What Do You Need to Get Married in Samoa?
Eloping in a tropical paradise is the dream of many couples, but if you’re brave enough to take the leap together, then you’ll find that it’s incredibly easy to do in Samoa. Sure, there is some paperwork to do in order to make your marriage legal and internationally recognisable, but with the help of the abundance of wedding coordinators and resorts, as well as this guide, you’ll see how the process is straightforward enough. We’ll go through the documents, conditions and legal requirements for a wedding in Samoa with this guide to the marriage requirements in Samoa!
Who Can Get Married in Samoa?
To legally get married in Samoa, there are certain conditions that the bride and groom-to-be must meet. To get married in Samoa, you need to:
- Be 18 years old or older on your wedding day (if you are under 21 years old, you’ll also need written consent from both parents/guardians)
- Be single, divorced or widowed
- Be of different sex
- Not be related
- Be physically present for the wedding ceremony to give consent.
If you can meet those conditions, then you can start the process of getting married in Samoa!
The Documents for a Samoa Marriage License
Before getting married in Samoa, couples must first obtain a Marriage License, known as an “Intent to Marry“, from the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration (registry office). This can be obtained either in person in Apia or before you arrive in Samoa, which is usually done by your wedding coordinator. The Marriage License must be obtained between 10 days and three months before your wedding day.
It’s best to organise the required documents to apply for your Marriage License well in advance with your wedding coordinator or chosen resort in order to make sure all the paperwork is correct and, in turn, things run smoothly for your big day.
Documents Required for a Samoa Marriage License
Both parties wishing to marry will either need the original documents or certified copies of the following:
- Current passports (valid for six months after the intended date of departure from Samoa)
- Birth certificates
- Certificate of no impediment to get married from your country of origin
- Divorce certificates or decrees, if applicable
- Death certificate of spouses, if applicable.
If any of your documents are in a language other than English or Samoan (except for your passport), then you may need an official and certified translation. Note that there is also a small fee for the Marriage License application, but this is usually covered by wedding coordinators through wedding packages.
Getting Your Marriage License in Samoa
Got the paperwork? Now couples need to obtain a Marriage License, which allows them to legally get married in Samoa.
Marriage Licenses must be filed at least 10 days before the wedding day, yet no more than three months in advance (the Marriage License expires after three months). Couples don’t necessarily have to be in Samoa 10 days before their wedding day, so can apply for the Marriage License while overseas.
How to Apply for a Samoa Marriage License from Overseas
For couples who have purchased a wedding package or have hired a wedding coordinator, the Marriage License will be arranged through them. Otherwise, couples planning independently can apply for a Samoa Marriage License through the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration at the following contact information:
- Website: mjca.gov.ws
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: +685 22671.
The Justice Department will provide instructions on how they want you to send the required original or certified documents required for the Marriage License.
How to Apply for a Marriage License in Samoa
Alternatively, couples can apply for a Marriage License in Apia at the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration building. The grand building with distinct column architecture is easy to spot along Mulinuu Road on the Mulinuu Peninsula in Apia, located next to the Parliament of Samoa, Fono building. Note that the Ministry of Justice is open from 9 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday. They are closed on weekends and public holidays.
Signing the Marriage Certificate
The marriage finally becomes legal when the marriage certificate is signed by the correct parties and becomes internationally recognised when sent to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to obtain the “Apostille Seal”.
Marriage Officier and Witnesses
During your wedding ceremony, you will both sign all copies of your Marriage Certificate. You will also need either a Marriage Officier (Celebrant or a Church Minister) and two witnesses to sign the certificate and send the appropriate forms to the registry office.
Couples from overseas getting married in Samoa do not need to supply their own celebrant or minister with witnesses. Your preference will be arranged with wedding coordinators in Samoa, such as the ones in the 10 Best Wedding Packages in Samoa.
What Happens Next?
Once the marriage certificate is signed by all required parties, the couple will keep one certificate, while the other is forwarded to a registry office to be registered. Your wedding coordinator will also send your certificate to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to get an Apostille Certification or “Apostille Seal” to legalise your document for other countries that are a part of the Hague Convention. Information on the Apostille Seal can be found on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
Finally, your wedding coordinator will either provide you with your finalised wedding certificate before you leave Samoa or post it to your chosen address.
More About Marriage Requirements for Samoa
That’s it for our complete guide to the marriage requirements for Samoa. Have more questions about getting married in Samoa? Check out the following guides:
- How to Plan a Wedding in Samoa
- 10 Best Wedding Venues in Samoa
- How to Pick the Best Wedding & Honeymoon Accommodation in Samoa
Finally, for a complete guide to planning a couples’ getaway to Samoa, check out The Honeymoon & Romantic Getaway Guide to Samoa.