For Overseas Couples

If you are a couple living overseas and planning to marry in Australia, or if one partner is from overseas… there a few things that you will need to consider.

overseas getting married in Australia

Do you need to be an Australian Citizen to marry in Australia?


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)

* 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?


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 before sending it registered post to your celebrant.

Contact me and I’ll help you with this.

What other documents will I need to have with me to marry in Australia?

You will need original ID (no photocopies) your ID needs to:

a) show where and when you were born and
b) prove you are who you say you are (photo).

A passport does both of those things, otherwise a birth certificate + your driver’s licence (or other photo ID).
If either of you have been previously married, you will need to provide your original divorce decree/certificate or death certificate.

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

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.

Are same sex marriages legal in Australia?

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 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 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.

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?


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 outdoor 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.

Can we re-marry in Australia after being married in another country?


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 marriage ceremony.  You can however hold a renewal of vows or celebration of marriage ceremony once you’re back in Australia.  The other way to do it is to legally get married in Australia before you go away and then have a non legal wedding ceremony wherever you like.

How many witnesses do we need?


You need two people to witness both the ceremony and you signing the legal paperwork.  They must be 18+ years old and understand English.

Can we use legal paperwork that is in another language?


Legal documents and paperwork must be submitted in English 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 ceremony was interpreted correctly and understood completely by your partner.

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 permanently.  

Please see the Department of Immigration and Border Control for more information

Bride and Groom getting married in Australia