Marriage is the act whereby you formalize your bond in front of the Officer of the Civil Registry of the municipality where you want to be married.
Note that a foreigner who marries a Belgian does not automatically receive Belgian nationality.
In Belgium a marriage can be performed if one of the future spouses:
- is a Belgian citizen at the time of the ceremony
- has had his or her place of residence in Belgium for more than three months.
Residence in Belgium for more than three months can be demonstrated by any means: air tickets, receipts for rent, etc.
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. The most important conditions for Belgians are:
- They have to be at least 18 years old.
- They have to consent to the marriage.
- They cannot be closely related to each other.
- They cannot already be married. This condition also applies when foreigners get married in Belgium, even when their national law allows polygamy.
- They cannot enter into a scam marriage for purposes of immigration fraud.
- You have to notify the municipal Registrar of your intention to marry at least 14 days before your actual wedding date.
- The municipal department of Civil Affairs will issue a notice of intended marriage. Your marriage can then go ahead between 14 days and 6 months later. In case you do not have the Belgian nationality, you will have to submit the required documents to the Civil Affairs Department.
- The Registrar will officiate the wedding and issue a marriage certificate. This certificate serves as a proof of your marriage.
- Only civil marriage ceremonies are legally recognised. After the civil ceremony, you can have a religious or secular ceremony as part of your celebration, but this is not required by law.
Where can I get married?
You can get married in the municipality where one of the future spouses is domiciled or has their habitual residence. For Belgians living abroad who are not domiciled or habitually resident in Belgium, the marriage can take place in 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, the couple can marry in the municipality of Brussels.
- Your identity cards and the identity cards of any witnesses.
- If there is a prenuptial agreement, you no longer have to submit a certificate from the notary who drew up the contract. The prenuptial agreement is registered by the notary in the Central Register of Marriage Contracts.
If you are not registered in the Belgian population register or aliens register, you also have to submit the following documents:
- Birth certificate
- Proof of residence
- Proof of civil status
- Proof of nationality
These documents cannot be older than 6 months and need to be legalised. If they are written in a foreign language, the Registrar may ask for a translation by a sworn translator of the court in Belgium.
For more information, contact the municipal Registrar's Department where you want to be married.