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Marriage Rules in Germany

The union of two people is considered legal only when it is a marriage. The country has no laws that bar people from having live-in relationships. However, these are not considered legal. There are certain requirements every couple needs to follow to get their marriage legalized. In this article, we explore the marriage rules prevailing in Germany.

Eligibility criteria

Every nation sets down some rules that decide the eligibility of a person to get married. If you want to get married in Germany you need to be eligible. Here are some things one needs to fulfill before beginning the paperwork:

  • Marital status
    One needs to have marital status as a single to be able to get married in Germany. If you are already married, a divorce needs to be finalized before you can remarry.
  • Age
    The people getting married should be more than 18 years of age for a legal marriage. In Germany, one can get married at 16 if at least one of the parents gives consent.
  • Relation
    The two people getting married should not have any blood relations. Germany doesn’t consider it legal to marry a blood relative.

How to apply for legal marriage?

Legal marriage is a process that involves quite a number of steps. Once both partners are willing to get married, an application for the same needs to be submitted at the registrar’s office. Marriages performed by religious heads such as priests, imams, or rabbis will not be considered valid in the eyes of the law. A legal marriage can only be conducted by the registrar.


Once the application is submitted, both parties need to submit multiple documents. The date for legal marriage will be provided once all the documents are verified and approved by the law. It is always a good idea to submit the application for marriage months in advance. The document verifying may be time-consuming. So, applying well before the wedding date is required. Also, keep in mind that the marriage should be done within six months of document approval, failing which the entire process has to be repeated from start.


For the foreigners getting married in Germany or to a permanent resident of the nation, there are some additional legal requirements. The country of origin and the current marital status of the foreigner play important role in deciding the documents needed to get married in Germany. The documents of the foreign national must be latest and translated for the local registry office. It is best to contact the embassy and find out if the marriage conducted under German law will be held valid in their country of origin.

Documents required for legal marriage in Germany

Both partners will have to submit certain documents to the office of the registrar before the wedding. It is always better to submit these documents several months earlier to avoid any obstacles close to the ceremony date. Here is a list of common documents needed for both citizens and foreigners:

  • Valid identification documents like passport or government-issued identity card. Driving licenses are not considered valid identity proof. The identity document should have a recent photo of the applicant.
  • The original birth certificate or a copy that has been certified. A mere photocopy will not be approved. The certificate should have both the parents’ names.
  • If anyone partner or both were non-citizens who went through naturalization, then it is mandatory to submit the Certificate of Naturalization.
  • In case of the death of a previous partner, one needs to submit a death certificate to the registry office. Translation might be necessary if the certificate was issued in a foreign language.
  • A registration certificate is necessary to show that one has been in Germany for longer than 21 days. This certificate should be showing the current home address of the individual.
  • A certificate of no impediment to marriage is necessary to show that the individual has no legal restrictions to marriage. The embassy or a local mission can issue this particular certificate.
  • If any of the partners had a previous marriage, a divorce certificate should be submitted to the registrar’s office. In case the divorce has been granted by a court of law outside Germany, approval from German authorities will be a necessity.
  • If any of the partners is below 18 years of age, a parent or a legal guardian will have to give consent to the marriage in front of a public officer of the law.
  • A financial statement or an income certificate also needs to be submitted before the marriage can take place. In the case of self-employed individuals, a certificate signed by an accountant will be considered valid.

Same-sex marriages in Germany

Marriages between people of the same gender have been legalized in Germany since October 2017. Previously, there was a law that allowed same-sex couples to have their relationship registered. With marriage being legalized, now registration is not necessary. The documents that need to be submitted to the office of the registrar are all same as any other heterosexual couple in the country. Same-sex couples are also entitled to the same benefits and have the same obligations of a legal marriage. Also, if the couple has had a legal marriage in any other nation, German law considers it legal.

The cost of having a legal marriage in Germany

Having a legal marriage requires some expenditure. The costs can range somewhere between 60 Euros to 250 Euros depending on the situation. Foreign nationals marrying in Germany often need to get their certificates translated by certified people. The ceremony is conducted in the German language at the registry office. So, those who do not understand the language need to have a professional interpreter. The law doesn’t approve of a family member or friend doing the interpretations. These jobs might cost some money apart from the basic cost of applying.