Getting married in Australia

Registry of Information Online (RIO)

The Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) has recently introduced Registry of Information Online (RIO). RIO enables marriage celebrants to submit marriage documents online, and removes the requirement to submit the NOIM form and other documents in hard copy to the Victoria BDM. This follows New South Wales and Queensland BDMs, who introduced similar electronic systems several years ago. As more state/territory BDMs introduce electronic systems that enable celebrants to submit marriage documents online, it is important that celebrants are aware of their record keeping responsibilities.

It is important to remember that part of a marriage celebrant’s record-keeping obligations is to retain their copy of the official certificate of marriage for a period of six years from the date the marriage is solemnised. The Form 15 certificate record of use form must also be kept for a period of six years from the last entry on the form. If more convenient, these documents can be kept electronically.

There is no requirement under the marriage legislation for marriage celebrants to retain hard copies of the second official certificate of marriage, NOIM or DNLI or any supporting documents such as statutory declarations if these documents have been lodged online. These marriage documents are to be forwarded and lodged online in some cases to the relevant BDM within 14 days of solemnising the marriage. Any other hardcopy documents, such as divorce orders and parental consents, are also not required to be kept once lodged online.

Once the NOIM and Declaration of No Legal Impediment and other documents as needed have been forwarded to the BDM through their online systems, it is recommended that the hard copy of the marriage paperwork be retained until the marriage has been registered. At that point, if a marriage celebrant wishes to dispose of the hard copy documents, then they should do so securely, ensuring that any personal information is adequately protected. Available technology enables documentation to be completed electronically, including receiving, sighting and lodging marriage documents.

(Harpal Singh, Civil Marriage Celebrant, NAATI Translator, Member of AUSIT & NZSTI,     Ph: 0425 853 086)