With all of the pleasing reasons why say “I do” to a foreigner is whimsical fun, there are some certain obstacles as well when it comes to preparation of the documents for marriage purposes. This information is provided to American citizens who intend to get married in a European country. The information also covers cases where an Americans who intend to marry a citizen or resident of the European country. It is precise according to the EU current legal regulations, but may be subject to change. The Apoling Solutions, Inc. therefore not assume legal responsibility for the information herein. U.S. citizens seeking detailed advice on marriage in Europe have to contact local authorities in the country where the marriage will be celebrated or the consulate of the country here, in the USA for more detailed information.
List of the documents you need to collect before leaving the U.S.
Pursuant to International law, all non-residents/non-citizens of the EU who would like to be united in marriage in a European country should present a document from their home country proving their present marital status, namely – Certificate of Non-Impediment, No-Marriage Record Certificate or Affidavit of Single Status. Since in there is no unified national registry in the U.S., no equivalent official document can be obtained from the U.S. Department of State. However, certain states (such as New York State or New Jersey for example) may issue a document confirming a person’s marital status, and it can be obtained from the City Clerk Office, Department of Health, Vital Statistics office or Treasurer Office, etc. Such document can be ordered by mail or in person. If you unable to visit the authority issuing No-marriage Record Certificates, you can appoint another person (a friend, a relative or a service provider) by giving him/her a Power of Attorney allowing to represent you before the officials; with a notarized authorization your agent will be able to visit proper office on your behalf and obtain the certificate in your name.
If in the state where you reside such document is unavailable, ask the notary public to produce an Affidavit of Single Status in English and in the language of the country where you marry.
Once you have the document we are speaking about in your hand, the next step which shall be completed is getting the document legalized by obtaining an apostille on it. A No-Marriage Record Certificate or Certificate of Non-Impediment are legalized in the issuing state while Affidavit of Single Status is legalized in the county and the Department of State in the state where the notary public is commissioned. Authenticating the document is a must. Otherwise it will be denied acceptance overseas.
- Birth Certificate: apostille or just a translation?
Another document, which most of the European and Latin America countries require for marriage purposes, is a Birth Certificate of a party who is non-citizen. Depending of internal regulations, some States accept a certified translation of the document and some require the document to be apostilled. Such countries as Italy, Belgium, France, Sweden, or Norway have very strict requirements, and translation into Italian, French, Swedish, Dutch, Flemish or Norwegian is not sufficient, even if such a translation is certified. Obtaining an apostille on your vital record accompanied by professional certified translations of every single page which is in English language is mandatory in these countries.
- Divorce Certificate, Judgment of Divorce or Divorce Decree
The European authorities and Civil Registries are aware of the difficulties in obtaining a document relating to marital status from the U.S. If no such document is available from your home state, neither the county clerk’s office nor Vital Statistics office would give you a written statement regarding the unavailability either. In this case, the European authorities may waive this requirement.
In addition, the following procedures should be considered if applicable:
- If were previously married you might be asked to present the evidence of termination of previous marriages (Judgment of Divorce, Divorce Decree or Certificate of Divorce) is compulsory in the form of a certified copy of the Judgment of Divorce or a certified copy of the record of death of the deceased spouse, obtained from the County Clerk Office or the Department of Vital Statistics.
- The officials in the European countries also require that the divorce decree be authenticated by the issuing agency and the Department of State. Some countries may also require that the divorce be confirmed by their internal bodies (for example, Sweden might ask you to validate your foreign divorce in the Swedish Court of Appeal (Hovrätten); thus, if you are marrying a Swedish citizen, contact Swedish Tax Authorities (Skatteverket) for more information, which may be reached via email or phone.
- If a minor – Parents’ or Guardians’ consent is required of an American citizen – a party to the marriage, who is a minor (under age 18), such consent must take the form of an affidavit executed by both parents, or by the minor’s guardian;
- If serving in the US armed forces – Members of the U.S. Armed Forces should check with their Commanding Officer regarding the necessity of permission to marry.
- A notarized copy of the U.S. citizen, translated into the language of the country where the marriage is to occur.
- Proof of Residency Certificate or other documents proving the residence in the U.S. are requested by Belgium marriage registration bodies, for example. Certificate of Residency, however, is issued just for the students in the most of the USA states. It entitles students to pay the resident tuition fee when attending a New York State community college outside of New York City rather than the higher, non-resident rate. Such certificates are unavailable for marriage purposes. In this case, you should consider presenting foreign authorities bank statements, utility bills or lease agreement, apostilled and translated from English, as proof of your residency. Another option is obtaining Form 6166 – Certification of U.S. Tax Residency. Nevertheless, it takes up to 4-6 months for the IRS to mail you the document.
Considering time needed for gathering necessary documents for marriage purposes, it is wise to plan your wedding at least 6-8 months ahead. Make sure to contact the consulates of the European countries or local authorities well in advance of your planned wedding to make sure you are in possession of required documents. With the rest – obtaining an apostille and translating them into a European language – Albanian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Flemish, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, etc. – we will gladly give you a hand.
Our certified linguists will handle every single document, reproduce its format and provide affidavit of accuracy while the Apoling’s notaries will offer you a valuable advice on what documents to prepare and how to arrange the it legalization. If you have any questions, we will be happy to answer them and get you completely prepared for the important life event.