Once you are engaged, planning the wedding is the next logical step. With everything that goes on between the engagement and the wedding day, it is very easy to forget that there are some legal requirements that you need to follow. These requirements apply to everyone, including Americans looking to get married in Australia. Australia is a beautiful country with lots of amazing wedding locations to choose from. To ensure your big day goes off without a hitch, here is what you need to know and do.
Before you do anything, you need to understand the legal requirements for getting married in Australia. Importantly, both parties have to be over the age of 18 and must understand the definition and institution of marriage. Both parties should not be married to anyone else, and they shouldn’t be related. It is illegal to marry a brother, sister, parent, child, grandparent, or grandchild in Australia.
The parties have to provide written notice of their intention to get married. This notice is given to the celebrant who is legally allowed to solemnise opposite sex or same-sex marriages in Australia, which are both legal. The written notice has to be completed in one to 18 months before the wedding. Special provisions are allowed for sudden weddings, but only they are approved by a prescribed authority.
Lastly, the wedding vows or words used during the ceremony must include specific words. All of this might sound straightforward or even expected, but there are still some specifics you need to take care of.
The celebrant is either a civil or religious authority who is permitted by law to perform wedding ceremonies in Australia. The Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages or the Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department handle this process throughout Australia.
Religious ministers or leaders who wish to solemnise a marriage must be part of a dominion recognised by the Australian government. In some cases, the dominion can be registered and authorised by a Territory or State.
Notice of Intended Marriage
The intended notice of marriage will include your date and place of birth, evidence of divorce or death if you were previously married, as well as a current photo. You also need to keep your passport close as it may be required.
In many cases, the celebrant will help you fill this notice, and they may also need to see a statutory declaration that supports evidence of who you are and your singlehood.
The Wedding Day
In between all your planning you will need to choose a wedding venue. There are lots of venues in Australia. You should check out this wedding venue in Brisbane as an example. It is stunning, popular, and accessible and also allows for a seamless transition from the wedding ceremony to the reception and a later party if you wish. The celebrant will guide you on signing the Declaration of No Legal Impediment. This is a document that says there are no legal issues that are preventing you from getting married. You will also be required to sign three documents on the wedding day. The first two are the marriage certificate and its copy. The last one is the presentation certificate that you get to keep. Once everything is done, the celebrant will file everything with the relevant authorities within two weeks of the marriage.
Obtaining Permanent Residency
You may be wondering if getting married in Australia or to an Australian makes you eligible for Australian residency. Getting married in Australia does not necessarily make you eligible for residency. However, getting married to an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or someone eligible to be a New Zealand citizen does as it allows you to apply for a partner visa.
Your partner will be eligible to sponsor you if you get married to them within nine months of landing in the country under a Prospective Marriage Visa. Those who want to become permanent citizens must ensure their marriage process and ceremony follows all Australian laws. Another requirement is that you have to apply for the partner visa before the finance visa you already have expires.
All these provisions also apply to same-sex couples.
Getting married in Australia as an American citizen is not too complicated if you meet all legal requirements. If you do and find a registered celebrant, you can plan your wedding like you would if you were getting married in the United States.