Eloping abroad presents it’s own set of challenges that can be quite difficult to work around if you do not have the adequate knowledge on the in’s and outs of it all. While the United States will recognize the marriage license of any other country – it is contingent on the license being legally issue according to their laws and not our own. Eloping on a an exotic tropical island may sound like a really great idea – but you may want to think twice depending on where you plan on marrying.
Eloping on the beautiful French Polynesian islands of Bora Bora or Tahiti certainly sounds like a romantic idea – but as a province of France, the islands are held to the legal rulings and laws of France. In order to marry in France or the French Polynesian islands, you must first establish legal residency for a minimum period of at least thirty days prior to being issued a marriage license. Though I must note that at the time of the writing of this article, it is speculated that the French are going to do away with the stringent requirement mandating 30-days of residency. It is not official yet, but is expected to be enacted by mid-2010. You must also produce a birth certificate, issued within 3 months from the date of your wedding – with an extra copy translated in French! Along with that, you are required to have a pre-marriage medical exam and if you and your spouse to be have any children conceived in your relationship – you must provide the birth certificates of the children that will be “legitimized” by the legal union. It doesn’t stop there, you must also obtain a certificate of celibacy (or proof that you are not married) and a notarized copy of the marriage contract!
Chances are – you have completely changed your mind about eloping in Tahiti or even having a destination wedding on the beautiful island! Well don’t give up hope just yet. You can still have your dream wedding albeit a slightly amended version of your dream wedding! You can still say your “I Do’s” in Tahiti, that is – if you don’t mind saying it twice! For many couples with their hearts set on experiencing a wedding ceremony in Tahiti – the best work-around is to simply have their marriage license signed and legal vow exchange done by a Justice of the Peace in the United States and have your dream ceremony in Tahiti. A vow ceremony does not require any additional legal paperwork.
Now I understand that this may be a watered-down version of what you actually wanted, but you can really make the best of it. Tahiti doubles as an awesome Honeymoon location as well, if planned properly – the time between your legal vow exchange in the United States and your vow ceremony in Tahiti may only be a few days, making the experience still fresh and new for you and your new spouse!