Are marriages solemnized online in the United States of America legally valid in Germany?
According to Art. 34 of the Civil Status Act – Personenstandsgesetz (PStG), if a German has concluded the marriage abroad, the marriage may be recorded in the marriage register upon request.
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In Germany, there is no general recognition of a foreign marriage. Every single authority has to check the case itself.
The basic rule is that a marriage entered into abroad will be recognized in Germany provided that all legal requirements relating to marriage of that foreign country have been fulfilled. In addition, the bride and the groom must meet all legal capacity requirements for marriage under the law of their home countries (for example, they must be single, must be in legal age and not closely related to one another).
Recognition of marriage certificate
It is recommended to process an Apostille for your marriage certificate before submitting your document to German authority in Germany. The apostille is an official document confirming the authenticity of the marriage certificate.
For further details, contact the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Los Angeles for information about apostille.
Registration of marriage in Germany – the procedure
German law does not require the registration of marriage done abroad of a German national with a German authority. However, you are considered officially married in Germany only after you register your marriage in Germany. The marriage may be registered upon request at the competent Registrar´s Office (“Standesamt”) in Germany.
- Where to register the marriage
The Registrar´s Office responsible for processing the application is the German national´s current or last place of residency in Germany.
List of Registrar´s Office (Standesamt) : Standesämter der Bundesrepublik Deutschland nach Bundesländern (service-standesamt.de)
To speed up the processing time, it is highly recommended that you contact the proper Registrar’s Office in Germany prior to submitting your application and check if you need to schedule an appointment to submit the requirements or do you need to send the request for registration of marriage by mail. This also includes inquiring about the possibility of sending the documents directly to the Registrar’s Office without involving the German Missions.
ATTENTION: The requirements and the process of submission of the documents can be different significantly depending on the individual Registrar´s Office.
If you would like to directly submit the application to the Registrar’s Office in Germany, please, send in one completed application form, including the documents mentioned below, as notarized copies or in original form. Copies may be notarized by the German Consular Mission or a Notary Public. For details, see information leaflet.
If you would like to submit your application through the German Consular Mission, please consult directly the German Consular Mission of the groom or bride´s place of residence and present two completed application forms as well as the documents mentioned below as notarized copies (plus one set of simple copies), or in the original (plus 2 sets of simple copies):
List of German Consular Mission: The German Missions Abroad – Federal Foreign Office (auswaertiges-amt.de)
List of requirements
- marriage certificate with apostille (issued by the “Registrar/Clerk of the Court”)
- passportsof the husband and wife
- birth certificatesof the husband and wife
- certificate of civil status before marriage of the husband and wife
- Registration from Germany of the German national (“Anmeldebescheinigung”)
- if applicable, German Naturalization Certificate or “Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis”
- if applicable, divorce decree or death certificate
- if applicable, deregistration from Germany of the German national (“Abmeldebescheinigung”)
NOTE: The Registrar’s Offices in Germany have the right to request apostilles and translations of all foreign documents. It is the decision of the competent Registrar’s Office whether the documents are accepted with or without an apostille and translation. To search for a certified translator, you can visit justiz-dolmetscher.de or bdue.de.
Fees for registration of your marriage in Germany
The fees for registration of marriage and the issuance of the marriage certificate(s) are set by each German Federal State and may be different in each city.
The Registrar’s Office will send you a payment request after it received your application.
In most cases, the following fees apply.
NOTE: This is for your guide only.
Registration of marriage
(regardless of the outcome of the processing)
Additional fees if foreign law is applied
Issuance of marriage certificate
Request for additional copy
Receiving the marriage certificate from Germany
The processing times depends on the Registrar’s Office in charge and varies significantly from city to city.