To register either a marriage or a partnership in Switzerland or abroad, your main point of reference is the registry office in which you have decided to celebrate the marriage or conclude your partnership. It is normally this office that decides what documents are required to mark this civil status event.
Marriage and registered partnership
You are advised nonetheless to learn in advance about the formalities involved and the civil status documents that may have to be prepared prior to the celebration of a civil status event. These advance steps will facilitate matters when it comes to entering your marriage or registered partnership in the Swiss civil status register (Infostar). To register in the register Infostar, the documents listed on this webpage are to be submitted to the Swiss representation competent for the country where the celebration has taken place.
A marriage that has been legally celebrated abroad, and decisions or measures taken abroad with regard to a registered partnership, will normally be recognised in Switzerland (Federal Act on Private International Law (PIL SR 291)).
Information and fact-sheets that are also available on the webpage of the Federal Office of Justice (FOJ)
Marriage in Canada or The Bahamas
For a step-by-step guide, including which documents to submit, please click on one of the links below:
If you plan to take up residence in Switzerland after marrying or registering a partnership, bear in mind that your foreign spouse or partner will need a residence permit and may require an entry visa. Please consult the Visa – Entry to and Residence in Switzerland section regarding an application to enter Switzerland for the purpose of family reunification.
If you are registered with a Swiss representation and have married or entered into a registered partnership in Switzerland you will need to report your change in civil status to the representation concerned so that the register of the Swiss Abroad can be updated. This will require submission of the following documents (as hard copy or in electronic form):
- photocopy of the Swiss marriage certificate, Swiss family record or Swiss registered partnership document;
- photocopy of the identity document of the foreign spouse or partner.
There is no fee for the registration in question.
If prior to the marriage or registered partnership your Swiss spouse or partner was not resident in the consular district of the Swiss representation, and plans to take up residence with you following the said civil status event, he or she will have to register in accordance with the application procedure described under the heading “Registration and change of address”.
Marriage in Switzerland
If you are planning to get married in Switzerland, you must submit a request for marriage preparation.
For persons living in Canada, this is done at the Swiss representation competent for their place of residence (Consulate general in Montreal or Vancouver). If one of the fiancés is living in Switzerland, the civil registry office at the place of residence is competent. Depending on the situation, it is therefore possible for the engaged couple to take these steps together or individually at different offices. The legal residency is paramount to determine the competent office.
Persons living in Canada must book an appointment to appear in person at the Swiss consulate to complete and sign the following documents:
- Application for marriage preparation and
- Declaration concerning the requirements for entering into marriage.
The forms must be completed in one of the official Swiss languages (German, French or Italian). An English version can be provided for translation purposes only. The forms will be handed over at the time of the appointment.
For the foreign partner with residence in Canada:
- Valid national passport (original)
- Birth certificate with parents’ name * (original issued within the last 6 months)
- Affidavit : solemn declaration concerning the residence and marital status certified by a notary public
- If divorced: certificate of divorce (original) and copy of the first page of the divorce decree
- If widowed: death certificate of the spouse (original)
* For persons of another nationality or born outside Canada, the requirements vary and can be very different from one country to another. Moreover, the documents must be legalized by the Swiss representation responsible for that country and this service is subject to an extra fee.
For the Swiss partner with residence in Canada:
- Certificate of residence (will be issued by the Swiss Consulate on the basis of the register of the Swiss abroad for an extra fee)
- Valid Swiss passport (original)
For the Swiss partner with residence in Switzerland:
- Copy of the individual certificate of civil status (certificat individuel d’état civil / Personenstandsausweis)
- Copy of the valid Swiss passport or ID card
Once the file is complete, it will be submitted to the competent civil registry office in Switzerland for examination. The processing time to obtain the authorization for the wedding celebration is approximately 8 weeks. As a result, it is recommended to plan the wedding’s date accordingly and considering the availability of the civil registry office. The arrangements to schedule the wedding date must be done directly with that office.
The basic fee for an application for marriage preparation is set out in the Ordinance on Fees in Civils Status Matters and amount to CHF 305.00 payable in Canadian dollars. The exact amount to be paid will be communicated on a case-by-case basis, taking into account any extra costs required for additional services.
Please note that the costs involved to verify and legalize documents from third countries may, in some cases, be significantly higher and require the payment of an advance of up to CHF 1000.00.
Travelling to Switzerland:
For persons whose nationality is subject to the obligation to hold a visa to travel to Switzerland or if you plan to take up residence in Switzerland with your spouse after the marriage, you must submit a visa application together with the application for marriage preparation: