We often hear from clients who are having difficulty obtaining a certificate of no impediment when planning to get married in a country that is a member of the commonwealth. Although this document is frequently requested, the UK government does not issue this document for marriages in commonwealth countries. Conflicting information from the local authorities in the country you intend to marry will undoubtedly cause confusion, fortunately there are alternatives.
Certificate of No Impediment
Many commonwealth countries will request a certificate of no impediment even though this is not possible. If you intend to marry in any of the following countries you will need to explain this and clarify what alternate documents would suffice.
United Republic of Tanzania
Antigua and Barbuda
St Kitts and Nevis
St Vincent and The Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
Papua New Guinea
As a case in point, we regularly hear from clients who intend to marry a South African citizen in South Africa. The UK Government provide the following guidance relating to this:
The UK doesn’t issue certificates of no impediment (CNIs) for marriages in Commonwealth countries. The British High Commission in Pretoria or the Consulate General in Cape Town can provide a letter to explain this if you’re asked to provide a CNI or a similar document to prove you’re allowed to marry. Contact the High Commission and Consulate General to arrange to collect a letter. The letter must be signed and stamped by a member of the consular staff.
Statutory Declaration or Affidavit
A potential alternative to the typical CNI is to make a declaration that confirms your current marital status. This document should be signed in the presence of a UK solicitor or Notary Public. There are many templates online that can be used for this purpose. We recommend contacting the local authorities in the country you intend to marry to check if this would be a suitable alternative.
The local marriage laws and document requirements vary from country to country. In addition to the CNI/Statutory declaration you may also be asked to legalise birth certificates and possibly divorce documents. If you require an apostille for any of your documents you can order this service online. If you require any guidance on this please do not hesitate to contact us.