How to Find Out if Your Foreign Marriage License Is Valid at Home

by Contributor

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How to Find Out if Your Foreign Marriage License Is Valid at Home. If you decide to get married abroad, the union will usually be recognized under U.S. law. Here's how to make sure before you leave the United States.

Step 1

Research the requirements for a wedding license in the country you select prior to your trip.

Step 2

Understand that you must follow the rules of the foreign country, even if they differ from those of the state in which you live. The validity of your marriage in the United States depends on your compliance with these foreign laws.

Step 3

Understand that American diplomatic and consular officers are not permitted to perform the ceremony.

Step 4

Select a local civil or religious official who is authorized to perform marriages in the country of your choice.

Step 5

Choose a location for your wedding other than the country's U.S. embassy or consulate - these places are not typically used for marriages.

Step 6

Obtain other specific details about the country's requirements from that country's embassy in the United States or from your travel agent.

Step 7

Check with the attorney general in your state before you go. This office can tell you if the license you get will be recognized in your state.

Step 8

Remember that if you marry a citizen from another country and automatically acquire a second citizenship as a result, your U.S. citizenship won't be affected. Electing to change your citizenship, however, is a different situation.


  • If you need to have foreign marriage documents authorized, consular officers can do it for you for a small fee. Remember that in most countries, a lengthy residency stay is required prior to your marriage. Plan ahead for this. You might have to arrange for witnesses for your ceremony if you and your partner are traveling alone.