Marriage and registered partnership
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.
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)).
To keep the family registers accurate and up-to-date, Swiss authorities need to be informed about any changes in the civil status of Swiss citizens and dual nationals (birth, marriage, death and divorce).
In Switzerland the registration of this changes is based on various statutory provisions and has a tiered structure (communal / cantonal / federal) with clear areas of competence. The Registry Offices which are located in most communes, hold the following five registers:
- Register of Births
- Register of Deaths
- Register of Marriages
- Acknowledgement of Paternity Register
- Family Register
The Family Register is held in the "commune of origin". Every Swiss national has the citizenship rights of a commune, known as the "place of origin" or "place of citizenship". This is usually the town or village which the family originally came from and descendants always assume the same place of origin, regardless of their place of birth or residence. This registry system enables a family tree to be traced back many years.
The role of the Swiss missions abroad is to report changes in the status of Swiss nationals which have taken place abroad to the relevant authorities in Switzerland so that they may be entered in the Family Register.
Swiss citizens are therefore asked to present the above mentioned documents to the relevant Swiss mission.
Information and fact-sheets that are also available on the webpage of the Federal Office of Justice (FOJ)
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”.