If you are a Belgian citizen, all changes to your marital status are governed by Belgian law. Belgian law will be applicable even if you live abroad.
If you live abroad, it is of the utmost importance that you inform your Belgian embassy or consulate of any change to your marital status.
Getting married abroad or in Belgium
If you want to get married in Belgium, you must contact the registrar of births, marriages and deaths in the municipality where you live.
In Belgium, marriage between two persons of the same sex is possible as long as one of the partners is Belgian or if his or her main residence has been in Belgium for more than three months.
If you want to get married abroad, you must contact the foreign authority who is to officiate at your wedding.
Which legal system is applicable?
For each marriage partner, the basic marital framework is governed by the laws of the country of which he or she is a citizen at the time the marriage is contracted.
If you are a Belgian citizen and you want to get married abroad, the basic framework for marriage will be dictated by Belgian law for your part. Essentially, this means that you must be at least 18 years of age, not be married or no longer be married, and consent to the marriage.
The laws of the country of which your future spouse is a citizen will determine the basic marital framework applicable to him or her.
The official formalities for contracting the wedding are laid down by the laws of the country where the wedding takes place.
Your marriage will only be valid in Belgium if both the basic framework and the official formalities have been complied with.
Which documents do I need to submit in order to marry abroad?
To find out which documents you need to prepare in order to get married abroad, it is advised to make contact, in Belgium, with the embassy or consulate of the country where you intend to marry. You can also obtain information on this subject via your future spouse from the local authorities who will officiate at the wedding.
In some countries, in order to officiate at a wedding the local authorities require that you produce a certificate stating that there is no reason why the wedding should not take place. This document is issued by the Belgian embassy or consulate upon presentation of your birth certificate and an extract from the population register detailing your home address, nationality and marital status. These documents, which are issued by the Belgian authorities and must be shown to the Belgian embassy or consulate, not to the local authorities, do not need to be legalised. They must be originals dated within the previous six months.
It is strongly advised that you contact the Belgian embassy or consulate before you leave.
In some countries the local authorities request an affidavit of foreign law detailing the provisions for marriage contained in the Belgian Civil Code. You can obtain this affidavit from the Federal Public Service Justice, Direction générale de la législation et des Libertés et Droits fondamentaux, Service Droit de la Famille, Boulevard de Waterloo 115, 1000 Brussels (tel.: +32 (0)2 542 6511, email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
In some countries the authorities will request additional certificates, for example a certificate of no criminal record and/or a medical certificate.
Must a foreign marriage certificate be entered in the Belgian registers?
Your foreign marriage certificate may be entered into the Belgian registers. You can find more information on this topic in the Registration Certificates section under Services/Registry.
Can we obtain a marriage booklet if we marry abroad?
You can find more information on this topic in the Registration Certificates section under Services/Registry.
Can my foreign partner set up residence in Belgium?
You will find all the necessary information in the Visa for Belgium section under the Travel heading.
Does my foreign partner become a Belgian citizen through marriage?
Marriage to a Belgian citizen does not have a direct influence on your foreign partner’s nationality. He or she may, however, request Belgian nationality after the wedding.
For more information on this topic, please visit:
- Family law and Civil Status department of our Federal Public Service
- The Belgian embassy or consulate for your main place of residence abroad