Legal Requirements for Getting Married in New Zealand
Allow least 3-5 days from arrival in New Zealand to wedding date to process paperwork. It take 5 days to register a marriage and if a translation of a Marriage Certificate is needed, allow an additional 5 business days. We recommend giving yourself more time due to preparation, weekends, holidays or unexpected delays.
Necessary legal documents:
Please note that the divorce decree is best submitted in English. However, if the date of the dissolution of marriage is clear, an English translation may not be required. Contact the Embassy in your home country or the Embassy in New Zealand for an authorized translator. If your divorce decree is translated, be prepared to submit the original copies in your native language for verification as well as the translated version.
- Divorce decree/dissolution order or date of death in the case of a widowed bride or groom, if applicable
Legal requirements to get married:
- Ceremony (Civil/Religious)
All legally recognized weddings preformed in New Zealand must be solemnized by a Registrar of Marriages in a Registry Office or solemnized by an authorized Marriage Celebrant in the place of the couple’s choice. The Registry Office is not open to the public, but the Marriage Celebrant can officiate the couple’s nuptials in a traditional, religious or non-denominational ceremony.
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 18 years of age. If they are underage, parental consent is necessary. With parental consent, either or both parties must be at least 16 years of age. Note that the legal age in your home country must be met to be recognized. For example, the United States requires that both parties be 18 years of age for your marriage to be recognized upon your return to the United States. The bride and groom cannot be closely related by blood, marriage, civil union, or adoption.
Two witnesses over 18 years of age must be present for the ceremony and provide identification.
Prior to registering, the bride and groom will need to decide on their authorized Marriage Celebrant, date and wedding location.
Take all paperwork to the Registrar of Marriages (forms can be found online) . The couple will need to fill out the Notice of Intended Marriage BDM 60 (if in New Zealand) or form BDM 58 (if outside New Zealand). Part of this form includes a statuary declaration.
A Statuary Declaration must be made to show that both parties are single and free to marry. This can be attended to outside of New Zealand, but it must be witnessed by a Commonwealth Representative and sent to the Registrar’s Office closest to the location of the wedding. Otherwise, it can be taken care of in New Zealand at the Registrar’s Office closest to the location of the wedding, at least 3-5 days prior to the wedding date.
Notify the Registrar of the planned wedding date as this is the final step to collecting your Marriage License.
- Once the Marriage License has been issued, the couple is free to marry. The marriage license is valid for 3 months, from the date of issue, so the solemnization must take place within that that time frame.
- After the ceremony, the Marriage Celebrant will provide two ‘Copy of Particulars of Marriage’; one for the issuing Registrar’s Office and the other for the wedded couple. You can request a Marriage Certificates online.
- Once the Copy of Particulars has been submitted to the Registrar for processing, it takes 5 days to register the marriage.
- The Marriage Certificate is issued in English. If needed, contact the Authentications Unit for translation and Apostille. You do not need to be present. The Marriage Certificate can be translated and legalized on your behalf. It can take 5 days to translate and authenticate a Marriage Certificate.
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 New Zealand” in the subject line.