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The online marriages question


Are they REALLY legal in Australia? Can they get you a visa?


attorney generals department letter re online wedding recognition in Australia


Online marriages. Online weddings. Marrying online via the Government Office in Provo, Utah USA. Still pretty new and still has that partially-unbelievable feeling about it. First time someone mentioned it to me, I thought “I DON’T think so!”

But of course I felt duty-bound to investigate, just in case it turned out to be true. If it was? It would be the answer to many a prayer from many a separated couple, forced apart due to travel bans and closed international borders. Can’t get into Philippines! Can’t get into Australia (unless already married!!) If you’re not already married, you’re left powerless and missing each other like crazy.

Well, I think most have read the BLOG articles, and I think around 20 couples out of our client-pool have so far taken the online marriage plunge, and travel ban exemptions have been successfully applied-for and granted based on these online weddings, making formerly engaged couples into married couples.

And so far no one has said anything bad about the experience. Yes, many plan on having a family wedding later, but the point of an online marriage was to make their relationship legally binding and to stop being in migration stagnation! To start making some actual progress toward being together!


What does the Attorney General’s Department say?


Glad you asked!

I asked them back in January 2021. They finally replied. And they’ve confirmed what every other bit of investigation has told me, via discussions with Australian family law lawyers and from feedback from clients.

  • Australia recognises marriages which have taken place overseas when these marriages are recognised in the countries where they were solemnised and legalised. 


  • These marriages must:


    • Be between a couple who are both legally free to marry
    • Between parties of marriageable age
    • Be between parties who are not closely related
    • Have the real consent of both parties (ie not forced, and where they can understand what they are entering into)

And the Utah marriages cover all of that.

  • The Marriage Act (Cth) 1961 does NOT expressly exclude the recognition of an online marriage from overseas


Would you like a copy of the email from the Attorney General’s Department?

PLEASE ASK and I’ll email you a copy!


Further reading


Online Filipino Weddings

Utah Government – Marriage Licenses

Utah Government – Wedding Ceremonies

NOTE: The two Utah sites are NOT https sites (yeah, I know!), and can sometimes be hard to access. Some browsers don’t like this, and some internet providers don’t like this. So we’ve had a small number of clients say “I can’t open it!” Advice from my IT man is to try other browsers or devices.

If that fails? Suggest you click below and (a) tell them of your difficulty accessing, and (b) ask them what you want. (Either way, don’t give up! This is your best chance right now.)

Email Utah Government


Free online visa assessment form from Down Under Visa
COVID CONCERNS? Australian visas ARE still being granted. We can assess you (a) for an Australian visa AND (b) for a travel ban exemption. CLICK HERE and find out!


Jeff Harvie is a Registered Migration Agent from Australia, but resident in Philippines since 2010 with his Filipina wife Mila and large extended family. Experienced with the Philippines culture, cross-cultural relationships and bureaucracy as well as Australian visas and Australian Migration Law, he writes with authority and fortunately with enough informality and humour that the average Aussie gets it! Down Under Visa specialises in visas for Australians in relationships with ladies and gents from Philippines, Thailand, China and Vietnam. Read MORE
Australian Travel Ban Exemption for Visa Holders from Philippines
Temporary concession for Offshore Partner Visa applicants affected by COVID-19 travel restrictions



    HI Jeff if we have a prospective partner visa application lodged and we did an online wedding what would that mean to the current application and lodgment of a partner visa and if any time and money changes .thanks Ashley

    • Jeff Harvie

      If you marry whilst waiting for a Subclass 300 visa (prospective marriage visa), you need to withdraw that application and have them change the application to a Subclass 309 offshore partner visa. Fairly simple, and no additional visa application charge to the Department.

  2. Michael Martin

    Hi Jeff, The Utah gov website talks about receiving your digital certified copy by email and their paper certified copy by mail after the ceremony. Are they talking about the marriage certificate – the one that you will have to supply to the “immigration department” to prove that you are married?

    • Jeff Harvie

      Yes, correct. It’s a US marriage certificate. And yes, that’s what the Department will want.


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