How to Request a Copy of a Certificate of Witness to Marriage Abroad (filed before November 9, 1989)

Vital Records Office Operations

Due to public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, you should expect delays processing your request for vital record services.  It may take us 3-4 months to process your request from the date we receive it.  Please consider waiting to mail your request until we resume normal operations.

Our team has been heavily impacted by COVID-19 and we are experiencing extremely high call volumes. We are working to safely add resources to make sure we answer your inquiries and address new and pending cases as quickly as possible. 

Status Updates: It may take up to 4 weeks from the day you apply until your application status is “In Process".

The Department of State issued Certificates of Witness to Marriage Abroad when a U.S. consular officer witnessed the marriage ceremony of U.S. citizen(s) performed abroad.  We stopped issuing this document on November 9, 1989. You can obtain a copy of this document by requesting it from our office.

We do not maintain foreign marriage documents. If you were married abroad, contact the embassy or consulate of the country where the marriage was performed to obtain a certified copy of your foreign marriage document.

Who may request a copy of a Certificate of Witness to Marriage Abroad :

  • The individual(s) whose marriage is recorded on the document
  • A legal guardian of the individual(s) whose marriage is recorded on the document
  • A person who obtains written authorization from the individual(s) whose marriage is recorded on the document

ALL / ALL /

How to Request a Copy of a Certificate of Witness to Marriage Abroad

1. Submit a notarized  letter which must include all of the following information for both subjects of the marriage:

  • Full names of both individuals being married (include first, middle, and last names)
  • Date of marriage (Month Date, Year) and place of marriage (City, Country)
  • Signature of requester(s)
  • The mailing address where you want us to send your record
  • Your phone number
  • Your email address

2.    Submit a copy of your valid photo identification (e.g. driver's license)

3. Send a $50.00 check or money order. Additional copies are $50.00 each.

  • Make payable to "U.S. Department of State"
  • Include a complete mailing address on the check
  • Checks and money orders must be payable in U.S. dollars through a U.S. bank
  • The Department is not responsible for cash lost in the mail

4. Mail the notarized request, copy of valid ID, and payment to:

            U.S. Department of State
            Passport Vital Records Section
            44132 Mercure Cir.
            PO Box 1213
            Sterling, VA 20166-1213

Note: Avoid delays by notarizing your request and including a copy of your valid photo identification.

Processing Times

Due to limited staffing during the COVID-19 pandemic, you should expect to receive your document in 3 to 4 months. Some documents may take longer than 16 weeks due to nationwide shipping delays. Because of the unique nature of our records, we cannot provide expedited service. We can only provide official copies of records that are on file with the U.S. Department of State.

As additional employees return to our office, we are working aggressively to address all pending requests. You will continue to experience delays receiving certified vital records and the return of any original documents submitted. You may check the status of your request by emailing VitalRecordsPublicInquiries@state.gov or by calling 202-485-8300.

Shipping

We will send your vital record to you. You can select First Class Mail or 1-2 Day Delivery:

  • USPS First Class Mail: Takes one to two weeks. No additional charge. 
  • 1-2 Day Delivery Service: Add $17.56 to the $50.00 check or money order. 
ALL / ALL /

Can I authorize someone else to request my record?

Yes. He or she must be a family member or friend who has known you for at least five years. We need the following information:

  • Your signed, written authorization. For example: I, state your name, hereby authorize John Doe to request my Certificate of Witness to Marriage Abroad on my behalf.
  • A photocopy of two of your secondary IDs. 
  • A notarized statement from the person who is requesting your records
  • A copy of the valid primary photo ID of the person making the request
ALL / ALL /

How to Request an Apostille on your Consular Document

Apostilles are specialized certificates attached to your consular documents. If you need an apostille to satisfy foreign document requirements, you must submit a notarized request and a copy of a valid state-issued ID (e.g. driver's license) to the address listed below. If you already have a consular document issued within the last five years, you don't need to pay for the apostille. In addition to the Certificate of Witness to Marriage, you can request other consular documents for $50 per copy:

You must ensure that the country for intended use is a member of the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents.  

Please send your notarized request and fee (if necessary) to:

    U.S. Department of State
    Passport Vital Records Section
    44132 Mercure Circle
    PO Box 1213
    Sterling, VA 20166-1213