Getting married in Switzerland

mariage certificate
Updated 2018-08-16 15:11

Dreaming of a destination wedding in Switzerland? Thankfully there are countless wedding planning services that can help you with that – but first, you need to understand the formalities. In Switzerland, marriages are recognised through the civil registry office: both parties must be at least 18 years old, and both have a right to divorce.

The process

More and more expats choose to get married in Switzerland. Since the '80s, the number of marriages where at least one member is an expat has been steadily rising. Today, 52% of all marriages conducted in Switzerland involve at least one expat spouse. It's important to note that marrying a Swiss citizen does not affect your nationality, nor you are entitled to Swiss citizenship.

The formalities are not complicated if you start well in advance. First, you have to contact the nearest Civil Status Office to your place of residence, where officers will inform you of the required documents and conditions attached. If you don't have a Swiss citizenship, you will have to prove that you are in the country legally (i.e. produce your permit), in order to get permission to marry. Moreover, you will not be authorised to get married if you are already bound by marriage or in a registered cohabitation, if you are deemed incapable of discernment and if you have kinship ties with your partner. White weddings are also prohibited.

Good to know:

To this day, Switzerland does not allow same-sex marriage (the Swiss parliament is due to decide whether they'll change that stance by 2019). Same-sex civil partnerships are recognised though, so if you've already gotten married outside Switzerland with your partner, you will technically be granted the same rights as a married couple when it comes to filing a common tax declaration, as well as pension and inheritance issues. Switzerland does not recognise the right of same-sex couples to adopt.

Provided that you are within the current legal parameters, you should then proceed to the nearest Civil Status Office to fill in a "Preparation of marriage" form. You also have to confirm to the Civil Status officer that your application complies with existing regulations. Once these formalities have been duly completed, the officer will review your application to determine if you are eligible for marriage in Switzerland. A confirmation letter will then be sent to you. After you have received your confirmation letter, you should get married within 10-90 days.

Civil marriages can be celebrated at the Civil Status Office or at another location of your choice. You will require two witnesses at the civil marriage, who will have to sign the marriage register. Thereafter, you will receive a family certificate. Fees of some CHF 300-400 (â¬258-â¬344) apply if you are getting married at the Civil Status Office. Extra fees apply if you wish to get married somewhere else. If you wish to have a religious ceremony after your civil one, that can be arranged, but you should know that religious marriage is authorised only after the solemnisation of the civil marriage.

Good to know:

Women have to change their name on all official documents and wherever it applies after getting married: passport, identity card, driver's license, bank cards, credit cards, etc. They also have to inform their employer.

Useful links:

The Swiss Confederation official website
Civil Status Offices

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.