Marrying abroad

Conditions

 

logo Your EuropeA marriage concluded abroad is valid in Belgium:

  • if you meet Belgian legal conditions allowing you to marry
  • if the marriage has been carried out in accordance with the usual forms in the country concerned

If you are Belgian, any changes to your civil status are governed by Belgian law. Belgian law will be applied even if you reside abroad.

What documents do you need?

To find out what documents you have to submit in order to marry abroad, you have to contact the non-national authority which is going to carry out the marriage.

Declaration of change of civil status

Belgians residing abroad have to provide notification of any change in their civil status to the Consulate or the Consulate General of Belgium responsible for their domicile abroad.

The procedures for entry in the consular population registers at a Consulate or Consulate General of Belgium abroad are specified on the Federal Public Service [SPF] for Foreign Affairs website.

The Consulate or Consulate General ensures that the new civil status is entered in the National Register.

Transcribing a non-national marriage certificate to Belgium

You are advised to have your non-national marriage certificate transcribed to the Belgian civil status registers. This is not obligatory, but it is easier and less expensive to obtain copies of or extracts from the certificate later on.

If the marriage certificate has not been transcribed to Belgium, you have to request extracts or copies from abroad which is not always easy and can often prove expensive.

To be transcribed to Belgium, the non-national marriage certificate first has to be recognised.

The transcription can take place:

  • in the municipality in which one of the future spouses was last entered in the population registers, the register of non-nationals or the register of pending cases
  • in the municipality where up to a second-degree relative of one of the future spouses is registered
  • in the municipality of the place of birth of one of the future spouses
  • Otherwise, transcription may be carried out in the municipality of Brussels.

The registrar in the municipality concerned decides whether the copy of the marriage certificate (legalised and translated by a sworn translator if necessary) meets the conditions laid down for transcription.

Disclosing a non-national marriage certificate in Belgium

Several conditions have to be met for a non-national marriage certificate to be recognised in Belgium:

  • The non-national civil status certificate has to be drawn up by the relevant non-national local authority in the usual form in that country.
  • Certain non-national certificates have to be legalised.
  • Certificates which have been written in a foreign language have to be translated by a sworn translator into the language of the Belgian municipality where the certificate is transcribed (into Dutch, French or German depending on the linguistic arrangements in the municipality).
  • You also have to have the signature of the non-national sworn translator legalised. In Belgium, a list of sworn translators may be obtained from the registry of the court of first instance.

For more information on this subject, you can also consult the FPS for Foreign Affairs website

Support service
SPF Justice – Information Unit
115 boulevard de Waterloo
1000 Brussels
+32 2 542 65 11
info@just.fgov.be

Authority responsible
FPS for Justice

Updated on 9 November 2020

 

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