Getting a Digital Marriage Certificate in India

Getting a Digital Marriage Certificate in India

It’s happening in New Delhi, and maybe soon, other parts of India will follow suit. Digital marriage certificates are being issued. A digital marriage certificate has an abundance of benefits… Except if you are not an Indian citizen and your spouse is. I don’t know about other countries, but the U.S. does not accept digital marriage certificates.

Digital marriage certificates are actually great news for India! Registering your marriage has never been so simple… and you walk out with a perfectly legal digital marriage certificate. This digitally signed certificate is recognized legally in India, despite its format, and can be verified from the government website. This has significantly reduced the length of time people have to wait for their marriage to be registered and certified.

However, this has caused me and my husband some trouble, here in the U.S. The Social Security Administration, one way of legally changing your name after marriage, does not accept anything but original paper documents, hand signed, stamped, and sealed. In other words, our digital document doesn’t – at all – meet the requirements. The digital document can only be printed out (as it did not come with a paper original) it is also digitally signed, and bears no seal or stamp. It does come with a digital signature from the Sub-Divisional Magistrate and time-stamp. At the top of the document, there is a verification number unique to identifying the authenticity of the document. Yet none of this is recognized by the United States government.

Example: Digital Marriage Certificate of New Delhi

Our marriage certificate looks a bit like this, except it’s filled in with our pictures and information. You get the idea. See the original PDF of this file…

So, currently I am unable to establish my marriage status within the U.S. and I am unable to change my last name, because the digital certificate is not recognized or accepted here. Within the next few days, my husband is hoping to return to the office where we registered our marriage, and ask for an authentic paper copy. Since the West district office is notorious for their rude behavior and running us in circles, he’s not looking forward to the trip. If we are unsuccessful in convincing them to provide an authentic paper version, we will attempt to apostle or attest the validity of our marriage certificate, and use those documents to change my name. Here’s hoping!

As a warning… If any intercultural couples are presented with a digital copy, see if it’s possible – while you are still in their office – to get a true physical marriage certificate as well. At least, if you plan on using the document legally in your country.

Featured image via


5 thoughts on “Getting a Digital Marriage Certificate in India

  1. I never would have imagined how difficult it would be to prove validity of an out-of-country marriage if I had not been with you to both the SSA and the State office, and spoke to the Recorder of Deeds. I definitely hope all countries make it easier to verify the validity of documents easier in the future.


  2. Oh, they will provide you with the original one. They will probably download it from the same site and then get it attested by the Sub Divisional Magistrate, that is what I hope. I don’t think there would be a problem. He may have to write an application, if necessary explaining why a paper certificate is needed, along with necessary papers, regarding the need for a paper certificate. Why you want to establish you marital status in USA should also be explained, which means all papers regarding you should be handy. However, this should not be the first step, better keep such a letter ready, if needed. First explain your problem and seek the right way.

    Find a sympathetic man or superior officer, and tell him everything. There is always some good person in these offices ready to help.

    If he is frustrated at the lower level, then ask your husband to go straight to the Sub Divisional Magistrate’s chamber and tell him everything. He may be stopped by his staff and Magistrate may be busy but you just need to be polite and take your chances in India. Just get in when he is free. You have assess when is the right time. Many a times what does not happen at the lower levels, gets done at the higher level. Sub Divisional Magistrates are mostly young recruits and more open to listening about the problems of people.

    In a Government office like this, you have to constantly try to keep you eyes and ears open and make sense of what is happening to choose the right moment to act.

    I hope everything works fine. Best of luck.

    Liked by 1 person

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