April 30, 2013
U.S. embassy and consulate personnel cannot perform marriages in foreign countries. Depending on the law of the foreign country, local civil or religious officials generally perform marriages. Marriages performed overseas are considered valid in the country where they take place if they are entered into in accordance with local law. Recognition of the validity of marriages performed abroad is dependent upon the laws of the place in which the marriage is to be recognized.
Plan ahead. Procedures vary from country to country, and some require lengthy preparation.
The process of marrying overseas can be time-consuming and expensive. Therefore, if you plan to marry in a foreign country, you should find out the requirements of that country before you travel. Contact the embassy or tourist information bureau of the country where you plan to marry to learn about specific requirements. A listing of foreign embassies and consulates in the United States is available on the Department of State's website at http://www.state.gov/s/cpr/rls/dpl/32122.htm. Foreign embassy and consulate contact information can also be found in the Country Specific Information the Department of State publishes for each country. If you are already abroad, you may wish to consult with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
Validity of Marriages Abroad
If you get married abroad and need to know if your marriage will be recognized in the United States and what documentation may be needed, contact the office of the Attorney General of your state of residence in the United States.
Marriage to a Foreign Citizen
Information on obtaining a visa for a foreign spouse may be obtained from any office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. embassies and consulates abroad, or the Department of State Visa Office, Washington, D.C. 20520-0113. General information regarding visas may be obtained by calling the Visa Office via the How to Contact Us webpage.