Many couples consider their wedding day to be the most beautiful day of their lives. However, it is also a highly official event. Before you can walk down the aisle of a church, you have to get married in a civil wedding ceremony. In Germany, the official secular marriage certificate is a binding prerequisite in order to marry in a church. On this page you will find all of the necessary information on the documents that are required, the order of events, and obstacles you are likely to encounter when it comes to marriage in Germany. Moreover, you will learn about situations for which you may need a wedding interpreter or translator.
Compile all relevant documents for marriage notification
Before you register for marriage at the registry office (Standesamt) in your place of residence, make sure that you have all of the required documents at hand. Should you lack any documents, be sure to request them in sufficient time before your appointment. The following documents are required if you want to register for civil marriage:
- ID or passport
- Residence permit
- Birth certificate
Depending on your personal situation, the registry office can request the following documents:
- Divorce certificate or death certificate
- Certificate of parentage for mutual children
- Statement of parental consent (if a party is under 18)
- Certificate of no impediment to marriage
The certificate of no impediment is particularly important for marriages between foreign nationals in Germany. This certificate can only be requested and issued by the consulate of the home country. It verifies that the marriage can be accepted without reservation.
Please make sure to have all relevant documents in German. If the documents were issued in a language other than German, then they must be accompanied by a certified translation. The registry office only accepts translations by a certified German translator. Before your appointment at the registration office, ask which documents are required and whether they have to be accompanied by a certified translation.
Important information when giving notice at the registry office
In order to register for marriage, you have to make an appointment with the registry office in your place of residence. This appointment can take place up to 6 months before the marriage. It is recommended that both the bride and the groom are present in person. In order to finalise the notification, you need a signed authorisation if one party is missing.
At the beginning of the appointment, the registrar checks if the documents are correct and if the couple is fit for marriage. Afterwards, the registrar informs the couple about their options on keeping their surname or adopting their partner’s surname. In Germany, it is common practice for women to adopt their husband’s name - but this is based on your personal preference. It is recommended to think about which surname you want bear, since you have to decide this when giving notification. At the end of the appointment, the registrar repeats the record, which then has to be confirmed or corrected. The whole procedure lasts for about an hour. If one of the bridal couple does not understand the German language, an interpreter orally translates the notification before it is signed.