When getting married abroad you may be asked to provide legalised documents to an authority overseas. This often includes a birth certificate as proof of identity and documentation that proves you are single and not already married.
In addition, if you have been previously married you may need to provide evidence you are now divorced. This is normally the decree absolute from a UK court. Any name changes by deed poll may also need to be legalised.
It is important that you ask the government overseas what documents they want. Guess work will only waste time and money. Each country has its own requirements.
What documents can be used to prove single status?
Certificate of No Impediment
The Certificate of No Impediment (CNI) is provided by your local ‘Register Office’ where births, marriages and deaths are recorded. It can only be issued to British Citizens. In addition, the UK does not issue the CNI for marriages in Commonwealth countries.
In the UK this document is a formal certificate that is prepared and signed by a government officer (The Registrar). You will need to make an appointment at your local office. Issuing the certificate will take around 4 weeks (there is no fast track service). British citizens need to apply in person to their local office and provide original identification documents. This cannot be done if you live overseas and cannot travel to the UK.
If you live in Northern Ireland you need to obtain a similar document - the certificate of 'Legal capacity to marry'.
In the UK you can make a sworn or statutory declaration of fact. In this situation you can make a declaration that you are single and have not previously been married or that you are now divorced and free to marry.
The statutory declaration (often called a stat dec) must be signed in the presence of a practising UK solicitor or Notary Public. They witness you sign the document and add their signature. There are many free statutory declaration templates that you can edit.
Apostille for Single Status Documents
When you have obtained the CNI or signed a statutory declaration it will normally need the apostille for use outside of the UK. The UK apostille is added to these documents when they are being used to confirm you are single and can marry abroad.
Most apostilles are completed in just 1-2 days. You can then submit the document to the people overseas that are requesting them.
If you need advice on single status declarations or the apostille service do not hesitate to contact me.