A daily has reported on a problem confronting some US citizens who want to get married in Estonia: they are required to present a certificate that the US does not issue in the exact form required, and Estonian officials are no longer looking the other way.
The problem, due to a change in practice effective in January, affects citizens of some foreign countries who have not lived in Estonia for the last six months - most notably Americans and Ukrainians - said Eesti Päevaleht.
People with no recent legal residency in Estonia are required to submit a certificate from "a competent institution of their country of residence or nationality" that there are no legal obstacles to marriage.
For years, it was sufficient for the American citizens to use an alternative channel - the first choice being the US Embassy in Tallinn - and make a signed statement which the embassy certified.
Now, as two Estonian women interviewed by the paper found, US citizens have to apply for a special dispensation from a county court to allow the nuptials to go ahead.
This is not due to a legal amendment, but rather stricter policy, Interior Ministry officials told the daily - it is because vital statistics offices are no longer allowed to make exceptions.
Of marriages between Estonian citizens and foreigners who have not been legally resident in Estonia in the previous six months, the greatest number in the last five years is with Russian citizens (712), followed by Ukrainians (82). Ukraine is the other country besides the US to whom their government does not issue the requisite certificates. Finland and Latvia come next with around 30 marriages each, and the US for the time being figures relatively low, with around 10 marriages.