Information About Marriage
Belgian Marriage Requirements for American citizens
Caveat: Because it is the laws and regulations of Belgium that are applicable for marriage in Belgium, it is recommended that you contact the Belgian marriage officer in your jurisdiction of residency in Belgium to inquire about the requirements.
All official documents issued in a foreign country (e.g. the United States) must be authenticated by means of the “Apostille”, an international authentication procedure recognized in the United States of America and Belgium. The U.S. Embassy can assist with your meeting Belgian requirements by providing an Affidavit of Single Status, or a sworn statement attesting to your marital status. To apply for this service, please schedule a notarial appointment.
The competent Belgian authority performing marriages is called “Ambtenaar van de Burgerlijke Stand/Officier de l’ Etat Civil”.
In general, the following is required:
In order to contract marriage in Belgium, one of the parties must reside in the country. There is no specific period of residence, but several weeks are generally necessary for completion of the required formalities. If neither of the parties has a fixed residence in Belgium, one of them must establish a residence for this purpose. Upon arrival in Belgium, the party registers with the communal authorities in the district of his domicile and requests a “Bewijs van Woonst voor Huwelijksdoeleinden/Certificat de Domicile pour Mariage” (Certificate of Residence for Marriage Purposes). The party residing in Belgium (or the one who has established a residence as explained above), may submit the following required documents for both parties, and request publication of the banns in the commune in which he or she resides. The marriage may be performed ten days after posting of the banns.
In addition to the “Certificate of Residence for Marriage Purposes”, the parties contracting marriage in Belgium are each required to produce the following documents:
- a certified copy of the birth certificate;
- a certificate of residence showing full name, place and date of birth, last legal residence, nationality and marital status of the individuals. The Belgian communal authorities will deliver such a certificate to the party registered in Belgium. The party not registered in Belgium must obtain it from the authorities of his or her last place of residence **;
- if one of the parties has been previously married, proof must be furnished of the dissolution of the former marriage, either in the form of
- a death certificate of the former spouse, or
- an authenticated copy of a divorce decree, as appropriate.
When the divorce decree does not indicate the date on which the divorce became final, a statement to that effect, delivered by the court which pronounced the divorce, must also be produced.
** A person whose last place of residence was in the United States will not be able to obtain a certificate of residence since this document is not available in the United States. In that case, the person should inquire from the commune authorities what they will accept instead of a U.S. certificate of residence.