U.S. embassy and consulate personnel cannot perform marriages in foreign countries. Local law decides who can perform marriages. Often, it is local civil or religious officials who perform marriages. Marriages performed overseas are valid in the country where they occur as long as they follow local law. Whether another country recognizes your foreign marriage depends on its own law.
Getting married overseas can be time-consuming and expensive. The process is different from country to country, and some need preparation. If you plan to marry in a foreign country, find out the requirements of that country before you travel.
Some of the requirements you might encounter are:
- Residence in a country for a specified time before you can get married there.
- Blood tests.
- Age requirements.
- Parental consent.
- Proof of the end of any previous relationship. This could include death or divorce certificates.
- Documents translated into the local language and authenticated.
- An Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry. Some countries need this as proof of legal ability to enter into a marriage contract. The United States cannot attest to your marital status. However, you can write a statement confirming that you can marry and a U.S. consular officer can notarize your signature on the document. This satisfies most countries.
Contact the embassy or tourist information bureau of the country where you plan to marry. They can tell you about the specific requirements. 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, you may need to know if the United States recognizes your marriage. Contact the office of the Attorney General of the state where you live. They can help you and tell you about any documentation you may need to provide.
Marriage to a Foreign Citizen
You can get information on obtaining a visa for a foreign spouse here.