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How to get married in Tonga

Weddings are taken very seriously in Tonga – one of the strictest Christian countries in the South Pacific.

Beach weddings are not allowed and couples wishing to have a church wedding must spend at least one month in Tonga before the ceremony.

Tonga Marriage Requirements

Tonga is a deeply Christian society and the legal requirements for getting married in Tonga are quite restrictive.

Foreign couples intending to get married in Tonga must reside in the country for at least one month before applying for a special marriage licence, which is issued at the discretion of the Principal Immigration Officer.

Couples must first write to the Principal Immigration Officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs seeking permission to get married in Tonga. On receipt, the process usually takes up to three days.

For this reason, many couples prefer to have a civil wedding in their home country and enjoy a honeymoon in Tonga.

No wedding in Tonga is legal until the couple are married in both a civil and church ceremony.

Residency Requirement

At least one month before intended wedding date.

Required Documents


Ensure that all documents are in your legal name, and provide affidavits in cases where you are known by another name.

All documents must be in English; if not, they must be translated and notarized.

Documents required for getting married in Tonga, include…
  • Photographs and a photocopy of both passports submitted with application to marry
  • Certified copies of birth certificates for both participants
  • Death certificate of deceased former spouse, if relevant
  • Decree Absolute, if relevant
  • Certificate of No Impediment to Get Married from country of origin
  • Affidavit stating that neither parties have a criminal record
  • Parental consent if under the age of 21 years.

Religious Marriage Ceremony

While the dominant faith in Tonga is Methodist, other Christian denominations are well represented. Some faiths may require additional documents for a religious service. You may want to check this with your local minister.

Couples of the Roman Catholic faith should allow at least six months before the planned wedding date in order to process all the necessary paperwork (certificates of baptism, dispensations, statements of freedom to marry, etc.).

You should make contact with the priest whom you want to have officiate at your wedding as soon as possible. He will help you complete the necessary paperwork and provide part of your marriage preparation instruction.

Marriage Certificate

Your Marriage Certificate will be issued at the Registrar of the Supreme Court. You simply present the marriage documents you and your witnesses and minister signed following your wedding ceremony together with your original birth certificates; and pay a small fee.

Apostille of Marriage Certificate

Citizens of some foreign nationalities may require an Apostille stamp on their marriage certificates, this can be arranged upon request at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

European Union citizens (except the United Kingdom and Ireland) may need to have their Marriage Certificate apostilled (or authenticated).

This does not apply to citizens of United States, Canada, Australia or New Zealand. Citizens of Asian countries, South and Central America should check with their Civil Registrar as to whether an Apostille is required for your country.

Fees

Marriage Licence – TOP$100

Wedding Planners

Some hotels may offer wedding co-ordinators who can insure that the entire process of getting married in Tonga, including fulfilling all legal requirements, is stress free.

For more information: Contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Salote Road, Nuku’alofa, Tonga (Tel: (+676) 26969, Fax: (+676) 26972, Email: tongapermit@gmail.com)


Please note: while accurate at time of publication this information is for guidance purposes only and liable to change without notice. Please check with your wedding planner at your resort of choice or the relevant embassy of the country in which you intend to marry for up-to-date details before your wedding.

Latest update: How to get married in Tonga : 18 November, 2018


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