!
Congratulations on your most special occasion!
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Our guide to getting married abroad includes complete wedding details for: International beach weddings, Caribbean beach weddings, civil ceremony, wedding ceremonies; destination wedding dress, destination wedding invitations and everything you need to know about getting married in a foreign country.
Getting married anywhere in the Caribbean will result in the most beautiful settings imaginable. While Activity Guide is of course partial to Cayman Islands, we still provide information to insure that wherever you decide to get married, you will have all of the information you require. In most cases you can avoid the high costs and third party consequences of hiring a wedding planner, as most restaurant and attraction venues have their own on site wedding planners. Choosing an international destination for your most special wedding occasion does not have to be costly, confusing, expensive or complicated. By spending a little time here researching your international wedding options, you can be reasonably certain of a perfect affordable international wedding.
Documents you will need for getting married abroad
Ceremony and Venue Planning for a Destination Wedding
Validity of Marriages Abroad
Foreign Laws and Procedures for Getting Married Abroad
Parental Consent and Age Requirements for Foreign Country Weddings
Affidavit of eligibility for Getting Married Abroad
Additional Overseas Wedding Requirements
International Wedding Resource Directory