If you've just set a date for your wedding and want to get married in Germany, this can be an exciting time for the two of you. Congratulations and much happiness as you begin your lifetime journey together!
Don't let the marriage license laws of Germany put a dent in your wedding plans. Here's what you need to know and what documents to bring with you before you apply for a German marriage license. We recommend getting this legal aspect of your wedding out of the way at least 9 weeks before your wedding date.
The rules and regulations for U.S. citizens getting married in Germany can be found on the U.S. Embassy & Consulates site, here.
As you work on your plans to get married in Germany, make sure you understand the requirements and marriage regulations. Requirements may vary as each locale in Germany could have their own requirements.
You will need to show your passport and a recently certified copy of your birth certificate along with a certificate of no impediment or Certificate of Free Status to marriage or a document from your home embassy that confirms you are eligible to marry.
Baptismal certificates will not be accepted as a form of identification.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, required documents vary from case to case and what The Standesamt (registrar's office) requires. Because of the uncertainty about documents, it is required that you make an appointment with The Standesamt to discuss what will be required from you.
In addition, the U.S. Embassy states that all foreigners marrying in Germany require an “Ehefähigkeitszeugnis” which is a Certificate of Free Status stating that you are legally free to marry. This document may be obtained by making an appointment for a notarial service at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin or at the Consulate General in Frankfurt.
Germany requires that you have the Apostille with all your documents. For an explanation and an example of an Apostille, visit the U.S. Embassy "Apostille Information" site, here. We recommend that all documentation that you provide is translated into the German language and the translation be made by a certified German translator. Translated documents should not be older than three months.
The U.S. Consulate site states that you may be required to show a medical certificate showing blood test results. This appears related to your resident state/country requirements. If your state/country of residence requires a health certificate, you may need to provide one.
It used to be that a marriage in Germany was legal only if it was conducted in a registrar's ("Standesamt") office. You could have a religious ceremony later. However, since January 1, 2009, couples in Germany can get married in a church wedding without having to have a civil ceremony first. However,
"...the new rules essentially mean Christian weddings won’t carry the same weight as civil ones. Legal experts have pointed out such couples will not have rights to inheritance or alimony, nor will they be able to take advantage of tax benefits for married people."
If you are planning on having a church wedding in Germany, you will need to provide your Baptismal Certificates and Certificates of Dismission which allow you to get married outside your home parish if you are Catholic.
If previously married, you will need to show translated proof of termination of any previous marriages. If divorced, your copy of the final decree must show the seal of the court, and dated after the end of the interlocutory period. If you bring the original decree showing date filed, you will need a certificate from the court stating that no appeal was filed. If widowed, you will have to provide the original death certificate or a certified copy of your deceased spouse.
If your own country/state of residence allows you to marry, you will need to have the notarized consent/permission of your parents. Some German States may require additional forms to be completed.
Same-Sex Registered Partnerships:
Yes. According to a law that went into effect on August 1, 2001, gay couples in Germany have most of the rights that heterosexual spouses have in areas like inheritance and health insurance. They do not receive the marriage tax benefit. In 2004, additional rights were granted to gay couples. Foreign partners of German gays and lesbians are allowed to join them in Germany.
Some locales in Germany may require a six-week notice prior to your wedding date.
Fees vary. Fees for non-residents can be high.
This varies, with generally two witnesses to your wedding required.
Registrar (Standesamt) located in the office of the Mayor (Rathaus).
PLEASE NOTE: Marriage license requirements often change. The above information is for guidance only and should not be regarded as legal advice. It is important that you verify all information with the local marriage license office before making any wedding or travel plans.