Non-citizens  marrying  in  Australia

Victoria’s restrictions have been eased, and weddings are currently permitted throughout Victoria (including metropolitan Melbourne). See the Update and Issues page for details.

If you are visiting Australia and wish to marry in this truly beautiful country, you are very welcome to do so.

You don’t need to be a resident of Australia to marry here, and your marriage will be legally recognised in your country (please check with your own government agency to be certain).

The same conditions for marriage apply to visitors as for Australian residents; that is, you must be marriagable (two people who are both unmarried and over 18).

You must lodge your Notice of Intended Marriage with me one month before the date of your wedding. You can download this Notice from the Attorney-General’s website. If both of you are in Australia one calendar month before the wedding ceremony, you can sign the Notice in my presence and lodge it with me. If only one of you can sign in my presence at the time of lodging the Notice, that’s fine – the other person can add his/her signature in my presence before the ceremony as long as I am satisfied that that person is fully aware of the marriage and had a genuine reason for not being able to sign earlier.

You can also lodge the Notice with me by email (scanned attachment), fax or mail from overseas, as long as you both sign this Notice in the presence of an authorised person (below). If you do sign the Notice outside Australia, you must bring the original Notice to me before the ceremony. It can be as late as on the actual day of the ceremony, but it must be before the ceremony itself. (This is very important; the marriage can only be performed if the original NOIM is given to the officiating celebrant before the marriage.)

It is preferable that proof of identity documents (and proof of end of last marriage, if this is applicable) be sighted at the time of lodging the NOIM. For the purposes of complying with the timeframes required for giving the NOIM it is sufficient for me to see copies of documents, such as those scanned and sent via email or fax, as long as the originals are provided and sighted by me before the marriage is solemnised.

The following is a list of those persons in whose presence the Notice of Intended Marriage can be signed outside Australia:

  • an Australian Diplomatic Officer;
  • an Australian Consular Officer;
  • a notary public;
  • an employee of the Commonwealth authorised under para 3(c) of the Consular Fees Act 1955;
  • an employee of the Australian Trade Commission authorised under para 3(d) of the Consular Fees Act 1955.

Before the ceremony begins, you must also show me the following:

  • Proof of birth: –
    • your birth certificate OR
    • a valid (not cancelled) passport issued by either the Australian government or a government of an overseas country, showing the date and place of your birth, OR
    • if these cannot be obtained, a statutory declaration made by you or your parent, stating that you can’t obtain a birth certificate or official extract (you will need to state why in your statutory declaration), and state when and where you were born, as accurately as you or your parent making the declaration can know.

    (If your birth certificate, statutory declaration or passport is not in English, you must arrange to have it translated by a translator who is competent to make the translation and who will sign a declaration that “the translation is a translation of the official record of which it purports to be a translation and that he is competent to make a translation of that official record.” –Regulation 53 of the Marriage Regulations 1963.)
  • if either of the parties to the marriage was previously married, you must show me the proof of how the last marriage was ended: –
    • court evidence of the divorce decree, or
    • nullity order, or
    • death certificate of previous spouse.

    (Again, if these are in a language other than English, you must arrange to have them translated as above.)
  • if either of the parties to the marriage is a minor, you must show me the appropriate order and consent: –
    • an effective court order issued by a Judge or Magistrate, and
    • either a consent form signed by your parent(s)/guardian(s) or a dispensation of consent issued by a Judge or Magistrate.

    (If the consent is in a language other than English, you must arrange to have it translated as above.)
  • if you wish to be married sooner than one calendar month ahead and haven’t yet lodged the Notice of Intended Marriage, you must give me: –

All documentation to be sighted before the marriage is solemnized must be original, not photocopies.

IMPORTANT: In order to ensure your marriage is recognised overseas (in your country), you will need to obtain a Standard Marriage Certificate from the Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (or from the Registry appropriate to the state in which you were married), stamped by the Registry. As at 23ʳᵈ August 2023, the price for ordering a standard certificate is AUD $54.40.

(Postage costs are shown here.)

You can read all the details about applying for a stamped Official Certificate of Marriage on this page – but bear in mind that proof of identity documents must be supplied.

Once it is copied, stamped by the Registry and supplied to you, you must have this Official Certificate of Marriage legalised with either an Apostille or an Authentication stamp. You can find out which by checking with your government or with the embassy and/or consulate of that country in Australia.

If your country is included in this list of countries who signed the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents, you will need an Apostille stamp (AUD $92.00 per document as at 23ʳᵈ August 2023). For other countries (including Vietnam, most of the Middle East, and China – except for Hong Kong and Macau), you will need an Authentication (AUD $92.00 per document as at 23ʳᵈ August 2023). Apostille and Authentication stamping is performed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade - you can go in person to the Melbourne Passport Office or send your document by mail. Download the Notarial Services Request Form from the Smart Traveller website.

If you are planning on staying in Australia, or if you are marrying on a prospective marriage visa or a partner visa (applying from overseas) with a view to becoming a permanent resident of Australia, you MUST be in a “genuine and continuing marital relationship with, either an Australian citizen or a permanent resident of Australia” (as per Section 237 of the Migration Act 1958). You should carefully read through all the information provided by the Department of Home Affairs (as of 20th December 2017; formerly the Department of Immigration and Border Protection) to find out how these partner category visas work, what they cost, what your obligations are in applying for such a visa or in sponsoring someone for such a visa, and how to apply for this type of visa.

However, please note that you do not need to have applied for (or been granted) a partner visa, in order to be married in Australia. You can marry on any visa; this should not prevent you from subsequently applying for another sort of visa (such as a partner visa). Of course, always check with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) directly in order to obtain the best advice. Only DHA can provide you with correct information specific to you. This information is provided as a brief overview only.

Ingrid Heyn, wedding celebrant

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