Getting married in Switzerland
If you would like to get married / form a civil union in Switzerland you will need to go through a process called marriage preparation.
It is mandatory that you present yourself in person at the Regional Consular Center or the Consulate General to hand in your documents. Please contact the Regional Consular Centre Pretoria respectively the Consulate General in Cape Town in order to make an appointment.
If one of the fiancés is living in Switzerland, he or she will have to sign these documents at the civil registrar's office there.
The civil registry office in Switzerland in the town or city where the marriage / civil union is to take place is solely responsible for specifying and processing the required documents. It may require some additional documents which are not mentioned below. The arrangements to schedule the wedding / civil union date must be done directly with that office. Please note that English is not one of the official Swiss languages (German, French and Italian).
The procedures may also vary from one canton (province) to another.
Some foreign documents may require prior legalizations from other Swiss representation and this procedure may also involve additional fees, expenses and time.
It is recommended that applications are submitted at least 3 months before the marriage is to take place.
The wedding can take place 10 days earliest after the date of confirmation, but not later than 3 months.
This list of required documents is for South African citizens who wish to get married to a Swiss citizen in Switzerland. Please contact the Regional Consular Center in Pretoria or the Consulate General in Cape Town if a citizen of a different country is concerned.
All documents marked with a * should not be older than six months (date of issue) at the time of their submission to the Regional Consular Center or the Consulate General. Please note that these documents will be sent to Switzerland and therefore cannot be returned to you.
Only original documents with seal and signature of the competent Officer of the Department of Home Affairs or the Registrar of The (High) Court in charge can be accepted.
If you would like to get married in the Canton Vaud (Waadt), Geneva (Genf) or Zurich (Zürich), an Apostille is required for the following documents: unabridged birth certificate/birth certificate, death certificate, final order of divorce. To check the competent authority for the Apostille, please visit www.hcch.net.
The civil status office responsible for your civil ceremony may require additional documents or an Apostille.
Application for preparatory procedure for marriage / civil union, to be completed and signed at Regional Consular Center / Consulate General
Declaration concerning pre-conditions for entering into marriage / civil union, to be completed and signed at Regional Consular Center / Consulate General
Original, valid passport and two photocopies thereof
Unabridged Birth Certificate* or Birth Certificate* (with details of parents)
Certificate of residence*, affidavit mentioning the detailed residence address of (at least) the last six months as well as the period (since … until…)
- Certificate of your actual marital status*
If you have previously been married:
- Final Order of Divorce
- Death Certificate of the previous spouse
Documents from your Swiss fiancé(e):
- Copy of the Certificate of Civil Status for Swiss Nationals (“Personenstandsausweis / Certificat individual d’état civil / Certificato individuale di stato civile”)
Birth, death and marriage certificates as well as the certificate of actual marital status (letter of no impediment) are issued by the Department of Home Affairs.
Name after the marriage (for Swiss citizens and persons residing in Switzerland)
Information sheets (available in German, French, Italian)
Fees and expenses
The Regional Consular Centre/the Consulate General charges a minium fee of CHF 230.—payable in South African Rand for filing the application for marriage. The fees in ZAR may vary according to the exchange rate. Depending of the documents presented, additional costs may arise. Please enquire about the exact fee in ZAR before submitting the documents.
That does not include the fees of the Swiss civil registrar.
South African citizens require a visa to enter Switzerland. The visa procedure is separate from the marriage preparation process and the fees are not included in the above overview. Please refer to the visa website for further information.