The procedure for an American citizen (or any non-Indian) to get married in India depends on whether the parties wish to participate in a religious ceremony or a civil ceremony. If the government asks you for a “no objection letter”, you can satisfy this request by making an affidavit at your local U.S. Embassy/Consulate regarding your marital status and eligibility to marry. Affidavit fees and appointments are required.
In India, a religious marriage ceremony is generally considered a legal marriage. However, for marriages registered under the Hindu Marriage Act (affecting Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists), the certificate issued by the temple or gurudwara may not be legally sufficient for all purposes. Individuals married under the Hindu Marriage Act may seek a formal marriage certificate from the Registrar of Marriages. If one of the parties is not Indian, the registrar may request a “no objection letter” (see above) and proof of termination of any prior marriages.
If the parties are married in a Christian, Muslim, Parsi, Jewish, Baha’i or other religious ceremony, the certificate issued by the religious authority (e.g., the church’s marriage certificate, the mosque’s nikah nama, etc.) generally is sufficient proof of marriage, and no certificate from the marriage registrar is necessary.
Parties who do not wish to marry in a religious ceremony can instead opt for a civil ceremony pursuant to the Special Marriage Act. Also, individuals of different religions should register the marriage under the Special Marriage Act, even if a religious ceremony has also been performed. This may also require a “no objection letter”, as well as proof of termination of any previous marriages. You can download a blank “No Objection” letter here.
The parties generally are required to wait at least 30 days from the date of the initial application to formalize the marriage so that the marriage officer can publish a newspaper ad allowing for the opportunity for any objections to the marriage to be voiced.
The marriage registrar’s office generally is located in a local community’s court complex or municipal building.
Frequently Asked Questions
I am a U.S. citizen and got married in India. May I register my marriage at the Embassy/Consulate? No. The Embassy/Consulate does not register marriages in India.
I need a “No Objection Letter” to marry an Indian Citizen. Can the Embassy/Consulate provide me with this document? You can obtain a “No Objection Letter” by making an online appointment to visit your local Embassy/Consulate. The service takes just a few minutes and involves signing an affidavit that we will then notarize. You need to bring your passport. Complete fee information is available here.
I lost my original birth certificate, CRBA, marriage certificate, Report of Death or other U.S. record and need to obtain another one. What do I do? The Embassy/Consulate keeps no files of the different documents we issue, such as a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA), or documents dealing with the death of an American in India. These records are instead filed in Washington, D.C. We also do not keep any files of Indian civil documents, such as records of marriages and divorces in India. These records are held by the Indian government. Other records, such as birth certificates for people born in the United States, are stored in the state of origin.
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) – Please go to the State Department’s web page on consular records for complete details on obtaining a copy of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA).
- Report of the Death of an American Citizen Abroad (ROD) – Please go to the State Department’s web page on consular records for complete details on obtaining a copy of a Report of Death (ROD) of an American citizen.
- All Other Vital Records – Follow this link for an on-line source of more information about obtaining vital records in the U.S.
There are also on-line services that will help you obtain records for a fee. One such service is
VitalChek (800-255-2414), which allows you to request birth, death, and marriage certifications online, by phone, or by fax. Another service called usbirthcertificate.net can help you obtain or amend a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, in addition to obtaining a birth certificate. You must have a physical street address to use this service (no APO’s, FPO’s, or PO Boxes).