Getting married abroad or in Belgium
You can get married in Belgium when:
- One of the future spouses at the time of the solemnisation of the marriage is Belgian.
- One of the future spouses at the time of the solemnisation of the marriage is domiciled in Belgium.
- One of the future spouses at the time of the solemnisation of the marriage has been domiciled in Belgium for over three months.
In Belgium, marriage between two persons of the same sex is possible as long as one of the partners is Belgian or has been habitually resident in Belgium for more than three months.
Where can I get married in Belgium?
The marriage can be solemnised by the Registrar of the municipality where one of the future spouses is domiciled. If neither spouse is domiciled in Belgium, or if the habitual residence of one of the spouses does not correspond to the place of residence, the marriage can be solemnised in the municipality of the habitual residence.
For Belgians living abroad who are not domiciled or habitually resident in Belgium, the marriage can be solemnised by the Registrar of the municipality which is:
- the most recent place of residence of one of the future spouses.
- the place of residence of a 1st or 2nd degree blood relative (grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, children and grandchildren) of one of the future spouses.
- the birthplace of one of the future spouses.
If none of these places are possible, then a Belgian who is not domiciled or habitually resident in Belgium can marry in the municipality of Brussels.
Getting married abroad
If you want to get married abroad, you must contact the foreign authority that will solemnise the marriage.
Which legal system is applicable?
For each future spouse, the basic conditions for the marriage are governed by the laws of the country of which he or she is a national at the time the marriage is contracted.
If you are Belgian and you want to get married abroad, the basic conditions for the marriage relating to you will be dictated by Belgian law. 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 national will determine the basic conditions for the marriage applicable to him or her.
The official formalities for solemnising the marriage are determined by the laws of the country where the wedding takes place.
Your marriage will only be valid in Belgium if both the basic conditions and the official formalities have been complied with.
What documents do I have to submit?
To find out which documents you need in order to get married abroad, you are advised to 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 directly from the local authorities that will solemnise the marriage.
In some countries, in order to solemnise a marriage the local authorities require a certificate stating that there is no reason why the marriage cannot take place. This document is issued by the Belgian consulate in the country where the marriage is to be solemnised. You are strongly advised to contact the Belgian consulate before you leave.
In some countries, the local authorities require 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: 02/542.65.11, email: firstname.lastname@example.org). In some countries the authorities will request additional certificates, for example a criminal record check and/or a medical certificate.
Is my marriage valid in Belgium?
A foreign marriage certificate may be recognised in Belgium if the basic conditions for marriage applicable in the country of which the spouses are nationals and the official formalities of the country where the marriage was solemnised have been respected.
Should a foreign marriage certificate be transcribed into the Belgian registers?
Your foreign marriage certificate can be transcribed into the civil status registers of a Belgian municipality. This makes it easy to obtain extracts or literal copies in Belgium.
You can find more information on this topic in the Registration Certificates section.
Can my foreign partner set up residence in Belgium?
You will find all the necessary information in the Visa for Belgium section.
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.
Please see the Nationality section for further information on this topic.
Further information can also be obtained by contacting:
- The Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs, Registry Service
- The Belgian consulate in your place of residence abroad