Marriage Registration

Before you can get married, you must register the marriage. In the past, it was also said that "order the contingent". The spouses should register the intended marriage personally with the registry office where one of the spouses has his domicile or habitual residence.

To speed up the procedure, you can send the registry office both your desired date for the marriage and the data required for the examination of marital capacity by prior registration.

The place where you register the marriage does not have to be the place where your marriage is to be concluded. In principle, you can conclude your marriage at any registry office in Germany.

The civil marriage and a church wedding are independent of each other.

No witnesses need to be present at the civil marriage. However, if you wish, you can designate one or two people as witnesses.

Whether you want to have a common or separate surname in the marriage can be determined at the time of the marriage or at a later date.

1. If you have German nationality and enter into your first marriage:

  • valid identity card or passport
  • Extended registration certificate from the registration authority (not older than four weeks)
  • if your birth has been certified in Germany:
    • certified extract from the (electronic) birth register or certified copy from the birth register (in paper form); from the registry office of the place of birth)
  • if your birth was certified abroad:
    • current birth certificate

2. If you were already married or in a civil partnership, you will also need:

  • marriage certificate and final divorce decree, or
  • evidence of the establishment and dissolution of the civil partnership, or
  • if your former partner has died in the meantime, the marriage certificate or proof of the establishment of the civil partnership as well as the death certificate of the former partner

If your divorce took place abroad, you should inquire in advance at the registry office whether a recognition procedure is necessary. Please bring with you:

  • all marriage certificates
  • all final divorce decrees (with facts and reasons for decision)
  • Complete translation by a sworn translator of documents in Germany

3. If you have children with your future spouse, you will also need:

  • Birth certificates of the children

4. For a partner from abroad, the following are required:

  • valid identity card/passport or other proof of identification
  • Proof of nationality, if this does not result from the identity card or passport
  • Extended registration certificate from the registration authority (not older than four weeks)
  • Birth certificate
  • Certificate of marital capacity

For partners from countries where certificates of marital capacity are not issued, it is advisable to consult the registry office on the exemption from the obligation to present a certificate of marital capacity. This is granted by the President of the Higher Regional Court. The registrar takes up the application and forwards it.

Foreign language documents:

For foreign-language documents, the registry office generally requires complete translations into the German language, prepared by a translator publicly appointed and sworn in in Germany.

Foreign documents often also require certification by the competent foreign authority as well as legalization by the German embassy or consulate in this state. In such a case, the registry office will draw your attention to this.

Further documents:

Under certain circumstances, the registry office may be able to request further documents, such as the naturalization certificate.


  • Majority 
    • Marriage may only be entered into after the age of majority (at the age of 18).
    • Minors cannot marry.
  • Marriage between relatives
    • Marriage between relatives in the direct line (for example, parents and their children) and between siblings and half-siblings is not permitted. In principle, this also applies if the relationship was established by adoption.
  • Double marriages
    • Double marriages may not be concluded in Germany. A previous marriage must have been dissolved by death, divorce or other final court judgment before a new marriage. The same applies if there is a civil partnership with a third person.
    • If a previous marriage was divorced abroad, the divorce must usually first be expressly recognized in Germany so that it becomes effective here. Exceptions to this principle apply above all to most EU countries. A previously established civil partnership must also be dissolved.

Related Links

  • §§ 11 ff Civil Status Act (PStG)
  • §§ 28 ff Civil Status Ordinance (PStV)
  • §§ 1303 ff. Civil Code (BGB)
  • §§ 1310 ff Civil Code (BGB)
  • In order to register the marriage, both partners (fiancées) usually visit the responsible registry office together.
  • If one of the two is prevented, the other can register the marriage alone. The registry office requires the written power of attorney of the prevented partner.
  • If the registry office does not find an obstacle to marriage, you will receive the notification that the marriage can be performed.

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