If you are a couple living overseas and planning to marry in Australia, or if one partner is from overseas… there are a few things that you need to know.
Do you need to be an Australian Citizen to marry in Australia?
No, no you don’t
Anyone can marry in Australia providing:
* you are both over the age of 18
* you’re not already legally married to each other or anyone else
* you both give free consent to be married
* you’re not directly related to each other (ascendant or descendant, sibling – biological or adopted)
* you give your celebrant at least 1 month and no more than 18 months notice in writing via the NOIM – Notice of Intended Marriage form
* you are able to prove the time and place of your birth + show photo ID
Do we really have to be over 18 to marry in Australia?
Yes, yes you do
There are special circumstances where one party can be 16+ and the other 18+, however you will need parental consent and a court order for this to be approved.
What documents do we need?
You will need to lodge a Notice Of Intended Marriage (NOIM) form with your celebrant at least 1 month and no more than 18 months before your ceremony. If you are unable to lodge this form with your celebrant in person within the time frame, then an authorised person in the state/country that you’re in can witness your signatures, then you scan and email the paperwork to your celebrant.
Contact me and I’ll help you with this.
Who can I get to witness the Notice of Intended Marriage form outside of Australia?
*an Australian Consular Officer
*an Australian Diplomatic Officer
*a notary public
*an employee of the Commonwealth authorised under paragraph 3(c) of the Consular Fees Act 1955
*an employee of the Australian Trade Commission authorised under paragraph 3(d) of the Consular Fees Act 1955.
What other documents will I need to have with me to marry in Australia?
You will need original ID (digital copies are fine, but no photocopies) your ID needs to:
a) show where and when you were born [passport or birth certificate] and
b) prove you are who you say you are – with a photo [passport or driver’s licence]
A passport does both of those things, otherwise a birth certificate + your driver’s licence.
If either of you have been previously married, you will need to provide your original divorce decree/certificate or death certificate. If you don’t have these documents, you must apply to the BDM or Family Court in your state or the relevant office in your home country to obtain an official copy.
- Documents can now be accepted digitally.
If your ID or documents are written in a language other than English you will need to have them officially translated into English – Here’s where you can do that – Naati
Are same sex marriages legal in Australia?
YES, Yes they are!
Any two people who want to marry each other – can.
As of the 7th December 2017, gender became irrelevant for couples wanting to marry in Australia, and any same sex couples who were previously married overseas because your relationship was not recognised in Australia, your marriage is now automatically recognised.
Do we need to have lived in Australia for any given time before we can marry?
You can get married at the airport as you step off the plane if you’d like….. as long as you have already lodged your Notice of Intended Marriage form at least 1 month before the date of the ceremony and you have complied with all other legal requirements.
What happens if we want to get married in less than 1 month?
There are only 5 valid reasons where you will be allowed to do this and you will need to speak to your celebrant and then apply to a Prescribed Authority in Australia for a shortening of time – see the “shortening of time information page” for valid reasons.
Prescribed Authorities can not use their own discretion to make a ruling – it either fits the bill or it doesn’t – and you will need proof – flight details, tickets, medical information, receipts, etc…
If the shortening of time is not granted your options are:
1. change your date; or
2. hold a non legal ceremony on your preferred date and then do the legal paperwork after the one month period is up.
If you’re not in the country for that long, then you might be in a bit of strife…. Please note that back-dating documents is an offence and will not be happening here.
Will the marriage be recognised in my own country?
Your marriage will be registered in the Australian state where your marriage occurred.
You will need to confirm with your own government as to whether an Australian marriage is recognised in your home country.
Can I marry anywhere in Australia?
Yes, yes you can (within reason and the law)
You can hold your ceremony anywhere with a civil celebrant – hotels, function centres, parks, beaches, your own home…. the possibilities are endless (you may need council permission to use some outdoor public spaces).
The only exception would be if you wanted to marry in a churches or religious building – you’d need to speak to the church and engage a priest/minster of that religion… there are always some exceptions, I do know of some small churches that have allowed civil celebrants to officiate at a ceremony held in their church/chapel – I guess it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Can we re-marry in Australia after being married in another country?
No, no you can’t
If you have legally married in a country other than Australia, then your marriage is registered in that country. It is an offence for both you and the celebrant to have a second legal marriage ceremony. You can however hold a renewal of vows or celebration of love ceremony once you’re back in Australia, but please note that the celebrant is obliged to make it known to your witnesses and guests that it is not a legal marriage ceremony as it is an offence to pretend it’s a marriage ceremony when it’s not.
The other way to do it is to legally get married in Australia before you go overseas and then have a non legal wedding ceremony wherever you like – This will make organising legal documents in Australia so much easier for you in the future… it will also make changing your name after marriage easier as Australian government offices require an Australian issued marriage certificate as proof of your marriage, and if you have an official marriage certificate from Bali, then you’ll need to do an official change of name which costs money – again, more info here
How many official witnesses do we need?
2, no more and no less
You need two people to witness both the ceremony and you signing the legal paperwork. They must be 18+ years old.
Can we have more than 2 official witnesses?
Nope, like I said no more and no less
You can have as many guests as you like, but only 2 people will sign the official marriage documents as official witnesses.
Can we use legal paperwork that is in another language?
No, no you can’t
Legal documents and paperwork must be submitted in English – translated by a recognised/registered translator.
What happens if my partner doesn’t speak or understand English very well?
You will need to provide an interpreter who speaks both English and the language your partner speaks/understands. The interpreter will sign a declaration stating that they can speak and understand the two languages and after the ceremony, they will sign a second document – a Declaration of Faithful Performance stating that the ceremony was interpreted correctly and understood completely by the non English speaking party.
The need for an interpreter will be decided by your celebrant.
Also – in case you missed this information from another question above – If your ID or documents are written in a language other than English you will need to have them officially translated into English – Here’s where you can do that – Naati
PLEASE NOTE: Getting married in Australia in no way entitles you to a visa or to stay in Australia permanently.
Please see the Department of Immigration and Border Control for more information