Legal Requirements for Getting Married in the Cook Islands
Allow at least 3 days from arrival in the Cook Islands to wedding date (a 2 day wait is required to process a marriage license). We recommend giving yourself more time due to preparation, weekends, holidays or unexpected delays.
Necessary legal documents:
Please note that all documents must be submitted in English. If needed, contact the Embassy in your home country or your Embassy in the Cook Islands for an authorized translator and authentication. If your
documents are translated, be prepared to submit the original copies in your native language for verification as well as the translated version.
- Original or certified copy of birth certificates
- Valid Passports
- Notice of Intented Marriage form (obtained from the Ministry of Justice in Rarotonga)
- Divorce decree or death certificates, if applicable
Legal requirements to get married:
- Ceremony (Civil/Religious)
Civil and religious ceremonies are legally recognized weddings preformed on the Cook Islands. The ceremony is performed in English. If either party does not speak English, an interpreter should be hired.
- Age and Relation
The bride and groom must be at least 21 years of age. If either party is between the ages of 16 and 20 years old, parental consent form is necessary. Note that your age must meet the criteria of your resident country in order for your marriage to be legally recognized. The bride and groom-to-be cannot be related by blood, adoption or marriage.
Two witnesses over 21 years of age must be present for the ceremony.
Take all paperwork to the Registrar of Marriages (Ministry of Justice office in Rarotonga). Here, both parties, in person, will fill out a Notice of Intended Marriage form. Once complete, the clerks of the Life Events section will offer a Marriage License. Generally, it takes about 2 days before the Marriage License is ready for pick up. If you plan to marry within 3 days of applying for a Marriage License, for an additional fee you may submit a waiver (to the Registrar General or Deputy) in order to expedite the process.
- The bride and groom will sign three required documents at the ceremony. One of the forms must be returned to the Registrar for Marriages (Ministry of Justice, Rarotonga).
- Your Marriage Certificate can be paid for and obtained at the Ministry of Justice Office.
- The Marriage Certificate will be issued in English. Contact your Embassy if a translation and authentication is needed for your resident country.
Note: This information can change at any given moment. For up-to-date information, contact your embassy in the country in which you plan to marry.
We invite you to contact us with any new information. Be sure to note, “Update Marriage Requirements in the Cook Islands” in the subject line.