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Destination Wedding in Ireland - the legal requirement if you live overseas

The following information is, for the most part, taken from the official Government website; HERE

If you would like information about Getting Married in Ireland - please contact me directly via email:

(If you live in Ireland - please see our other blog; HERE)

Every couple wanting to be legally married in the Republic of Ireland, must first contact the Government agency; Heath Service Executive (HSE), Civil Registration Service.

The HSE must be contacted to lodge the couples' "Notification of Intent to Marry" at a pre-arranged appointment. The Notification must be lodged no less than 3-months prior to the intended date of marriage.

You must give notice, in person, at a civil registration service office. This applies to all civil, religious and secular marriages. Both parties (the couple) must attend the meeting.

You can book an appointment with the HSE online via their website HERE or look up individual offices around the country and call them to book directly HERE

When you have contacted the HSE, a Registrar will send to you requirements which you must provide to them at your appointment. This will include ID, proof of address, Civil status, etc. You will also be required to complete a "Data Capture Form" . This document requires information such as your full names, addresses, family names, Civil Status, Witness names, and (in regards to the ceremony itself) if the ceremony will be Religious/Secular or Civil. The date of the ceremony, venue details, and the name of the person performing the ceremony.

If you live outside of the Republic of Ireland, and are not planning any trips here before your marriage (therefore cannot attend the appointment in excess of 3 months prior to your wedding date) - you can request to the HSE to make your application "via post".

The HSE will email you all of the relevant information for the Notification process, including a copy of the Capture of Data form (see below), and a list of supporting documentation required.

Eventhough you live overseas, you STILL will be required to attend an "in person" meeting with the HSE before your wedding date.

The HSE have a provision that couples giving Notice of Intention to Marry - VIA POST - can submit their Capture of Data form (no less than 3 months prior to the wedding date) and then attend an appointment up until 5 days prior to the wedding date.

So, if you are planning on travelling to Ireland in the days leading up to the wedding - you should take this into consideration when booking your flights.

You also need to take note of the fact that the HSE offices are only open Monday - Friday. Business hours pending which office (see above link)

Once you have arrived in Ireland, you must attend the Notification appointment at an HSE Registration office. The HSE Registrar will work through your documentation and make a decision as to your approval to be legally married. Once approval has been made, you will be given documentation which is to be taken to the person performing your ceremony. This documentation; MRF (Marriage Registration Form), is the actual document which will be signed during your ceremony.

If you have chosen to have a Civil marriage ceremony (ie, the HSE Registrar themselves are performing your ceremony), you will not receive the MRF document - as the Registrar will hold this for you until the day of the ceremony.

DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED As mentioned above, there are certain documents which are required by the couple to give to the HSE Registrar when you lodge your Notification of Intent to Marry.

One of the following is required by every person giving notice;

- Passport

- Refugee / Asylum card issued by the Dept of Justice & Equality

- National Identity card from an EU country, accepting them as a travel document

Photo ID documents MUST be in date.

You will also need;

- Birth Certificate

- Proof of address (dated within last 3 months)

- PPS number

If any documents are not in English - then a translation must be provided.

If either party does not speak English - then you can have a Interpretor at your Notification appointment. You must ensure that you inform the HSE officer prior to the appointment.

If an Interpretor is used during the Notification appointment - then they must also be used at the marriage ceremony (if being held with an HSE Registrar - or a Solemniser who cannot translate the legal declarations to your spoken language)

There has recently been a change in some of the paperwork requirements for people who were either born outside of the Republic of Ireland, or for any person who is or was living outside of Ireland.

You might find some old information on these online - so I want to mention them here, just to ensure you are clear with what you need.... or don't need to do;

  1. An "Apostille Stamp" - this isused to authenticate mostly Birth Certificates which were issued by any foreign country.

**NB: UK born nationals (inc Northern Ireland) may not need to have an Apostille stamp on their birth certificates. Check with HSE Registrar first!

  1. Letter of Freedom - in reference to the HSE Notification process, this document may be requested for any person who is or was living outside of Ireland prior to the marriage. The "letter" is an official statement to declare that the person was not already legally married in the country of residence. Check with HSE Registrar.

** Just a little note on the Letter of Freedom (as this one is nice and confusing!) - there is another Letter of Freedom, which might that you get ONLY if you are getting married in the Catholic church. A Priest might request this of the couple for their own paperwork process. This type of Letter of Freedom is nothing to do with the LEGAL, HSE process. It just can be confusing as it is called the same name.

It is always best to check directly with the HSE Registrar to confirm with them exactly what additional documentation is required for your appointment

If you have any questions on any of the information above - please contact us directly, and we can talk you through requirements.


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