The validity of marriages performed abroad is not dependent upon the presence of an American diplomatic or consular officer, but upon adherence to the laws of the country where the marriage is performed. In general, Senegalese marriages which are legally performed by either civil or religious officials are valid in Senegal; however, only a civilly-registered marriage in Senegal is considered legal for U.S. immigration purposes. Specific inquiries regarding the validity of a Senegalese marriage should be directed to the attorney general of the state in the United States where the parties to the marriage live.
- One copy of both the bride and groom’s birth certificate issued within three months bearing the words “issued in anticipation of marriage.” Americans, who cannot obtain a copy of their birth certificate locally, can obtain an “Attestation de certificat de naissance” (a notarized statement made by the applicant) from the U.S. Embassy consular section for $50 (or the equivalent in CFA).
- One form of identification and copy for both the bride and groom. Valid identification includes a passport, a driver’s license, or an identity card.
- One witness for each the bride and groom, and a copy of their identification documents.
- Publication of the banns for fifteen days (the local authorities post it on a bulletin board located at the City Hall).
Applications for marriage and the publication of the banns are normally done at “La Mairie,” or Town Hall. The actual marriage ceremony can be held anywhere, with most civil ceremonies performed at the l’Hotel de Ville. Prospective couples should apply and post their banns a minimum of fifteen days before the intended ceremony.