Getting Married Abroad – Here’s Your Ultimate Guide

A social and legal institution which represents the union between two people is known as marriage or matrimony. In terms of law, this institution carries a set of rights and obligations that involved parties have towards each other.

Organizing a wedding has always been challenging, let alone planning that life journey abroad!

At first, the thought of planning a wedding abroad may appear slightly daunting, or even terrifying. Along the way, you may find yourself wondering about what trouble and complex problem you have put yourself into. Even though you are doubting whether you are competent enough to meet all the work involved into the event organization, the fact that it will not all be smooth sailing should not worry you much. There are many couples who can confirm, from their personal experience, that it is not nearly as difficult to get married abroad as it may first appear to you.

A little bit of research and careful planning will enable you to create a unique and a special wedding. It will be a distinctive wedding which surpasses all the expectations and will be talked about, remembered and retold by your guests for years to come. In fact, you may even set an example of a unique detail or details that future wedding couples will come to ask you for a piece of an advice of how to organize or provide it as you did for your special day. Or, they may find something inspiring that will lead to the creation of a new custom or a small, but significant detail which can give another tone and dimension to the wedding itself.

In case of getting married abroad, your wedding often expands from a day to two or more. It is usual that many couples make the most of having all their guests in the one location and carry their wedding celebrations over a number of days.

Obviously, some extra work is often required to plan these additional celebrations as a result. However, this prevents your wedding from being over in the blink of an eye. Instead, it gives a chance to both you and the attendants to have many long memories upon recalling the event in your mind, a few years later, with a sip of drink, sitting with your friends. Especially, if some photos are found on the shelves, albums or phones. At that moment, you may also find the additional celebrations are just as memorable as your wedding day itself.

In order to bring this event to its full glory, there must be a meticulous plan how to execute each issue separately and successfully. In the following sections, lots of information will be provided. Therefore, it is recommendable to take a little time to read through each. Surely, it will provide you with a great starting point to confidentially and calmly plan your wedding abroad.

How to Get Married in the US as a Foreigner

Foreigners who live in the U.S. on a work or visitor visa can marry a citizen or green card holder. The so-called “adjustment of status” occurs within this process, when the citizen or green card holder “enables” their spouse to apply for a green card become a citizen of the United States of America in the near future.

There is a “90-day rule” that bars foreigners who’ve lived in the U.S. for fewer than 90 days from applying. In fact, if the application process starts before 90 days of residency, it can impact any future application process, making it harder.

In the case of both or one of the spouses living abroad, the foreigner will need to apply for a K1 visa (or “fiancé visa”). Then, he or she needs to apply for a permanent residency after the marriage. The 90-day rule is compulsory in this case as well. Should the couple get married abroad, they can reach out to the U.S. Consulate for “consular processing” through which their marriage gets legally recognized by the United States and the non-U.S. spouse is granted their corresponding green card.

Getting Married Abroad, in France

When considering to get married abroad and make the most of it, France is surely one of the best options and the first possible places. In France, you can choose either a traditional marriage or a “pacte civil de solidarité” (PACS), a sort of civil partnership.

Choosing whether to get married or enter a PAC, has no difference. In both cases the process starts at the local “Mairie” (Town Hall) and the couples who want to get united in this community have to oblige to every town’s own laws and documentation requirements. The general rule demands that you, your partner, or one of your parents must have lived in that town for at least forty days prior to the marriage ceremony.

You will be asked for a “certificat de célibat” as proof that you’re permitted to get married, which may vary according to your country of origin. In that case, you might need to contact your Consulate. What you also need to get is a certificate of custom, the attestation of a foreign lawyer about the existence, content, and interpretation of foreign law. After being emitted, the certificate expires upon 6 months. Once this documentation is given to the local Town Hall or Court, you are able to book civil and religious ceremonies there.

How to Get Married in Japan

If planning to get married in Japan as a foreigner, it will require you to visit your country’s embassy in Tokyo and confirm that you are legally allowed to get married by swearing an affirmation, in addition affidavit. Have in mind that It expires upon a certain time, which means you have to check with your local municipal office on its validity. In case of your partner not being a Japanese citizen, going through the same process is inevitable for him or her as well.

For example, if you are a UK citizen, the first requirement you need to meet is to make an appointment at the British Embassy in Tokyo. The next step is to download the affidavit to fill it. You must remember to print it double-sided, but in no circumstance should you sign it. The document must be left without the signature which will be put at the embassy. The cost of the affidavit is £50 per person, with the possibility of making payments with cash or card.

Aside from affidavit, other basic documentation that you also need to have at hand includes your passport, birth certificate, residence card, any proof of address, naturalization documents, and any documentation proving the end of any previous marriages.

Upon collecting all the necessary documents, they should be taken to the municipal office and the request for the registration of the marriage (Kon-in Todoke) is to be filled.

Getting Married in Canada as a Foreigner

Should you be living in Canada on a visitor or temporary resident visa, you are allowed to get married. According to the law of Canada, citizens have the right to marry foreigners, and foreigners can marry each other without permanent residency.

With some specific requirements, varying from province to province, this process is more or less easily completed. In Ontario, for example, both spouses must be at least 16 years old. They must not be close relatives, must not be already married, and have to be physically present at the time of applying for a marriage license.

To prove their identity, each spouse will need to provide valid, government-issued document which is listed for this purpose. In the case of being permanent residents, a record of immigrant landing will be requested.

Planning an International Wedding

A special event of getting married has always been one of the priorities on most people’s list of crucial life events. A new layer of difficulty to the event’s planning may be the concept of marrying abroad. Both overwhelming and beautiful, marriage is also a bureaucratic process, so take that into account since wedding planning and paperwork can be an exhausting combo. Besides, you should make inquires whether your local country recognizes your marriage abroad.

There are many things to be considered, such as location, budget, and the viability of moving dozens of guests. A symbolic ceremony can take place pretty much anywhere, but a legal marriage has a more complex process that can take months, and that is the issue that should also be focused on. It is recommendable to visit the potential wedding country a few times before making the decision, and make a list of all the legal requirements and organizational issues that may arise concerning the chosen place.

Essential Documents

The legal requirements can vary between countries. What local authorities will most likely require are the following documents from the spouses:

– Birth certificates

– Valid passports

– Death certificate of a deceased spouse (if widowed)

To make matters as quick as possible, make sure you get these documents properly translated and certified as the country requires it. Surely you do not want any paperwork issues in the last moment prior the wedding!



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