Documentation and Requirements for Marriage

Find out about the legal requirements for getting married in Germany...

Germany insists on original or certified copies (not photocopies) of various documents. All of these must have been issued in the last six months. In the case of birth certificates this is likely to mean obtaining a new copy.

  • Birth certificate for both parties
  • Passport for both parties
  • If either party has previously been married they will be asked for a copy of the final divorce decree (or death certificate of the former spouse if widowed). Unfortunately, the German authorities are not always satisfied with a simple divorce decree and often insist that proof be supplied to the effect that the decree can no longer be contested. Normally this means contacting the court that granted the divorce and asking them to provide a statement
  • Anyone who has changed his or her name by deed poll will also be asked to provide documentation to support this
  • Certificate of Free Status or No Impediment (Ehefähigkeitszeugnis). Not every district requires this document, so check locally with the registry office. Embassies are often happy to assist their citizens with this by allowing them to swear an affidavit in front of a consular officer. There will usually be a charge for this service

For marriages where either the groom or the bride is not German, the documents are then sent to the Oberlandesgerichts Praesident who verifies the legal status of the couple. This office then sends everything back to the Standesamt and the couple may then get married (or set a date for the wedding).

Some other points to remember:

  • Original certificates and certified copies can sometimes be obtained via the relevant Embassy in Germany for a small fee
  • All official documents in a language other than German will have to be translated by a sworn interpreter. Embassies can provide details of approved translators
  • American citizens who are members of the US Armed Forces are advised to consult the Personal Services Battalion (PSB) for instructions on getting married in Germany
  • In some cases one or both parties may have to undergo a medical examination. Check this out locally