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Marriage

Marriage is a union between two people officiated by a registrar. The marriage takes place at the town hall, but can also take place in another public place of neutral character, if the local council has designated such a place.

Conditions

The conditions for getting married are determined by the law of the country of nationality. The main conditions of marriage for Belgians are:

  • Minimum age: the minimum age for marriage is eighteen years. The juvenile court can lift this age restriction if there are good reasons for doing so.
  • Consent of the spouses: both partners must voluntarily consent to the marriage. Therefore, a forced marriage is prohibited.
  • No impediment to marriage: marriages between persons who are too closely related by blood or affinity are prohibited. The King may lift that prohibition for important reasons. Such a request must be addressed to the Minister of Justice.
  • Prohibition of bigamy: a person who is already married may not enter into another marriage. This prohibition also applies to foreigners who marry in Belgium, even if their own national law allows polygamy. Bigamy is a criminal offence.
  • Prohibition of a marriage of convenience: a marriage in which the intention of at least one of the spouses is not to establish a lifelong union, but only to obtain a residence permit, is prohibited.

The conditions for foreigners are determined by their own national law.

Procedure

At the earliest six months and at the latest fourteen days before the planned date of marriage, you must declare the marriage to the register office of the municipality in which one of the future spouses lives or is registered in the population, foreign nationals, or waiting register.

  • If both partners live abroad, you can make a declaration at
    • your or your partner’s last place of residence
    • the place of residence of your or your partner’s blood relative up to and including the second degree (i.e. grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, children, grandchildren)
    • or your or your partner’s place of birth
  • If you have a different nationality, you must first submit the necessary documents to the Civil Affairs Office. These documents must be no more than six months old.

If you wish, you can appoint witnesses (maximum two per spouse) to attend your marriage ceremony. A witness must be of age, but need not be a blood relative.

You will be married by a registrar on the day of the wedding. The registrar immediately draws up a marriage certificate and signs it digitally.

The civil marriage can only be performed at least fourteen days and at most six months after the declaration of marriage, provided that all the documents are in order. The civil marriage must take place before the religious marriage, if any.

Requisites

  • Both partners must bring their identity cards.
  • If there is a marriage contract, you no longer need to present a certificate from the notary. The notary registers the certificate in the Central Register of Marriage Contracts.
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  • Last revision 24/01/2024
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