American citizen getting married abroad
January 22, 2008 11:26 AM   Subscribe

We want to get married in Gibraltar. Among the documents we have to present to the registry office is a Certificate of Non Impediment which, from what we've googled, isn't a standard US document and is a requirement to get married in most European countries. Where can the future Mr. Dada, an American citizen, get one of these?
posted by lucia__is__dada to Law & Government (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
i am sure the american consulate in gibraltar or the british embassy can answer this question.
posted by thinkingwoman at 11:32 AM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

i mean the american embassy in britain. although the british embassy in the u.s. may also have some pointers, come to think of it.
posted by thinkingwoman at 11:32 AM on January 22, 2008

or better still call the main office in Gibraltar and they will explain how the US person gets the certificado: Horse's mouth is better than our guesstimates. They speak English, funnily enough!

Civil Status & Registration Office,
Marriage Registry,
277 Main Street
Tel. 00 350 72289/78303
(9767 72289/78303 si telefonea desde España)

ring them tomorrow morning to find out exactly what they will accept. They'll probably be open CET 10am. Spaniards just go to their loccal Notario Publico and get this done for about £150.
posted by Wilder at 11:49 AM on January 22, 2008

If I recall correctly, the US version of this is called a Certificate of Freedom to Marry (it's just a witnessed sworn statement by the future Mr. Dada that he is currently unmarried) and you can get one from your local US embassy. That's where I got mine -- it's extra fun when you get one for a gay marriage in a country which allows it, and the US embassy staff goes through all the stages in grief right in front of you while they try to figure out if there is any way for them to get out of doing it :) .
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 12:10 PM on January 22, 2008 [4 favorites]

call the main office in Gibraltar

I did call Gibraltar and when I said there was no such document in the US they simply dismissed me with "Every american brings one, bye." I do want to call back but have something more palpable to say like "Can he bring X or Y as equivalents to that certificate."

Certificate of Freedom to Marry and you can get one from your local US embassy.

Well, the future Mr. Dada is in the US and there will be no time to go to a US embassy anywhere in the world prior to going to Gibraltar.

We'll try the british embassy/consulate but was hoping someone who got married abroad would know where to get this in the US so he could just bring it with him.
posted by lucia__is__dada at 12:27 PM on January 22, 2008

Okay, I heard about this exact problem (I think!) because there is a similar situation in Egypt, which is that there is NO such thing as a "Certificate of No Impediment" issued by the US govt, which means you may run into a snag in getting married. Here's a quote from a State Dept webpage which mentions Certificates of No Impediment in Vietnam:

Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage:

Many countries require persons who wish to marry to provide proof issued by a governmental authority that there is no legal impediment to the marriage. There is no such authority in the United States. The Department of States does not issue any statement or authorization regarding whether a person living in the United States is free to marry abroad. No such document exists in the United States. In the United States, marriage laws are enacted by the governments of the individual states, and there is no federal (national) marriage law or federal record of marriages. The laws of the several states with regard to marriage differ, and the stipulations for, or impediments to marriage vary widely. Marriage licenses in the United States are granted upon written application by the individuals concerned who declare themselves free to marry and are required to present evidence of the termination of any previous marriage. Thus the individuals concerned are held responsible for and accountable for their statements. Since 1888, U.S. regulations have reflected that U.S. consular officers are not competent to certify officially as to the civil status of persons domiciled in the United States and proposing to be married abroad. Moreover, 22 C.F.R. 52.3 provides that although a consular officer may have knowledge respecting the laws of marriage, the consular officer shall not issue any official certificate with respect to such laws.
Now it's possible you can still get a Certificate of Freedom to Marry and this will work, but I do know that because of changes in State Dept policy (and/or Egyptian policy perhaps) it was a bit difficult to get married in Egypt (looks like that is no longer the case thankfully) And yes, it looks like this was because of the Egyptian govt, not the US. Sounds like they were not accepting the Certificate of Freedom to Marry anymore
posted by Deathalicious at 12:29 PM on January 22, 2008

Is there some pressing reason to get married in Gibraltar? You can always have a ceremony there and then get the license at some other point.
posted by Deathalicious at 12:30 PM on January 22, 2008

The missus and I went through the very same thing when we got married in Sri Lanka at the tail end of 2006. All they really wanted was a notarized affadavit from each of us stating that we were currently single with no impediments to marriage. I can't definitively say it's the same in Gibraltar, but we pretty much just typed up some statements on my friend the notary's letterhead, had him stamp them and sent those along. Apparently they were fine.

I may have copies at home, if you need some sample text. Feel free to send me a MeFimail if you'd like me to pursue it.
posted by JaredSeth at 1:00 PM on January 22, 2008

Hello - Gibraltar is a British overseas territory , and the certificate of no impediment is a required item in the UK too. My wife is American, and we simply put a line in our application form that said the US does not issue certificates of no impediment, and they waived the requirement. I'd imagine Gibraltar is the same, but best to get in touch with whoever would be marrying you (likely a branch of the Gibraltar civil government - try here) and double-check. Ten to one they'll tell you it will be waived as your husband is American.
posted by Happy Dave at 4:14 PM on January 22, 2008

Funny enough, I had the pleasure of getting the American version of this in Germany, for my gay Lebenspartnershaft. The consular staff didn't give me any attitude, but I may have neglected to make it known it was a gay marriage (don't recall). This was about 6 or 7 years ago, maybe 8. (We don't put any emotional importance to the date, it was a legal hoop to jump through).
posted by Goofyy at 3:10 AM on January 23, 2008

Is there some pressing reason to get married in Gibraltar?

Kickin' it John and Yoko style. ("You can get married in Gibraltar, near Spain.")
posted by kirkaracha at 10:12 AM on January 23, 2008

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