How To Elope Or Get Married In Australia: A Destination Wedding Guide For Foreigners

Here’s a list of everything you need to know to get married in Australia.

* This is a guide for NON-Australians marrying NON– Australians. Please contact the nearest Australian Embassy or consulate to confirm the details as these may be incomplete and rules are subject to change.

5 Reasons to get married in Australia

Whether you want to elope or you want an intimate wedding with family or you just want to renew your wedding vows, Australia is a great place to have your destination wedding; especially if you love to travel and you’re feeling a little adventurous.

  1. It’s more simple than you think: Compared to other countries like France which require you to be in the country for 45 days before you can marry, it’s much easier to get married in Australia.
  2. Start your honeymoon sooner: Having a destination wedding surrounded by beautiful coastlines and cosmopolitan cities means you can start your Honeymoon ASAP.
  3. You already speak the language: Australians speak English. If you’re reading this then so do you. It’s much harder to arrange a wedding in another country where you don’t speak the language.
  4. It might save you money: If you elope to Australia, it may cost you less than if you were to have a traditional wedding in your home country and hundreds of guests.
  5. When you tell people you got married in Australia people will envy you and think you are cool!
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What Are The Requirements To Marry In Australia?

Below are some answers to the most commonly asked questions regarding getting married in Australia and the documents you will need to make it happen.

Rules and regulations are subject to change, please do your own research and due diligence.

Residency: Do I need to be an Australian Citizen to get married in Australia?

No. Anyone may marry in Australia provided you meet the following criteria.

  1. You are free to marry, ( you are not already married to someone else.). Bigamy is illegal.
  2. You are over the age of 18.

Do I Need a Visa To Get Married In Australia? Or can I get married in Australia on a tourist visa?

Everyone except for Australian citizens must apply for a visa.

Americans, Canadians and many other countries need only apply for an ETA which is short for Electronic Travel Authority. 

What is an ETA? An ETA is an electronically stored authority equivalent to a visa. 

How to get an ETA? Anyone can apply online to get an ETA at. http://www.eta.immi.gov.au/. Just pay the  $20 AUD, provide some information such your name, passport number, nationality, dob, expiry, issue date etc and the ETA will usually be issued instantaneously.

info needed from passport to apply for ETA in Australia

Only certain passport holders can apply for an ETA visa online. If you are from one of the coutries who are not eligbible to apply online, you may need to apply through a travel agent, airline or an Australian visa office.

How long can I stay in Australia with an ETA? An ETA allows the holder to travel to Australia as many times as they want within a period of 12 months from the date of issue. The maximum length of each visit is three months.

What is a Celebrant and Why should I care?

All marriages in Australia are conducted by a celebrant.

The celebrant will usually help you fill out the legal forms and explain all the details of the ceremony.  You can find a celebrant online by simply typing “celebrant” in a search engine. Here is a celebrant I found rather quickly using Google.

You can have a civil or religious ceremony.

Can I marry anywhere in Australia?

Yes, you can marry almost anywhere. On a yacht, in a park, on the beach and in a church.

Just make sure you get an authorized celebrant.

Will the marriage be recognized in my own country?

It depends. Many countries recognize marriages performed legally in Australia.  If in doubt about the legality of your Australian marriage in your home country,  contact your own government authorities which records marriages in your country.

Americans and Canadians, rest assured, an Australian marriage is valid in your home country and you don’t even need to register your marriage in your home country.

We’re already married, Can we renew our wedding vows?

Yes, you can hold a renewal of vows ceremony or a commitment ceremony.

We are a same-sex couple, can we get married in Australia?

As of Decembre 2017, same-sex marriages are recognized and legal in Australia. You can have a commitment ceremony performed in lieu of a marriage ceremony.

How many witnesses do we need?

You need two witnesses present at your Marriage Ceremony who are over the age of 18. Any person can act as a witness, even your parents or siblings. The wedding celebrant or religious minister cannot act as a witness.

What about vows?

During the ceremony the bride and groom must say: “I (groom) take you (bride), to be my wife” and “I (bride), take you (groom), to be my husband”. The remainder of the wordings can be created by the bride and groom. You write a poem, sing a song or say nothing more.

View all the rules and laws about getting married in Australia

What Documents Will I need to marry in Australia?

Getting your documents in order is pretty straightforward

First:

  • A new Notice of Intended Marriage form, which couples must use from 9 December 2017, is available on the Marriage stationery and forms page.
  • You must give the completed notice to your celebrant at least 1 month before your wedding day but no more than 18 calendar months before you marry. A celebrant can help you fill out this form so find one ASAP.
  • Original birth certificates,
  • Show passports
  • Original divorce papers (if you were married before) or death certificate if you’re spouse is deceased.

I would make photocopies of all documents as well for good measure..

*Note* All documents and paperwork must be submitted in English by recognized/registered translator.

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