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
The Swiss civil registrar in the town or city where the marriage is to take place may require some additional documents which are not mentioned below. The procedures may also vary from one canton (state) to another.
The civil registry office in Switzerland is solely responsible for specifying and processing the required documents. The arrangements to schedule the wedding date (domestic partnership) must be done directly with that office. Please note that English is not one of the official Swiss languages (German, French and Italian).
Some foreign documents may require prior legalizations from other Swiss representation and this procedure may also involve additional fees, expenses and time.
In general, the following documents are required for a civil ceremony in Switzerland and must be signed by the fiancés at the responsible Swiss representation (Embassy or Consulate) abroad. If one of the fiancé is living in Switzerland, he or she will have to sign these documents at the civil registrar's office there.
- Application for marriage preparation
- Declaration concerning the requirements for entering into marriage
These documents may be obtained at the Swiss representation upon request.
The fiancés must sign these documents in person in front of a civil registrar in Switzerland or at a Swiss diplomatic or consular representation abroad. Be aware that the forms may only be filled out in a Swiss official language (German, French or Italian)
Additional documents (the documents will be translated and legalized by the Swiss representation if necessary):
- Valid passports
For a Swiss bride or Swiss groom:
- Certificate of residence (if you are registered at a Swiss representation, this can be replaced by a Certificate of registration and nationality)
For a foreign bride or foreign groom:
- Birth certificate long form, issued within 6 months, showing exact place of birth (town) and the names of the parents.
- Statutory declaration concerning the current address and marital status. This document replaces the certificate of civil status and the certificate of residence which are not available in Canada.
Divorced and widowed persons must prove their marital status
Divorced persons by presenting a certified copy (by the Clerk of the Court where the divorce has been granted) of the final divorce decree showing the exact date when the judgment entered into effect (filing date). Widowed persons by presenting a complete certified copy of the death certificate of the late spouse.
Name after the marriage (for Swiss citizens and persons residing in Switzerland)
If the bride decides not to take the last name of the husband when the couple gets married, she would have to sign a surname declaration (the form can be obtained from the competent representation) before the marriage, either at a civil registrar or the responsible Swiss representation. If she wants to be subject to the legislation on names of her country of residence, she would have to confirm it in writing at the responsible Swiss representation as well (the form may also be obtained from the competent representation).
Fees and expenses
When an application is submitted, the responsible representation is to be paid in advance, in the local currency for all expected fees and expenses. Expected fee is CAD 500.00. The fees may vary according to the exchange rate and the number of documents to be legalized/translated. That does not include the fees of the Swiss civil registrar.
The processing time after the documents are submitted to the Swiss representation can take up to 8 weeks or more. The local civil registrar will then issue the confirmation and send all the papers to the cantonal authority for approval. The wedding can take place 10 days earliest after the date of confirmation, but not later than 3 months
No visa is required for Canadien citizens who are traveling to Switzerland for up to three months for tourism and visiting purposes.