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).

It’s not always clear how to make an appointment online for this as well, so your best bet is to go to your Bürgeramt and try to get it done that day. For Berliners, here is the relevant link to try to book an appointment. 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,

33 Comments

  • Reply Amnah 22/11/2020 at 03:39

    Hello. Thank you for the information, I do have another question please. 3 months back me and my husband got married in a NON-EU country and I moved to Germany on a blue card. He is still back home and will take around a year to join me here in Germany. We both are NON-EU citizens. In this case, can I still register my marriage in Germany to change my tax class?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 24/11/2020 at 09:55

      Hey Amnah. This bit in the dedicated post about changing tax classes will answer that.

  • Reply Andrés 19/11/2020 at 17:10

    Hi Bastien!

    I’m a national from Chile, my wife is from Germany and we got married in Chile. Once we register our mariege in Germany, what is the economic regime that we get? Do we get one by default? Do we have to chose one? Do we have to register the exact same one we chose when marrying in Chile?

    Thanks!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 20/11/2020 at 09:57

      Hey Andres. Not sure what you mean here, can you elaborate? Are you talking about matrimonial regime?

  • Reply Jess 27/10/2020 at 15:22

    Hi there! I have a question regarding the documents needed at the Bürgeramt. My husband and I were married in the US and want it recognised in Germany. When you say “international marriage certificate”, is this just our normal certificate from the US (we also have an apostille), or something specific we need to get? We asked the Bürgeramt and they weren’t sure if we needed a separate certificate from the Standesamt. So we asked the Standesamt and they told us we couldn’t register for a certificate there as neither of us is German. So now we’re both confused as to what we really need to bring. Any help is much appreciated!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 28/10/2020 at 14:00

      Hey Jess. I think the Apostille would do it, as per this source. In case, you can call your local embassy/consulate.

  • Reply Emma 26/10/2020 at 17:40

    Hi,
    My husband and I are married couple since before moving here in Berlin, my husband is working, blue card holder but his tax class is I (He’s married, but I am not sure why his tax class is not IV). Our kids and me here under the blue card family reunification.
    We would like to change to tax class III/V as I am not working. Do we need to re-register our marriage to get recognize in Germany in order to eligible as tax class IV?
    When I want to fill in for the tax class changing form, there was no option to put current tax class I in “Bisherige Steuerklassenkombination (Antragstellende Person/Ehegatte, Lebenspartner[in])”.
    Thank you in advance.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 28/10/2020 at 16:10

      Hey Emma. Yes, you first need to clarify with the Finanzamt why you are not in a 4/4 situation to start with, then do the switch.

  • Reply Avwunudje Benedicta 16/10/2020 at 10:18

    We want to marry in Denmark, we live here in Germany, how do we go about it

  • Reply Bazigh Khan 13/10/2020 at 22:54

    My Wife is Czech Republic citizen and I am a Non-EU citizen living in Germany, and we are married in Denmark, so is it possible to apply for Family Reunion Visa, as my my current visa Status is study long term, while Changing the Ausländeramt? Say for example from Düsseldorf to Köln?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 14/10/2020 at 15:27

      Hey Bazigh. This goes beyond information on marriage registration and it is more about immigration issues. Can’t reliably help you there. I’d advise you to call this official hotline and ask this question there isntead.

  • Reply Reza 13/10/2020 at 21:31

    Hi Bastien,

    I have a question to you about our situation.I and my girlfriend both are living in Berlin.We are Bangladeshi nationals.We have completed our Master degree from Germany after that we have got 18 months for looking study related job.Luckily I found a job on my field and I have converted my resident permit to job visa.Firstly I have got residence permit for 6 months under 18 B ABS.1 AUFE because they like to observe that I will do that job or not.My girlfriend she still searching for job and at this moment,now she has 5 months valid resident permit only to find job.My question is ,If we get marry in Denmark before her residence permit has been finished,Will she get spouse visa and stay in Germany?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 14/10/2020 at 15:25

      Hey Reza. This goes beyond information on marriage registration and it is more about immigration issues. Can’t reliably help you there. I’d advise you to call this official hotline and ask this question there isntead.

  • Reply L Jensen 08/10/2020 at 12:39

    Hi, thanks for the helpful info. I had a question about how to register Danish marriage in Germany when one of us does not live in Germany full time. We are both EU citizens (I am Danish and my husband Spanish). I work in Germany for many years but my husband works in Norway. We would just like to officialise our marriage in Germany, however probably confusing for German officials that we do not live at the same address. Do we both need to go to the Burgeramt, or is it sufficient that I go?

    I am Swedish working in Germany for many years. My husband is

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 09/10/2020 at 09:29

      Hey there. I don’t know where you plan to register your marriage, on the page dedicated to this topic for Berlin, it doesn’t state that partners need to be living at the same address. However, it does state that a passport or ID card should be presented at the Standesamt (not a copy), so I suppose it’s easier if you are both there.

      • Reply Jannatul Ferdous 15/10/2020 at 12:22

        Hlw, I have a job seeker visa,due to Corona I couldn’t manage any job in my field still.But I have visa up to March if I go to the visa office, due to the Corona is there any possibility to extend my visa to seek for job?

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 16/10/2020 at 14:28

          Hey Jannatul. The visa office has been more lenient and granting extensions more easily in the past few months because of Corona lockdown. I don’t know that would still be the case now. I#d suggest to call this hotline to ask directly.

  • Reply keremcan baser 06/10/2020 at 12:00

    The registration location; standesamt vs. Burgeramt issue is really confusing. They still give appointment in standesamt in this link: https://service.berlin.de/dienstleistung/318966/

  • Reply Shameka T 03/10/2020 at 07:29

    Hi, I got married in Denmark two years ago. I am still living in the US and my Husband is living in Germany but originally from The Gambia. He has his residency in Germany. Is it required that we register our marriage in Germany? I assumed that once we married in Denmark, being that it is apart of the EU it was already recognized and registered… is this not true?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 05/10/2020 at 09:59

      Hey Shameka. That is not true. Both countries being part of the EU make the registration process a lot easier and streamlined, but being married in one country does not make it official EU wide.

  • Reply Kateryna 30/09/2020 at 08:58

    Hi, I have a question.
    My future husband German and I’m from Ukraine, so I got all documents ready for marriage in Germany, now I’m wondering if I can married in Germany with tourist visa, if yes, what the next should I do to get permanent visa.
    Thanks in advance.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 30/09/2020 at 14:04

      Hey Kateryna. Once you are married here, you can apply for a reunification visa. More info here.

  • 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,
    Natia

    • 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

    Hi,
    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.

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