Marriage and civil partnership abroad
Please note that we have now moved to online payments for applications processed in Ireland and the majority of Embassies and Consulates abroad for a Certificate of Freedom to Marry.
If you are paying online, please have your debit/credit card details and the required supporting documents ready before you begin your application. Further information can be found under the Supporting Documents section.
You should expect to receive your Certificate of Freedom for your marriage abroad within 8 weeks of the date of marriage if submitted within the correct timeframe.
Applications to Embassy Nigeria and Embassy Malawi will not be included in the new online payment system. You should contact that office directly. In addition, applicants resident in Sudan and South Sudan will not be able to make a payment online for this service and should contact their nearest Embassy for details of payment methods.
Meeting legal requirements
Each country has its own requirements governing marriage and they may be quite different to Irish requirements.
Contact the civil registration office in your country of marriage to get more information.
Certificate of Freedom to Marry
This is a document stating that you are free to marry, which is required by some countries before you can get married. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade issues this certificate, which is also known as a Civil Letter of Freedom, Certificate de Coutume or Nulla Osta.
Applying for a Certificate of Freedom to Marry
You must apply online for a Certificate of Freedom to Marry and forward a hard copy of your supporting documentation to us.
Registering your marriage in Ireland
If you marry abroad, it will only be recognised in Ireland if it is entered on the civil register of the country where the ceremony took place and provided all legal formalities have been followed.
Following the introduction of the Marriages Act 2015, you should note that with effect from 16 May 2016, civil partnerships or civil unions from outside the jurisdiction will no longer be recognised in Ireland.
Civil Partnerships entered into before 16 May 2016 in another jurisdiction (under Section 5 of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010) will be recognised as civil partners in Ireland.
Same-sex marriages which were entered into prior to the introduction of the Marriages Bill are now entitled to be recognised in Ireland from the date the Marriages Act came into force (16 November 2015).
If you are considering entering into a civil partnership abroad you should contact Consular Division in Dublin for further information on 01 408 2523 between 10-12 (Monday- Friday).
Further information is available from the Department of Justice and Equality.
Making an application
To apply for a Certificate of Freedom to Marry, you must complete an online questionnaire about yourself and your upcoming marriage or civil partnership.
Based on this questionnaire, you’ll be presented with one or more statutory declarations to complete and a checklist of supporting documentation you'll need to submit with your application.
You need to:
- Print and sign your questionnaire.
- Print out a copy of each statutory declaration.
- Print out your checklist.
- Complete the declarations and have them witnessed.
- Post them to us with your supporting documentation, signed questionnaire and fee.
- Print off or save each form right after your online questionnaire, as you won't be able to retrieve them later.
When to apply
Submit your application a minimum of four months before the date of your marriage or civil partnership.
Your witnessed statutory declaration(s) cannot be dated more than six months before the date we receive your application.
Your application is not complete until we get hard copies of your questionnaire, statutory declaration(s), and all supporting documentation.
Your checklist will tell you exactly what supporting documentation you'll need for your application, which may include:
- Your original long-form birth certificate
- A court order, if you are under 18 years
- Marriage and Death certificate of your previous spouse, if widowed
- Petition and final decree of your divorce, if divorced
- A photocopy of your current Irish passport
- Your original naturalisation certification, if naturalised
Translating your documents
You'll need to submit certified translations of any of these documents, if the originals are in a language other than English or Irish.
Getting replacement documents
We need original documents (except for the photocopy of your passport) to process your application.
Getting your documents back
We will return all your original documents to you after we inspect them.
If you haven't included all the necessary documents, your application will be returned to you.
Your statutory declaration must be witnessed in the country in which you are ordinarily resident before you can submit it.
Who can be a witness?
Your witness must:
- Know you personally
- Know a third party personally who can identify you
- Be able to verify your identity through your official documents (e.g. a passport)
Applying in Ireland
Your witness can be:
- A notary public
- A Commissioner for Oaths
- A solicitor
Your witness can be:
- A diplomatic or consular officer of Ireland
- A notary public
- A Commissioner for Oaths or someone authorised to administer oaths or declarations
Your witness needs to:
- Witness you completing and signing your Statutory Declaration(s)
- Complete and sign the relevant part of your Statutory Declaration(s)
It’s against the law to make a Statutory Declaration that you know is false or misleading in any way.
Applying in Ireland
Certificate of Freedom to Marry (Certificate de Cotume/Nulla Osta)
- Per Irish applicant: €60
- Non-refundable postage and handling fee: €6
- Total per Irish applicant: €66.
If you submit your application 28 days or less before the date of your intended marriage - you’ll have to pay an additional fee of €60 per Irish applicant.
Payment is made online as part of the application process.
Where to apply
Sending your application
Send your application to the address printed on your questionnaire. This will be either:
- Your nearest Irish Embassy or Consulate (if you live abroad)
- Our Cork office (if you live in Munster) Tel: 021 494 4763 (10:00-13:00)
- Our Dublin office (if you live elsewhere in Ireland) Tel: 01 408 2523 (10:00-12:00)
Please note that we do not have a public office in Dublin; all documentation should be sent by registered post.
We strongly encourage you to gather all the required documents prior to completing the online form – incomplete applications will not be accepted.