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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 habitually resident 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.
- or 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.
- or 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.
The Belgian embassies and consulates abroad are not authorized to perform a marriage.
Which legal system is applicable?
Basic conditions for marriageFor 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, no(t) (longer) be married or, as of 11/03/2023 no(t) (longer) be in a cohabiting relationship (in case you want to get married to a person other then the one you have a cohabiting relationship with) and consent to the marriage. Moreover, marriage between certain persons of the same family is prohibited.
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.
Formal conditions for marriage
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.
Which documents do I have to submit?
In order to obtain information regarding the documents you need to have a marriage performed abroad, you are advised to contact - in Belgium - the embassy or consulate of the country where you intend to get married.
You can also obtain that information directly, through your future spouse, from the local authorities which will perform the marriage.
In some countries, in order to get married, the local authorities require a certificate of non-impediment. This document has to be requested at the Belgian consulate in the country where the marriage is to be performed. You are strongly advised to contact that Belgian consulate before you travel to that country.
In some countries, the local authorities require an affidavit of foreign legislation, detailing the legal qualifications for marriage imposed by the Belgian Civil Code.
You can request 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
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.
Your foreign recognized marriage certificate, duly legalized or apostilled and translated if necessary, can be registered in the BAEC/DABS by the competent Belgian civil registrar ( your municipality of registration in Belgium, or failing this, the municipality of last registration, or, failing that, Brussels).
By doing so, you can then later on easily obtain copies or extracts. For more information on this, please consult the section Registration Certificates.
Can my foreign partner set up residence in Belgium?
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