We live in a global, connected world, where the cost of travel is significantly less than it used to be. Thanks to this, we can meet (and fall in love) with people from all over the world. In addition, the affordability of travel has led to a rise in the number of weddings abroad, a trend which shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. While the idea of a wedding abroad seems exotic, will it cause any problems for you further down the line when you return to your home country? Or if you move to a new country? These are primary concerns for most people considering a destination wedding, so we’re here to give you all the information you’ll need.In this article we’ll be taking a look at how you can get your marriage certificate recognised in Germany if you choose to get married somewhere else.
The short answer is yes. If you have all the correct, authentic paperwork, your marriage will be valid and legal in Germany. In fact, by German law, it is not even legally required for a marriage which was conducted abroad be registered in Germany. Providing that your marriage was legal in the country where you were wed, was conducted by an authorised person, and you were two consenting adults, it will be considered legal. This means you don’t have to register your marriage, although there are certainly some benefits in doing so.
In some countries (such as the USA and Canada) you may only be given a provisional certificate, known as a summary marriage certificate, following the wedding ceremony. You must then go to the local authority to obtain all the necessary paperwork. Note that officials at German embassies and consulates no longer solemnize marriages.
You will need to make an appointment and go to your local registry office (known as a Standesamt). Bring your birth certificates, marriage certificate and your passports or German identity cards. Officials will check the authenticity of the document, and in some cases (depending on where you married) you may also be asked for an Apostille. This is an official government certificate that is issued to allow documents to be recognised in another country.
If your marriage certificate is in another language, it will need to be translated by a certified translator. It’s best to have this translation done in Germany, as the office may not accept a translation done outside of the country. Other documents you may be asked for include your Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis (naturalisation certificate), copies of any previous marriage certificates and the subsequent divorce decrees. You may also be required to have your birth certificate translated if it is in another language. It is always best to check with your local Standesamt the exact documents they will want you to bring.
The Standesamt will charge a fee of around €80 to €120, which you must pay to them directly. Processing times can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the case, so be prepared to wait a while. You will need to go to the Standesamt in the area where you are a resident. However, if neither you nor your spouse has a residence, you can go to the one in Berlin.
We hope you found this article on registering your marriage in Germany helpful. Support among the expat community is vital to helping others thrive, so we are committed to bringing you the most up to date information and creating content that benefits you.
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