If you’re reading this, you’re likely an international couple deciding to get married in the states and want to make sure your marriage paperwork is legal in your country. Depending on where you are geographically, you might hear that you need either an ‘extended’ marriage certificate or an ‘apostilled’ marriage certificate. These two terms are used interchangeably in New York City and the steps remain the same.
We know this isn’t the sexiest topic in a marriage, but we’re going to break it down for you so that it’s not too overwhelming.
Photo by Tanya Isaeva
What is an extended marriage certificate?
Basically, the extended certificate includes a whole lot of information; from your parents’ names and countries of birth to your officiant’s name and title. It’s typically used in foreign jurisdictions for adoption, passport, and dual citizenship applications among other complicated grown-up stuff.
So then what does apostille mean?
Well, it’s a French word meaning certification. Who knew? People who speak French, I guess. Essentially, it’s the completion of city, state, and federal seals on the certificate ensuring that it will be recognized as valid in your country. Under the Hague Convention, signatory countries have agreed to recognize public documents issued by other signatory countries if those public documents are authenticated by the attachment of an internationally recognized form of authentication known as an Apostille.
How do you get this extended/apostilled marriage certificate IN PERSON?
You can either go in person or request it by mail. If it’s time sensitive, we strongly recommend going in person within five days of your ceremony. It’ll take all of one day, some walking around, and lots of waiting. See below for the steps:
1. If you decided to process your marriage license yourself, visit the Manhattan Marriage Bureau, assuming that’s where you received your license. They’ll print the standard aka “short” marriage certificate and send you off to complete steps two and three.
2. Take your marriage certificate, which has the first signature and seal to the County Clerk’s Office, at 60 Centre Street, Room 141-B to authenticate the City Clerk’s hand signature. The fee is $3 payable by cash, credit card, or certified check.
3. Bring the marriage certificate with the authentication to the New York Department of State for the authentication of the County Clerk’s signature and the attachment of an “Apostille”. The Department of State is located at 123 William Street, 2nd Floor and the fee is $10, payable by check or money order ONLY.
We HIGHLY RECOMMEND going as soon as they open so that you can be out of there by lunch, at the latest. We really care about you being fed! No hangry pants here.
How do you get this extended/apostilled marriage certificate VIA MAIL?
If there are no time constraints and you’ve decided that you’ll complete this process well after your NYC adventure, you’ll need to do the same thing via mail. Dun, dun, dunnnn! This will take an estimated 3 months. It’s called SNAIL MAIL for a reason, folks!
1. Mail your original marriage certificate, a pre-paid self-addressed envelope, a simple letter saying that you want to get your marriage certificate apostilled, and a $3 money order, cashier’s check, or certified check payable to NY County Clerk to this address:
New York County Clerk, 60 Centre Street, Room 161, New York, NY 10007. They will then mail the certified authorization of your marriage certificate within 2-5 weeks
2. Once you receive the certified authorization of your marriage certificate, you will need to complete the Apostille Request form and attach the marriage certificate that the NY County Clerk returned to you.
3. Include a pre-paid self-addressed envelope along with payment of $10 per document via credit card, check, or money order. You only need one document, but if you want extras for some reason, knock yourself out!
4. Mail the Apostille Request form, certified marriage certificate, pre-paid self-addressed envelope, and payment to the following address:
Division of Licensing Services
Apostille and Authentication Unit
P.O. Box 22001
Albany, NY 12201-2001
You’ll likely receive your extended aka apostilled marriage certificate within another 4-6 weeks. Then you'll TA-DA, be all done!
Phew!!! Hope you found this apostille aka extended marriage certificate process informative and helpful. Definitely shoot me a message if you have any questions whatsoever about this process. We know the government sites can be daunting, to say the least.
Until next time. Lots of love, amores!