Marriage Certificates and Licenses: Everything You Should Know

The Marriage Act 1961 of Australia defines marriage as “the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life”. Everyone can get married in Australia, despite their citizenship and permanent resident status. Even if you are not an Australian citizen, permanent resident or even if you are currently not living in Australia, you can get married and legalize your marriage in Australia with the right advice and guidance from the embassy, immigration officials or a Commonwealth celebrant in Australia.

What Are the Legal Requirements to Get Married in Australia?

There are some legal requirements to legalise your marriage in Australia.

  • The person should be at least 18 years of age and above to get married in Australia.
  • You must freely consent to get married in Australia.
  • You must present evidence of your age and place of birth when applying for a marriage certificate.
  • If it’s your second marriage, you will have to submit evidence to prove the divorce or death of your former partner.
  • Australian laws are open for all LGBTQ weddings. So you don’t have to present evidence to prove your gender.
  • You will have to provide evidence of your details; preferably, it could be your driving license or passport. If these identity documents are not available, you can also provide your birth certificate.

How to Apply for a Marriage Certificate: Step-By-Step Guidance to Legalise Your Marriage

  • The very first step to legalising your marriage in Australia is to fill out, complete, and sign the Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM). You can download the Notice of Intended Marriage form from the website of the attorney general, which is https://www.ag.gov.au/.

The legalisation of your marriage will be completed after the time frame of one month from the day you have lodged the Notice of Intended Marriage.

While lodging the Notice of Intended Marriage, only one party is legally required to sign the Notice of Intended Marriage form. If the other party is currently overseas or not available at the time for some reason, it doesn’t stop the authorities from processing the form.

The Notice of Intended Marriage can be lodged by one party from Australia or anywhere around the world. If you are lodging the NOIM from overseas, it should be done in the presence of a notary public. Once the notary public has witnessed it, you can upload the document via the online portal. 

After lodging the Notice of Intended Marriage, it will take one whole month for you to register your marriage with a celebrant.

  • The second and inevitable step is to sign after filling out the Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage (DONLIM) form. This form states that you and your partner are adults and of marriageable age and that you are not presently married to someone else. This declaration should be signed as close as possible to the wedding day. You can also sign these forms right before the wedding ceremony, as you are not allowed or permitted to sign them after the marriage.
  • On your wedding registration day, you will require two people who are above the age of 18 to sign as witnesses for the ceremony. These people should also present evidence of their age. If you do not have any people who could sign as your witnesses, the registrar officer could provide you with witnesses. As you go in to legalise your marriage, there will be three certificates you and your witness will have to sign. Two of them are the Official Certificate of Marriage and the Certificate of Marriage, which is also called a presentation certificate. Once you are married, the registrar or celebrant will provide you with a marriage certificate as proof. Within 14 days of the ceremony, the celebrant is supposed to provide you with the original certificate of marriage. 
  • These are the main steps you will have to follow to legalise your marriage in Australia and receive the marriage certificate. Even though your official marriage ceremony doesn’t require you to make vows, some of the brides and grooms tend to make romantic and affectionate vows to each other. If you want your ceremony to be more beautiful and memorable, you can make vows and speeches on the wedding day.
  • Any marriage registrars or celebrants, both civil or religious, can register or legalise your wedding as long as they are Commonwealth registered.

What if You Are Having an Overseas Destination Wedding?

Overseas Destination Wedding

According to the Marriage Act 1961, you cannot register or legalise an overseas destination marriage in Australia. At the same time, your marriage will be legally accepted and recognised in Australia.

As you cannot register your overseas marriage in Australia, you will have to make sure that your marriage is registered in the destination country. To legally recognize and accept your marriage in Australia, you should bring back the marriage certificate and other legal documents related to your marriage when you return to Australia.

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When Is an Overseas Destination Marriage Not Recognized in Australia?

Most marriages that are registered overseas will be accepted and recognised in Australia, including LGBTQ marriages. Yet there are some marriages that are registered overseas that could not be recognised in Australia due to some specific reasons. Some of the reasons are

  • In some countries and religious concepts, multiple marriages are lawful. If one or both of the parties in a wedding are already married to someone else, then this marriage will not be recognised and accepted in Australia.
  • According to the Marriage Act 1961, both parties should be above the age of 18 to be married. If either one or both of the parties are not of marriageable age, then the marriage will not be accepted or recognised in Australia.
  • For your marriage to be recognised and accepted in Australia, both parties must be in a sane mental state and willfully consent to be married to the other person.

What if You Want to Marry Within a Month?

What if You Want to Marry Within a Month?

You can get married within a month under some circumstances. If you want to get married earlier, consult with your celebrant or registrar to get approved by the prescribed authority. You can get married before the one-month time frame under some circumstances, like 

  • Employment-related or other travel commitments etc.
  • Religious considerations, wedding or celebration arrangements.
  • Legal proceedings.
  • Medical and other health reasons.
  • Error or failure in giving notice.

How Much Does a Marriage Certificate Cost?

According to a recent survey, the total marriage process costs approximately 400 AUD, with the NOIM and marriage certificate included. The standard marriage certificate and Commemorative marriage certificate package cost between 60 AUD to 99 AUD. If you want these certificates urgently, you might have to pay a fee of about 30 AUD to speed up the process. 

How Long Does It Take To Receive the Official Marriage Certificate?

The marriage certificate will be processed and delivered within 4 to 6 weeks after your marriage has been registered. Your marriage celebrant must lodge the application of your marriage to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the Australian state or territory in which the marriage took place, along with other documents such as the Notice of Intended Marriage, your identity proofs, the declaration, and one of the official certificates of marriage, within 14 days from the day your marriage has been registered. There can be a delay or failure in the processing of the information given if it is incomplete or incorrect. All the marriage certificates are being delivered via registered post. The international post takes more than 6 weeks to reach your doorstep. The applications that are lodged via an online portal take relatively less time. 

What if There Is an Error or Mistake in Your Wedding Certificate?

What if There Is an Error or Mistake in Your Wedding Certificate?

If there is an error or mistake on your wedding certificate, you can send it back and apply to rectify the mistake. If the error or mistake in the details of the information on your certificate was made by the authorities of the registry, the rectification would be free of charge. 

If the information you provided was wrong, then you will be charged a fee for the rectification process.

For this rectification process, you will have to send the original certificate by post along with at least three identification documents. Most states and territories have a rectification form which you will need to fill out and sign.

Rules and Regulations of Different States and Territories in Australia.

There are eight different states or territories in Australia. Each territory or state has its own amendments to rules and regulations. The eight states or territories are New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, Western Australia, South Australia, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. If you currently live in a state or territory that is different from the state or territory you got married in, you will have to get the marriage certificate from the state or territory you got married in. Only if you have a marriage certificate from the state where you got married in, you will be able to prove your marriage and also do the further processes such as changing your name. There are different online websites for every state or territory in Australia with all the helpful and necessary information you could ask for, along with numerous frequently asked questions.