To register either a marriage or a partnership in Switzerland or abroad, your main point of reference is the registry office in which you have decided to celebrate the marriage or conclude your partnership. It is normally this office that decides what documents are required to mark this civil status event.
Marriage and registered partnership
You are advised nonetheless to learn in advance about the formalities involved and the civil status documents that may have to be prepared prior to the celebration of a civil status event. These advance steps will facilitate matters when it comes to entering your marriage or registered partnership in the Swiss civil status register (Infostar). To register in the register Infostar, the documents listed on this webpage are to be submitted to the Swiss representation competent for the country where the celebration has taken place.
A marriage that has been legally celebrated abroad, and decisions or measures taken abroad with regard to a registered partnership, will normally be recognised in Switzerland (Federal Act on Private International Law (PIL SR 291)).
Marriage in Latvia/Lithuania/Estonia
The foreign spouse, living in Latvia/Lithuania/Estonia, needs to inquire with the Latvian/Lithuanian/Estonian authorities about the documents which are necessary in order to get married in Latvia/Lithuania/Estonia.
The Swiss spouse needs to inquire with the civil office of his place of origin, or with the cantonal civil office of the canton of his place of origin, about the documents that need to be submitted in order to have the marriage registered in the family book of his place of origin. It is the cantonal civil office that checks the documents, subsequently approves them and authorises the civil office of the place of origin to register the marriage.
Normally, the following documents are necessary in order to register a marriage, which took place outside of Switzerland:
- Marriage certificate, with Apostille
From the foreign spouse:
- Birth certificate, with Apostille
- Certificate of civil status (at the time of marriage), with Apostille, and
- if divorced: divorce decree with "legal binding" stamp of last marriage, with Apostille, or
- if widowed: death certificate of last spouse, with Apostille
- Proof of nationality. A copy of the passport is sufficient
- Certificate of residence (at the time of marriage), with Apostille
All documents (apart from the copy of the passport) must be submitted in original and must have been translated into one of the official Swiss languages by a notarised translator.
All documents will be sent to the authorities in Switzerland and will remain in their archives. They cannot be returned. We therefore recommend to have duplicates (no copies) made. The duplicates should not be older than six months.
From the Swiss spouse:
- Copy of the passport
- Copy of the certificate of personal civil status
Taking up Residency in Switzerland after Marriage in Latvia/Lithuania/Estonia
Foreign spouse with Latvian/Lithuanian/Estonian passport:
- No visa required. Taking up residency in Switzerland and immediate registration with the residents' registration office (within eight days).
Information and fact-sheets that are also available on the webpage of the Federal Office of Justice (FOJ)
If you plan to take up residence in Switzerland after marrying or registering a partnership, bear in mind that your foreign spouse or partner will need a residence permit and may require an entry visa. Please consult the Visa – Entry to and Residence in Switzerland section regarding an application to enter Switzerland for the purpose of family reunification.
If you are registered with a Swiss representation and have married or entered into a registered partnership in Switzerland you will need to report your change in civil status to the representation concerned so that the register of the Swiss Abroad can be updated. This will require submission of the following documents (as hard copy or in electronic form):
- photocopy of the Swiss marriage certificate, Swiss family record or Swiss registered partnership document;
- photocopy of the identity document of the foreign spouse or partner.
There is no fee for the registration in question.
If prior to the marriage or registered partnership your Swiss spouse or partner was not resident in the consular district of the Swiss representation, and plans to take up residence with you following the said civil status event, he or she will have to register in accordance with the application procedure described under the heading “Registration and change of address”.