In Germany marriage may only be contracted before a registrar. A religious ceremony is optional. This instructional pamphlet conveys general information only. Please contact the appropriate registrar's office (“Standesamt”) for detailed information. Applications should be filed with the registrar's office in Germany where either party has his or her residence. If neither party has a residence in the Federal Republic of Germany, the registrar's office has to be contacted, where the marriage should take place.
Documents to submit
The appropriate civil registrar’s office in Germany provides information on the required documents. It is advisable to contact the registrar's office well in advance to make sure that you can be married on the intended date. The registrar's office will answer any further questions which may arise. Only the information provided by the registrar’s office is binding in the individual case.
Typically both fiancés are required to submit the following documents to the registrar:
- Certified true copy of identification document with photograph (e.g. passport, identity Card)
- Birth certificate (not older than 6 months) in original or as certified true copy showing parents' names. A translation might be required. A baptismal certificate is not acceptable. Certificate of Naturalization must also be exhibited if applicant has been naturalized.
- If widowed, original death certificate or certified copy of deceased spouse. A translation might be required.
- If divorced, a certified copy of the divorce decree accompanied by a translation into German made by a certified translator.
- If the previous marriage was dissolved by a court other than a German court, the divorce decree might have to be approved by the appropriate German federal-state administration of justice department.
- If one of the fiancés is a minor, a statement executed by a legal representative, i.e. father and mother or guardian, before a notary public, giving consent in accordance with the laws of the individual's country. Since some German States require a special form of consent, the appropriate registrar should be contacted for detailed Information.
- All persons not registered in Germany but marrying there require an "Ehefähigkeitszeugnis", which is a Certificate of no impediment to marriage, stating that they are legally free to marry. Under certain conditions, US citizens may obtain such a certificate from US missions in Germany, please see the US Embassy's Website.
- In case the civil registrar’s office requires an affidavit ("eidesstattliche Versicherung") stating that the applicant is unmarried, it can be taken at the competent German Mission in the US. Please contact your German mission in advance. Consulate Finder
Please note that the registrar's office might request that all foreign public documents be presented with an additional Apostille
If you and your future spouse intend to establish a joint residence in Germany, please familiarize yourself with the rules for getting a Residence Permit