Applicants for several visa types as well as the individuals wishing to get married in foreign countries, are often require to present proof of their freedom to marry. In the United States there are two types of documents which are available, and the Certificate of No Record of Marriage, also known as Certificate of No Impediment, is one of them.
What is Certificate of No Record of Marriage?
As with many other personal documents in the United States, each state will have their own rules and procedures when it comes to marital status documents and the marriage records in general. For instance, some states, like Florida, maintain statewide record system of all marriage records in the state. As the result, when requesting a Certificate of No Record of Marriage, a search for the individual is based on the statewide information. As the result the actual document will certify that there has been a search conducted of all marriage records in the said state for the specific individual and that no record of marriage has been found in the entire state. Other states, for example, Minnesota, only maintain County Level database. Therefore, the search will only be conducted based on the records of the specific county. So if the applicants lived in several counties, they might need to obtain a document from each county within the state.
Furthermore, many foreign authorities may require that you present a No Record of Marriage Certificate from each state where you have resided, which can be quite time consuming and expensive process.
To obtain Certificate of No Impediment one must first find out how the authorities of the state in question maintain their marriage records. Typically, such information can be found online through a number of government websites.
Can anyone obtain it?
Not exactly. Only a limited number of States treat such records as public. Most states maintain that all marital status documents are private information and will only release such information to the record holder or their appointee. In other words, one will have to provide an express written authorization to an appointee signed and notarized by a commissioned notary in order for a third party to obtain the record on someone’s behalf.
How long does it take to obtain the Certificate of No Impediment or No Record of Marriage Certificate?How long does it take to obtain the Certificate of No Impediment or No Record of Marriage Certificate?
The processing times depends on the State or the County from where the document is being obtained and may range anywhere from a couple of days to several months.
Once the document is obtained, it must be authenticated either through an apostille or consular legalization, depending on the country where the document shall be used. More information about the apostille can be found in our separate post dedicated for apostilles or on our website.
There are several things to look out for when ordering a Certificate of No Record of Marriage. The first and the most important part, is to confirm with the target authorities in a foreign country that they will accept the document, or if they will prefer your own sworn statement, known as a Single Status Affidavit. It is very well known issue, that some authorities may prefer one over the other. In fact, even in the same country officials of different cities may have different requirements to the documents showing that one is single.
Another issue which may arise concerns mainly New York residents. In New York, the No Record of marriage Certificates are issued by two government bodies, one is the State Agency and another one is the Office of the City Clerk. The state agency maintains all marriage records in the entire state with the exception of the New York City. So the New York State No Record of Marriage Certificate will state that the search was made based on all marriage records in the entire state excluding the five boroughs of the New York City, while the NYC Certificate of No Impediment will only be performed based on New York City Records and will not be applicable to the New York State. This will be included into the document in bold letters. So one might want to make sure which document will be required by foreign authorities in advance. It is common that one may be asked to obtain both documents to satisfy the requirements set by foreign government.