Press release from Attorney-General Hon. Robert McClelland MP on Certificates of Non-impediment (CNI) for Australians wishing to marry overseas



Monday, 5 December 2011


Attorney-General Robert McClelland today welcomed the resolution of the Australian Labor Party National Conference on Certificates of Non-Impediment (CNI).

The Government will give full effect to the resolution of Conference and allow CNIs to be issued to same sex couples on the same basis as couples of different sexes.

When an Australian wants to marry overseas, local laws in the country in which they want to marry may require a Certificate of Non-Impediment to marriage to be issued before the marriage can proceed. These certificates confirm that there is no impediment to a person taking part in a marriage ceremony overseas, including that:

  • they are over 18
  • they are not already married.

Issuing a CNI to a couple would allow them to take part in the marriage ceremony overseas and be considered married according to the laws of that overseas country. Such a marriage would not be recognised as a marriage in Australia but would be prima facie evidence of a de facto relationship including for the purposes of a civil union under some State and Territory laws.

Discussions between the Attorney-General’s Department and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade are occurring to give effect to the administrative processes which are required to issue CNIs.

The Government will work to be able to issue these certificates to same sex couples in early 2012. Further information on timing will be made available on


Desmond Ko – 02 6277 7300 or 0457 754 122