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Planning a Wedding in Switzerland: A Comprehensive Guide

two wedding rings

Are you planning to tie the knot in Switzerland? If so, there are several procedures and formalities you need to be aware of. This guide aims to provide you with all the necessary information to ensure your wedding planning process is as smooth as possible.


Preparing for the Wedding

Getting married in Switzerland requires a preparation procedure. This is typically carried out at the Swiss Civil Registry Office of your choice or, if you reside abroad, at your Swiss representation abroad. It’s important to inform yourself about the necessary formalities well in advance.


If a person resides in Switzerland, the Civil Registry Office of their place of residence is responsible for conducting the preparation procedure. Make sure to inquire about the conditions, required documents, and necessary formalities at this office.

The bride and groom can initiate the procedure separately at different locations. However, a personal appearance is mandatory in all cases.

Since January 1, 2000, there is no longer a mandatory procedure in Switzerland for publishing a marriage announcement before the marriage can be closed by the competent civil status authority.


Procedure at the Swiss Representation

Beforehand, inquire at the representation whether an interpreter is necessary. Any additional costs for the interpreter will be at your expense.

The following documents must be personally presented to your Swiss representation:

  • Form: Application for the preparation of marriage (PDF, 2 pages, 167.9 kB, German)

And also, for Swiss citizens:

  • Original of the current certificate of residence

  • Valid passport or valid identity card


For foreign nationals:

  • Original birth certificate with parentage

  • Original document on the current civil status:

  • Certificate of celibacy

  • Divorce decree with legal force note

  • Document on the dissolution of the registered partnership with legal force note

  • Death certificate of the deceased spouse

  • Original of the current certificate of residence

  • Valid passport or valid identity card


If there is already an entry in the Swiss civil status register, certain documents may no longer be necessary.


For the person residing in Switzerland:

  • Copy of the current certificate of residence for Switzerland

  • Copy of the valid passport or the valid identity card


For any joint children who are not yet registered in the Swiss civil status register:

  • Original birth certificate with parentage

  • Original official confirmation of the child relationship or recognition of paternity

  • Original of the current certificate of residence

  • Valid passport or valid identity card


For any joint children who are registered in the Swiss civil status register:

  • Copy of the birth certificate

  • Copy of the valid passport or the valid identity card


In Germany, the following document replaces the certificate of celibacy and certificate of residence listed below for Swiss and German citizens:

  • Original “Extended registration certificate”. This must necessarily contain the following three details: marital status, nationality/ies, and place of residence before marriage, available at the residents’ registration office of the German place of residence.


If the foreign spouse or partner is not a German citizen, we ask you to contact us.


Fees

Please inquire directly at the representation for the current fees of your preparation procedure.

The original documents are intended for the competent civil status authority in Switzerland and must not be older than six months. They will not be returned. Photocopies are not accepted. If necessary, additional documents can be requested.

If a detailed examination of the foreign civil status documents by a trust lawyer of the Swiss representation is necessary, the resulting costs will be at your expense.


Family Name

After a marriage in Switzerland, the spouses retain their previous name, unless they have made a declaration with a view to a common family name.

Foreign nationals inquire at the competent authority of their home country whether they may bear the name of their Swiss spouse.

  • Information sheet No. 153.1 on the name guidance at marriage

  • Information sheet No. 153.3 on the name declarations according to Swiss law

  • Questions and answers about the new name law


Visa and Residence Permit

If you’re planning to move to Switzerland immediately after the wedding, your foreign spouse may require an entry visa and a residence permit. The application for these can be submitted during the preparation procedure. The decision on the application for entry and residence in Switzerland is made by the cantonal migration authority.

For a stay of up to 90 days, a Schengen visa may be required. For a stay of more than 90 days, a national visa may be necessary.


Name Change After Marriage

In Switzerland, spouses retain their previous names after marriage unless they have made a declaration for a common family name. Foreign nationals should inquire with the competent authority of their home country if they are allowed to bear the name of their Swiss spouse.

For more information, refer to the following resources:

  • Information sheet No. 153.1 on the name guidance at marriage

  • Information sheet No. 153.3 on the name declarations according to Swiss law

  • Questions and answers about the new name law


How UniTranslate Can Help

Navigating through the process of getting married in a foreign country can be challenging, especially when it comes to translating important documents such as marriage certificates. That’s where UniTranslate comes in. As a professional translation agency, we specialize in translating a wide range of documents, including those required for international marriages. Our team of expert translators ensures that your documents are accurately translated, maintaining their original meaning and context. If you need assistance with translating your marriage certificates or any other documents, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Email us at contact@unitranslate.ch and let UniTranslate make your international marriage journey a little easier. We’re here to help!


Conclusion

Planning a wedding in Switzerland involves several steps and procedures. From the initial preparation to the actual wedding day and beyond, it’s important to be well-informed and prepared. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of the process, helping you navigate through this exciting journey with ease.

Remember, the key to a successful wedding planning process is to start early, stay organized, and enjoy every moment of this special time in your life. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding, and best wishes for your future together!

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