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.
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 Pixabay.com