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

If you married in a foreign country before November 9, 1989 and a U.S. consular officer witnessed the marriage ceremony, you can get a copy of the Certificate of Witness to Marriage Abroad.

We do not have marriage documents from other countries. Contact the embassy or consulate of a foreign country to get a certified copy of a foreign marriage document.

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

  • The married individual(s) listed on the document
  • A legal guardian of the married individual(s) listed on the document
  • A person who has written permission from the married individual(s) listed on the document

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Steps to request the copy

To request a copy, you must submit a:

1.  Notarized, completed Form DS-5542

  • Fill out the form on your computer
  • If you complete the form by hand, use black ink
  • Sign the form in front of a notary public to avoid delays

2. Photocopy of the front and back of your valid photo ID. Examples include:

  • State-issued driver’s license
  • Non-driver photo ID
  • Military ID
  • Passport
  • Prison or inmate ID

If you don't have any of these IDs, please see Passport Vital Records IDs.

3. Check or money order. The cost is $50 for each record you request.

  • Make payable to the "U.S. Department of State"
  • Include a complete mailing address on the check
  • Must be payable in U.S. dollars through a U.S. bank

4. Mail Form DS-5542, a photocopy of the ID, and payment to:

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

We can only provide official copies of records on file with the U.S. Department of State.

Processing Times

  • Once we receive your request in our office, we should process it in 4 to 8 weeks
  • Some documents may take longer than 8 weeks to locate. We do not offer expedited service.
  • Mailing times (which may add up to 4 weeks) are not included in processing times.
  • To avoid delays, provide complete information on your Form DS-5542 and include all your supporting documents.

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 extra charge. 
  • 1-2 Day Delivery Service: Add $21.36 to the check or money order. 
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Can I have someone else request my record?

Yes, you can give permission to a family member or friend who has known you for at least five years. We need:

  • Your signed, written permission. For example: "I, [write your name], give permission to [write your friend or family member's name] to request my Certificate of Witness to Marriage Abroad on my behalf."
  • A photocopy of your valid photo ID
  • A notarized statement from the person who is requesting your records
  • A photocopy of the front and back of the valid photo ID of the person making the request
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How to request an apostille on your document

An apostille certifies a document so countries in the 1961 Hague Convention will recognize it. 

If you need an apostille on your Certificate of Witness to Marriage Abroad, you must submit a:

  1. Notarized, completed Form DS-5542
  2. Photocopy of a valid photo ID (examples: state-issued driver's license, passport, or military ID) 
  3. Check or money order. The cost is $50 if you need a new copy of your Certificate of Witness to Marriage Abroad.
    1. Make payable to the "U.S. Department of State"
    2. Include a complete mailing address on the check
    3. Must be payable in U.S. dollars through a U.S. bank

Mail your notarized Form DS-5542, photocopy of your ID, and payment to:

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

If you return a Certificate of Witness to Marriage Abroad issued within the last five years for an apostille, you don't need to pay for the apostille.

Last Updated: June 28, 2024