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How to Get Married in a Foreign Country

A lot of steps are required in order to get married in your own country -- but what about in a foreign country?


  • Step 1: Never mind the U.S. embassy If you're American, do not expect to get married at an American embassy or consulate. U.S. consular offices do not perform marriages, but they may authenticate foreign marriage documents.
  • TIP: Marriages that are legally performed in a foreign country are generally also legally valid in the United States.
  • Step 2: Understand local laws Know that the validity of marriages abroad rests upon adherence to the laws of the country where the marriage is performed.
  • TIP: Marriages abroad are almost always performed by local civil or religious officials.
  • Step 3: Check with the local country's offices Check with the embassy, consulate, or tourist office of the country where you want to be married and make sure you can get a marriage license in that country.
  • Step 4: Know which documents you need Find out which documents and medical tests you will need, and how long it will take to process paperwork.
  • Step 5: Find out about special requirements Ask whether there are special requirements for a religious ceremony versus a civil one, and whether you will need witnesses. Now you can plan your ceremony.
  • FACT: During a Mexican wedding ceremony, the groom offers the bride 13 gold coins, which symbolize Jesus and his 12 apostles.

You Will Need

  • Local laws
  • Embassy
  • consulate or tourist office
  • Documents and special requirements

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