Marriage registration in Germany

Marriage. Such a beautiful word to say but so difficult to commit to as well. Numerous are the hardships a marriage has to endure. However, perhaps none of them is as difficult as having your marriage recognized in Germany.

This post aims at clarifying exactly how you can do that, and what documents you will need to achieve marriage registration in Germany.

It isn’t actually that hard, but if you don’t know the system, it feels really daunting. Coming from the experience of being an American marrying another American in Copenhagen, here are some tips on how to go out getting your marriage recognized without feeling completely deflated.

Before starting the process in Germany

You have settled on staying in Germany for a while and now decide that you and your non-German partner don’t want to go through the German system for getting married. This because you’ve heard the paperwork is so difficult that even Germans go elsewhere to get married. For this you have 2 options.

You can decide to fly to Copenhagen, Malta, or any of the countries (particularly Denmark) that offer an international marriage license. This document is de-facto recognized by German authorities, without the need for additional documentation.

If you tie the knot in some other country however, you will need the Apostille.

What is the Apostille?

It’s an international convention for official documents so they can be recognized by other countries than where it was produced. This is a stamp that sometimes Germany requires from marriage certificates from other countries in order to recognize the married in Germany.
Again, it’s not always needed. For example: if your international marriage license is from Denmark, and you are both Americans, or one of you is German, you will NOT need an Apostille.

As for citizens from EU countries or other countries, or if your marriage license comes from a non-EU country, it is a good bet that you will need the Apostille. To get this, you can go to the city hall of where you were married and most likely get the stamp there. Depending on the country it might also be the local parish or other entity. This page from the German foreign ministry clears up what is needed based on which country your marriage certificate comes from.

The process to marriage registration in Germany

1- Go to the Bürgeramt

Once you have the right certificate (and stamp if applicable), ready to get recognized in Germany, you will need to make an appointment or walk-in to the Bürgeramt in your respective neighbourhood.

When we made an appointment online to get our Eheschließung recognized, it kept sending us to the Standesamt websites to make an appointment, which resulted in waiting for an hour at the Standesamt to learn we were in the wrong place. (This was Berlin however, results may vary in other cities).

Don’t let the internet confuse you, you do not need to go to the Standesamt for the recognition, you need to go to the Bürgeramt (again, check in other cities). It is still not clear how to make an appointment online for this, so your best bet is to go to your Bürgeramt and try to get it done that day. If not possible, they can walk you through how to make an appointment.

We thought there must be specific places that allow this type of recognition to happen, but the best way to find that out is to just go to your Bürgeramt and ask if it’s the right place you can get your “Anerkennung der Eheschließung.”

2- Bring the right documents

Bring with you:

  • Your international marriage license (and the Apostille depending on your case).
  • A translated version of your birth certificates. Depending on your country, this can either be obtained directly from your home country, in the form of a international certificate, or it will need to be translated to a certified translation (more about this here).
  • Meldebescheinigung.
  • Passports.

If you are coming with your certificate from Denmark specifically, they may not ask for anything other than your passports and your marriage certificate, but as we have learned after living with German bureaucracy for a couple years, it’s always good to be prepared.

In doubt for Berlin, you can check this page which lists all the documents that might be required. For other cities, try to google “Nachbeurkundung einer Eheschließung im Ausland [city name]” to get to the city portal.

3- Pay the fee

After they fill out your German recognition for your marriage, they will ask if you want to pay for the copy of it. We did, and it was 10 euro. If your certificate is from somewhere like Malta, it may be slightly more.

Depending on which Bürgeramt you go to, it may also only accept EC cards, so if you are one of those N26ers, may be worth borrowing a friends EC Card. Again here, fees may vary from city to city.

Please note that paying the fee might not be the end of the process. It does happen that the Bürgeramt asks for additional documents to finish the process.

All done, what now?

After getting your marriage recognized in the German system that you will receive a letter in the mail with your new Tax ID number for you and your spouse as a married couple. Congratulations, you can now change tax class and maybe earn a little more every month depending on your case. More info how about to do that here.

Ultimately, the process of marriage recognition in Germany wasn’t nearly as complicated as it ended up being. Not knowing how things work is really difficult and debilitating and took much longer than it should have. Hopefully this helps people going through similar situations feel a little more prepared for the process. Good luck and feel free to ask questions in the comments.

This post was originally written by Lauren Piper, an American living in Berlin, based on her experience. It was edited by Bastien Allibert (SiB’s Editor) for clarity.

Source: 1, 2,


  • Reply Nara 14/09/2020 at 12:28

    Hi ,

    First of all thank you for a detailed information.

    I have an additional questions please: My marriage certificate is with Apostille but not translated into German. Should I have it translated by a certified translator?

    Thank you,

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 15/09/2020 at 13:19

      Hey Nara. Yes.

  • Reply Lu 28/08/2020 at 19:34

    hello! I also have a question… I’m married and everything is fine about the visa…but do we need to be registered in the same flat? we still together but decided live separated. is that a problem? thanks!!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 02/09/2020 at 09:53

      Hey Lu. No, it’s not a requirement to live at the same address.

  • Reply Eeva 27/08/2020 at 14:59

    Hi, I would have one question regarding this. I and my husband has been married for many years (married in Italy, I come from Finland and he from Italy). My husband has been working and living two years in Berlin (tax class 1) while I was working in another country. Now I moved to the same residence in Berlin and started working here. Do we have to registrate our marriage to be able to go to tax class category 4 or does this happen once I have the residence here automatically? Thank you already in advance!

  • Reply Mark 25/08/2020 at 09:35

    Quick question.. my partner and I are both foreigners. I’m already based in Berlin and my partner is still in Singapore. We plan to get married in Denmark (hopefully, once the borders open) so I can get my partner through via the Family Reunification visa.
    My question is – does the certificate of marriage from Denmark needs to be with apostille?
    Looking forward to your feedback. Thank you!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 25/08/2020 at 10:43

      Hey Mark. As a rule, a bilateral agreement makes the Danish certificate valid without an Apostille, as confirmed here again with this source. However, this other source says you might need it to create a family book, change maiden names or if you need to go back to an non-EU country to prepare documents for a family reunion.

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.