Kylie recently asked a question that, for a change, I just wasn’t prepared to give her an answer to:
Just wanting some advice on how you inform couples on how to register their marriages aboard?
E.g A Scottish couple marry here, and ask you how they register their marriage in Scotland.
I understand they need to have the Original Marriage Certificate apostille stamped, before their government will recognize it as a true document, however where can they get this done?
The Australian Embassy in their country or??
We know that for an overseas marriage to be recognised in Australia, all that has to happen is that the marriage would have needed to be valid if it was solemnised in Australia (so between two people are not married to someone else, not in a prohibited relationship, of marriageable age, and who give consent). They don’t need to, and in fact can’t, register their marriage in Australia in any way.
But for a couple who come to Australia to marry but live overseas, I’m simply not prepared to give any kind of answer as to what they might need to do to have their marriage recognised in their home country. I’m sure the process in England, for example, would be very similar to ours (we probably inherited our process from them) but I’m not an expert on the requirements in other countries, and I think it would be irresponsible of me to try to answer this question.
I also don’t think it’s really our responsibility as Australian marriage celebrants to give this kind of information to our couples; we’re not experts, and things could change without our knowing, and I’d hate to give a couple incorrect advice. I would always instruct them to contact the equivalent of BDM in their own country and ask the question through them.
There was one part of Kylie’s question I could answer though, and that was about Apostille stamps. The couple has to go through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to have an Australian document affixed with an Apostille stamp, and the best information on this can be found on their website: https://dfat.gov.au/about-us/our-services/apostilles-authentications-certificates-of-no-impediment-to-marriage/Pages/apostilles-authentications-and-certificates-of-no-impediment-to-marriage.aspx.
You’ll notice even they say on their site “DFAT cannot provide advice regarding other countries’ specific requirements in order for a marriage to be legal in a particular country,” so I’m not alone in refusing to provide this kind of info!