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What You Need to Know About Getting Married Overseas

Getting married in a far-away location may require early planning and preparation. To make sure your destination wedding is legal, it may be necessary to fulfill residency requirements, take blood/medical tests, or produce official documentation, such as birth certificates, divorce records, and valid U.S. passports. The documentation may also need to be translated into the countries own spoken language (for a fee).

Because marriage license requirements often change, it is important that you verify all information with the local foreign office before making any wedding or travel plans.

Here's what you need to know before you apply for a marriage license in ten of the top wedding destinations below.

Mexico

Residency Requirement: None

Necessary Documents: Certified copies of birth certificates previously "legalized" and translated by the Mexican consulate with jurisdiction over the place of filing; driver's licenses or passports valid for at least 6 months; certified proof of divorce or death certificates of former spouse/s (if applicable) previously "legalized" by the Mexican consulate with jurisdiction over the place of filing; judge's form; tourist cards; Mexican-performed blood test results and X-rays.

Additional Notes: The Mexican Ministry of Tourism recommends that you budget two to four days to complete all requirements. It is recommended that you work with a wedding planner to help you fulfill all requirements properly.

More Info: Mexico Tourism Board, (800) 446-3942

Jamaica

Residency Requirement: 24 hours

Necessary Documents: Certified copies of birth certificates that include father's name; proof of divorce or death certificate of former spouse/s (if applicable).

Additional Notes: Application must be made 48 hours in advance of trip by calling the Ministry of National Security at (876) 906-4908.

More Info: Jamaica Tourist Board, (800) 233-4582, or jamaicatravel.com

Dominican Republic

Residency Requirements: None

Necessary Documents: Must provide valid U.S. passport and original birth certificate; proof of divorce or death certificate of former spouse/s (if applicable).

Additional Notes: Write to the American Consulate in advance asking permission to marry in a civil ceremony.

More Info: Embassy of the Dominican Republic in the United States, www.domrep.org.

Bahamas

Residency Requirement: 24 hours

Necessary Documents: Passports; birth certificates; proof of divorce or death certificate of former spouse/s (if applicable); declaration certifying both parties are unmarried U.S. citizens, sworn before a U.S. Consul at the American Embassy in Nassau; a marriage license from the Commissioner's Office on other islands; proof of arrival in the Islands of the Bahamas.

Additional Notes: Both parties must apply in person.

More Info: Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, (888) NUPTIAL, or http://www.bahamas.com.

Hawaii

Residency Requirement: None

Necessary Documents: Driver's license or passport; no proof of divorce is necessary, but those who are divorced must be able to provide the date, state, and county (or country) where the divorce was finalized.

Additional Notes: Licenses must be filed with the state health department office in Honolulu, or call the department for listings of agents in rural communities. Forms require the names of parents and their places of birth. Both parties must appear in person.

More Info: Hawaii's Department of Health marriage licensing office or (808) 586-4544; or gohawaii.com

US Virgin Islands

Residency Requirement: None

Necessary Documents: Driver's licenses or passports; proof of divorce or death certificate of former spouse/s (if applicable); letter accompanying application for marriage stating date of visit, length of stay, and preferred wedding date if having ceremony performed by a judge.

Additional Notes: Application must be received at least 2 weeks prior to wedding.

More Info: USVI Division of Tourism (800) 372-8784; Territorial Court, St. Thomas and St John, (340) 774-6680; Territorial Court, St. Croix, (340) 778-9750; or http://www.visitusvi.com/

Aruba

Residency Requirement: None

Necessary Documents: Passports; birth certificates; notarized letters of paternal consent if under 21 must be signed by father unless he is deceased; proof of divorce or death certificate of former spouse/s (if applicable).

Additional Note: Registration formalities take about 15 minutes (you both must appear) but paperwork processing takes one working day. Other requirements vary by church.

Fiji

Residency Requirement: None

Necessary Documents: Passports; birth certificates; notarized letters of paternal consent if under 21 must be signed by father unless he is deceased; proof of divorce or death certificate of former spouse/s (if applicable).

Additional Note: Registration formalities take about 15 minutes (you both must appear) but paperwork processing takes one working day. Other requirements vary by church.

More Info: Fiji Visitors Bureau, (800) 932-3454, or bulafiji.com

Italy

Residency Requirement: None

Necessary Documents: Passports or armed forces ID cards; certified copies of birth certificates; proof of divorce or death certificate of former spouse/s (if applicable); declarations "atto notorio" sworn to by four people before an Italian consulate officer attesting that they know of no reason to object to the marriage under the laws of the couple's home country; declaration sworn to by both parties that there are no obstacles to the marriage under U.S. law.

Additional Notes: Certain documents must be translated into Italian with special "apostille" seals from the secretary of state from the state from which the documents originated. Additional requirements apply if one of the parties is an Italian citizen or resident of Italy. Requirements may vary by region and city. It is highly recommended that you work with a wedding planner to help you fulfill all requirements properly. A translator may be required to attend the wedding if neither the bride nor the groom speaks Italian.

More Info: Italian consulate nearest you; the Italian Government Tourist Board Office, (212) 245-5618; the local U.S. Embassy

France

Residency Requirement: 40 days

Documents: Valid U.S. passport, French residence permit, birth certificate, affidavit of marital states, affidavit of law, medical certificate (less than 2 months old).

More Info: france.usembassy.gov.

Free Case Review of Your Overseas Marriage

Before you start planning your destination wedding and especially before you make any deposits, make sure that you understand the laws and requirements that will apply. It may be easy to find this information about the more famous destinations, but you'll also want to know whether the foreign marriage certificate you receive is valid back home. Your best bet is to speak with an experienced family law attorney near you. Reach out to one today and receive a free case review.

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