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Immigration Overseas and your Marriage Certificate

Moving overseas is a huge step and doing it with your significant other can even be a bigger challenge. For the purposes of ease, this article will cover documents used in the Americas. If you

Marriage Certificate

Moving overseas is a huge step and doing it with your significant other can even be a bigger challenge. For the purposes of ease, this article will cover documents used in the Americas. If you are moving to other countries, please discuss this with your immigration attorney to make sure you are obtaining the correct document, format and issue date.

When you are filing an immigration application with your spouse, in Costa Rica for instance, you need to show that the two of you are legally connected. The easiest way is to produce a current marriage certificate. Most countries will ask that the document be no older than six months from the date of issue. The reasoning is that divorces happen, and the marriage certificate you got in 1978 will not work for your ‘pensionado’ residency.

United States Marriage Certificates

If you are obtaining your document from the US, a lot depends on the state you were married in. Ohio is an open state and marriage certificates can be accessed by the general public, unless you specifically asked it to be sealed. Hawaii is a popular destination for marriages, but they are difficult to get documents from and have an obtuse policy about not authenticating a document they issued (you need to order the document and the authentication at the same time). Whether you got married in an open or a closed state in the US, you will still need to meet the information requirements to order the document.

Not only do you need to remember the state you got married in, but the exact place as well. People who got married in Lake Tahoe could have registered their marriage in California or Nevada. So details are very important when ordering certificates and we at OLS Documents do a lot of back office work to make sure we are asking for the right information for the right document. City, county, and most importantly, the date of the marriage are critical for us to do our job. If your old beat-up marriage certificate from 1978 is still around, send us a scanned copy to make sure we have everything correct.

Marriage Certificate

Destination and International Weddings

If you were fortunate enough to do a destination wedding outside the US, things might be a bit more complicated. Every country has their own way of processing document orders. This is were OLS Documents can help. We have grappled with many countries all over the world.

If you find the process of obtaining your document challenging or expensive, a sneaky way of getting around that, is just to remarry in the country you are immigrating to. You can pretty much legally get married anywhere. Some countries may require blood and medical tests, parental consent, minimum residency, or attestations to the government but most of them are as simple as just swearing in front of a notary. For example, in the Bahamas, a couple must be present in the Bahamas for 24 hours prior to the date of the application for marriage. US citizens getting married in Italy or Croatia do not have to meet any official residency requirements. Check with your attorney about your options.

Marriage Certificate Authentication

Remember, all documents that are being used outside the country of issue will need to be authenticated, either through an apostille or legalization.

Hard copy, original documents are an incredibly cumbersome way of dealing with information, but currently no government is willing to change this requirement. But that does not mean things stay the same! The pandemic, political issues, changes in policy or law, and even the weather can affect document orders and processing. Please be patient and understanding, and let us know how we can help you.



As the Chief Executive Officer, Dawn Drummer is methodical, proactive and always willing to find a solution to any inquiry or problem that may arise. She has a Bachelors in Science and 14 years working in the US Federal government in various law enforcement positions.

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