How To Elope And Get Married In Australia: A Guide For Foreigners

Whether you want to elope to Australia, have an intimate wedding or renew your wedding vows, it’s not that hard to have a destination wedding in Australia.

By Annie André ⦿ updated January 10, 2024  

Here’s a quick guide for foreigners who want to get married in Australia.

* A guide for NON-Australians.

Why elope to Australia?

  1. It’s simpler than you think: Compared to other countries like France, which require you to be in the country for 30 days before you 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. You might save money: If you elope to Australia, it may cost you less than a traditional wedding in your home country.
  5. Your friends and family will be so envious and think you’re super cool. 

You might be interested in reading We Eloped To Scotland “With The Kids”! How To Get Married Abroad!

General Questions and Requirements To Marry In Australia

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

Rules and regulations are subject to change; please contact the nearest Australian Embassy or consulate to confirm the details, as these may be incomplete.

Q: Can anyone get married in Australia?

Yes, Anyone can get married in Australia, provided you meet the following criteria.

  1. You are free to marry and not already married to someone else. Bigamy is illegal.
  2. You are at least 18 years old (16 and 17-year-olds can get married if it’s court-approved)
  3. No incestuous marriages: brother, sister, aunts, uncles etc. 
  4. use specific words during the ceremony

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

No, you do not have to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident. 

Q: Are there any residency requirements?

Foreigners arriving in Australia can get married right away, provided they have given proper notice and filled out all the paperwork. 

Q: Are same-sex marriage allowed in Australia?

As of December 2017, according to the Federal Marriage Act 1961, same-sex marriages are recognized and legal in Australia. You can have a commitment ceremony performed instead of a marriage ceremony.

Q: Do I Need a Visa To Get Married In Australia? Can I get married in Australia on a tourist visa?

Everyone except for Australian citizens and Australians must apply an (ETA) Electronic Travel Authorization before arrival.

What is an ETA? Unlike traditional visas that are stamped in your passport, an ETA is electronically linked to your passport. 

info needed from passport to apply for ETA in Australia

 How to get an ETA?

Only certain passport holders can apply for an ETA visa online.

Not all nationalities qualify for an ETA. Check your eligibility by clicking Just pay the AUD 20 and provide some information such as your name, scan your passport, nationality, date of birth, expiry, issue date, etc. The ETA will usually be issued instantaneously.

If you are from one of the countries that are not eligible 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 is a multiple entry visa that allows the holder to travel to Australia as many times as they want within 12 months from the date of issue. The maximum length of each visit is 90 days. 

Q: 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.

Q: What is a Celebrant, and Why should I care?

All marriages in Australia are conducted by a celebrant who is authorized by the government to officiate weddings. 

The celebrant ensures your marriage is legal and valid, helps you fill out the legal forms, and explains all the details of the ceremony.

You can find a celebrant online by simply typing “celebrant” in a search engine. Or check the official government site for authorized celebrants. 

Q: How much does a celebrant cost?

Expect to pay between $30 to $800 to hire a marriage celebrant.

Q: What Documents Will I need to marry in Australia?

Getting your documents in order is pretty straightforward

You must give your celebrant the completed notice at least 1 month before your wedding day but no more than 18 months before you marry. A celebrant can help you fill out this form, so find one ASAP.

Documents you’ll need to fill out the forms

  • Original birth certificates
  • Show passports
  • Original divorce papers (if you were married before) or death certificate if your spouse is deceased.

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

Q: 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.

Q: We’re already married. Can we renew our wedding vows?

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

Q: 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 record 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.

Q: 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 bride and groom can create the remainder of the wording. You write a poem, sing a song or say nothing more.

View all the rules and laws about getting married in Australia.


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Annie André

Annie André

About the author

I'm Annie André, a bilingual North American with Thai and French Canadian roots. I've lived in France since 2011. When I'm not eating cheese, drinking wine or hanging out with my husband and children, I write articles on my personal blog for intellectually curious people interested in all things France: Life in France, travel to France, French culture, French language, travel and more.


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