Know Your Rights: Getting Married Abroad

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Know Your Rights has been compiled by Kerry Citizens Information Service which provides a free and confidential service to the public…

Question: My partner and I are planning to get married abroad next year. What do we need to do?

Answer: You should contact the civil registration office in the country in which you plan to marry to find out what you need to do.

The legal validity of your marriage depends on the laws of the country in which you marry.

The legal formalities abroad are usually different to those in Ireland. For example, a church marriage abroad is usually a purely religious ceremony with no legal effect.

Continued below…


You may decide to have a civil marriage in Ireland followed by a religious ceremony abroad.

Although you must meet the requirements of the country you are marrying in, you are still bound by Irish law in relation to the capacity to marry.

For example, if you ordinarily live in Ireland and one or both of you is aged under 18, you must have a Court Exemption Order to marry. If you marry abroad without this, your marriage will not be recognised under Irish law.

Marriages that take place outside the State are not normally registered in Ireland.

They are usually registered in the country where they take place. Your foreign marriage certificate will usually be accepted for official purposes in Ireland if you need to show evidence that you are married.

If the certificate is in a foreign language, you must provide an official translation or a translation from a recognised translation agency.

You may require a Certificate of Freedom to Marry to get married in some foreign countries. This may also be called “Certificate de Coutume” or “Certificate of Nulla Osta”.

You apply online to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for a Certificate of Freedom to Marry. You should apply at least four months before the date of your marriage.

It normally costs €60 per person. However, if you apply 28 days or less before the date of your marriage, the fee rises to €120 per person.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Service below.

• Contact us in Tralee on Tel: 0761 07 7860 Killarney 0761 07 7820, Listowel 0761 07 7840 Kenmare 0761 07 7810, Killorglin 0761 07830 & Caherciveen 0761 07 7780.

Information is also available online at and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000

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