New Zealand Marriage Legal Documentation

Arranging a marriage certificate for a foreign country on your own can be very time-consuming and frustrating. I will help you arrange all the necessary documentation you need.

NZ marriage documents are recognized in the USA, UK, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and most other countries, however you should check with the authorities in the country where you normally live to see if there are any special steps you must take or rules that apply when you marry in New Zealand.


Obtaining a NZ Marriage Certificate

Anybody can marry in New Zealand, as long as they are legally free to marry.

Under New Zealand law this means that:

  • They are not married already (if they have been married, the marriage has been dissolved by a court of law.)
  • They are old enough (16 or over, although parental consent is required if either party is under 20 years old.)
  • They are not closely related by blood, marriage or adoption. Details of these prohibited marriages appear on the form Notice of Intended Marriage, which is used to apply for a NZ marriage certificate.
  • Notice of Intended Marriage Form (BDM60) for NZ couples and (BDM58) for couples applying from overseas. can be downloaded from the Dept of Internal Affairs website www.bdm.govt.nz - by phoning 0800 22 52 52 or by collecting one from your local BDM (or Identity Services) office.

You are not required to provide copies of passports or birth certificates to apply for a NZ marriage certificate and blood tests and other complicated acts are also not required to marry in NZ. You will need to provide copies of the Decree Absolute or equivalent proof of the dissolution of your marriage if you have been divorced.

NZ law requires that you make a statutory declaration in person stating that there is no lawful impediment to the marriage (i.e. No legal reason that you cannot marry), that the details you give are true, that the bride and groom are not within the prohibited degrees of relationship and that parental consent has been given (where relevant).

This MUST be done before your wedding either:

  • In the presence of a Registrar in Christchurch.
  • Or in the presence of a Commonwealth representative in your home country. This must be done no earlier than three months prior to the wedding date, as the certificate is valid for three months only.

You must have the name of a NZ Marriage Celebrant who has agreed to do your wedding, to fill in the space provided on the BDM form.


Standard NZ Marriage Certificate

Once your marriage has been officially registered in Wellington (this takes about 30 days after your wedding) you can then apply for a Standard NZ Marriage Certificate. The certificate fee and courier to your home is at your own expense. This is a legal document that is recognised in most countries including the USA, UK, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore.


Authentication of NZ Marriage Documents

Read this information at www.bdm.govt.nz. On the Home page, hover your mouse over Services and click on Document Authentication (which comes up on the list).

Some countries including Germany and Holland require additional authentication (sometimes also referred to as verification or legalisation) of the Standard NZ Marriage Certificate before it can be used as proof of marriage. This is because foreign government officials and agencies are not always able to determine on sight the authenticity of foreign documents. The NZ Department of Internal Affairs (Authentication Unit) carries the primary responsibility for the authentication of documents. Apostille Certification through Internal Affairs in NZ is now available.

Fees are payable at each stage of the authentication process if required and I will advise you if this is necessary for the country of your residence.


NZ Marriage Licence

You can apply for your NZ Marriage Licence from overseas and uplift it from Internal Affairs on the day you arrive in New Zealand and then get married.

New Zealand law requires two witnesses. You can appoint two of your guests to sign your marriage licence or if you are coming to New Zealand alone, I can arrange two witnesses for you.

You can marry at any time of the day or night in NZ and at any venue of your choice.

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