Recognition of overseas marriage The rules that govern whether or not an overseas
marriage is valid under Australian law are found in the Marriage Act 1961.
If you were married overseas it will usually be recognised as valid in Australia if at
the time you married: your marriage was recognised as valid
under the law of the country in which you married, and
it would have been recognised as a valid marriage under Australian law if you had married
in Australia. If you married overseas there is no requirement
to register the marriage in Australia. The Marriage Act 1961 states that an original
or certified copy of a marriage certificate or record of marriage that is issued by the
competent authority in a foreign country is proof of that overseas marriage and of the
validity of the marriage. A competent authority is one that is set out in the Marriage Regulations
1963 or any other authority that is competent under the law of the country where the marriage
took place. What makes an overseas marriage invalid?
The Marriage Act 1961 sets out the reasons that would make an overseas marriage invalid
in Australia. These reasons include: at the time of the marriage one of the
parties was validly married to another person one of the parties was not of marriageable
age in Australia the parties are too closely related to
marry. This means one is an ancestor of the other, a descendent of the other or they are
brother or sister. consent to the marriage by either of the
parties was not real consent because: it was obtained by duress or fraud
they were mistaken as to the identity of the other person
they did not understand the nature of the ceremony being performed, or they were mentally incapable of understanding the nature and effect of a marriage ceremony.
Overseas same sex marriages It may be legal to marry someone of the same
sex in some overseas countries. However, under the Australian Marriage Act 1961, a marriage
is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others voluntarily entered into for
life. A marriage in a foreign country between a
man and another man or a woman and another woman is not recognised as a valid marriage
in Australia. It could, however, be evidence of a de facto relationship for the purposes
of Commonwealth, State and Territory laws. Currently, in New South Wales, Tasmania and
Queensland, couples can have their relationship recognised by having it recorded in their
state Relationships Register. Australians marrying overseas
If an Australian citizen marries overseas, it will be recognised in Australia as a valid
marriage providing it was valid under the local law at the time it took place and would
have been recognised as valid under Australian law if it took place in Australia.
If you choose to marry overseas there may be additional legal requirements of which
you must be aware to make sure that you are able to marry there. To find out the specific
requirements for a valid overseas marriage in the country in which want to marry, you
need to contact the embassy, consulate or high commission of that country.
Some foreign governments require you to have a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage
issued from a government authority. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in Australia
can issue these, but some governments will only accept them if they are issued by the
Australian embassy in their country. Some countries may require you to get a Single
Status Certificate or No Record Result. These can be obtained from your state or territory
Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. You may also need your original birth certificate
and passport, and your divorce papers or the death certificate of your former spouse if
you are divorced or widowed. Marriage and immigration
Being married to an Australian citizen does not automatically guarantee that a citizen
of another country can move to Australia and live here legally. A valid visa is still required.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection can advise you as to what is required for
immigration to Australia. What to do next
If you or someone you know is concerned about the validity of an overseas marriage, or you
have concerns about citizenship following an overseas marriage, it is important to obtain
legal advice as soon as possible. Go To Court Lawyers operate a Legal Hotline
on 1300 636 846 where you can talk directly to a lawyer from 7am to midnight, 7 days a
week. Your call will be treated with the strictest confidentiality and without judgement.
The lawyer will assess your matter and recommend a course of action.
Should you need a Court lawyer, even at very short notice, the Legal Hotline staff will
be able to arrange one for you. You can also request a call back via the website gotocourt.com.au
and a lawyer will call you back to assess your matter.