Civil partnership preparation for Switzerland

Between a foreign national and a Swiss citizen

The partners must submit an application to enter into a civil partnership to the Civil Registry Office in the place of residence in Switzerland (application form available from the Regional Consular Centre). If they are not resident in Switzerland, the application must be filed with the Civil Registry Office where the civil partnership ceremony is to take place. A couple living abroad can file the application with the competent Swiss representation. Please note that foreign nationals may only enter into a civil partnership in Switzerland if one of them is resident in Switzerland.

Besides the application form, the partners must sign a special declaration concerning the conditions for civil partnership (available from the Regional Consular Centre or the Civil Registry Office); they must declare that they meet the requirements for civil partnership, and that the documents presented are up to date, complete and truthful. This declaration has to be signed personally either at the Regional Consular Centre or before the Registrar in Switzerland. By signing the documents the partners confirm that they understand their contents. They also confirm that they are aware of the criminal consequences in the event of false declarations under Articles 75d and 65 of the “Zivilstandsverordnung” or “Ordonnance sur l’état civil” (Civil Status Ordinance). Translations of the documents can be viewed online on the website of the Federal Office of Justice (www.eazw.admin.ch -> Formulare -> Formulare der schweizerischen Vertretungen im Ausland). The documents must be submitted between 9.00 am and 12.00 noon, from Monday to Friday.

Further documents

The following original documents must be presented with the application for preparation for the civil partnership:

Foreign national

  • a full-size birth certificate issued not more than six months before the application for civil partnership is made (can be obtained from the competent register office or from the General Register Office). If the civil partnership ceremony is going to take place in Canton Vaud and/or if the place of origin of the Swiss nationals is in the Canton Vaud, please note that the birth certificate must bear the Apostille of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Legalisation Office (visit: http://www.fco.gov.uk -> Legalisation).
  • for British nationals: a certificate of no impediment to marriage issued by the local Superintendent Registrar. The document must bear the Apostille of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Legalisation Office (visit: http://www.fco.gov.uk -> Legalisation). For other nationals: if a certificate of no impediment cannot be provided, please submit a statutory declaration concerning marital status, nationality and residence, signed in the presence of a notary public or a solicitor. This document must also bear the Apostille of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
  • an official copy of a decree absolute or decree of dissolution of partnership or a death certificate of a deceased spouse or civil partner if the foreign partner is divorced, was previously in a civil partnership or is widowed. Also in this case, if the civil partnership ceremony is to take place in Canton Vaud and/or the place of origin of the Swiss national is in Canton Vaud, this document must bear an Apostille.
  • a Deed Poll of change of name (also with an Apostille from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office) if applicable.
  • additional documents may be required. Please contact the Civil Registry Office in Switzerland.

Swiss national

  • certificate of residence issued by the local authorities; if the person is registered with the Regional Consular Centre, a certificate of registration will be issued by it (a fee of £33.50 is payable);
  • in some cases a certificate of civil status issued by the place of origin (can be obtained through the Regional Consular Centre for a fee) may have to be submitted.

Photocopies of the above-mentioned documents cannot be accepted. The original documents will not be returned.
Should the foreign partner’s birth and/or any changes in civil status have taken place outside the United Kingdom, please contact the Regional Consular Centre prior to submitting the documents in order to confirm the correct papers to be provided. Documents of civil status issued in a different country must be legalised by the competent Swiss representation. In some cases, the legalisation will be subject to a fee and can take several weeks.

If the application for civil partnership is filed with the Regional Consular Centre, all documents are forwarded by the Regional Consular Centre to the competent authorities in Switzerland. If all requirements for the civil partnership are met, the Civil Registry Office issues a written authorisation for it to take place. The civil partnership has to take place not more than three months after the authorisation has been issued.

It is strongly recommended that civil partnership applications are submitted to the Regional Consular Centre at least three months before the ceremony is to take place. If some of the documents of civil status have been issued outside the UK, please note that these will first need to be translated/legalised by the competent Swiss representation and that the process can take several weeks.

Name after civil partnership:

Please contact the Regional Consular Centre if you would like to know the different options concerning surnames.

Fees

The Regional Consular Centre charges a fee of approximately £200.00 for filing the application for civil partnership and for the translation and legalisation of the documents submitted. Depending on the documents presented, additional costs may arise.

If, after the registration of the civil partnership, the couple take up residence in the United Kingdom, the Swiss partner should register with the Regional Consular Centre in London.

Please note that all documents of civil status (birth, marriage/civil partnership, divorce, death, certificate of no impediment/statutory declaration) must be newly issued. Documents older than 6 months will not be accepted.

Between foreign nationals (one of whom must be resident in Switzerland)

The authorities of the canton in which the partners intend to enter into their civil partnership have discretion as to whether to authorise a civil partnership between two foreign nationals, provided one of them is resident in Switzerland. The authorities might require a document providing proof of capacity to enter into the civil partnership and/or proof of recognition of the civil partnership by the couple’s home country.

A civil partnership between two foreign nationals cannot take place in Switzerland if neither of them is resident in Switzerland.

The following general information may be helpful regarding the procedure for civil partnership in Switzerland.

Capacity to enter into a civil partnership:

  1. the couple must be over 18
  2. neither must be already married, or in a civil partnership
  3. persons subject to guardianship orders must obtain the
    consent of their legal representative
  4. the law prohibits marriage, or civil partnership between (half-)brothers or (half-)sisters, between a person and his or her parent (natural or adoptive) or grandparents

Procedure

The future civil partners must submit an application (available only in the Swiss languages) for preparation for the civil partnership at the Civil Registry Office in the place where it is intended that the ceremony shall take place.

The person residing in Switzerland must file the application with the Swiss authority competent for their place of residence, while the person living abroad must file the application with the Swiss mission competent for their place of residence abroad. Besides the application form, the couple have to sign a special decla¬ration concerning the conditions for the partnership (available at the Regional Consular Centre or at the Civil Registry Office in Switzerland); they must declare that they meet the requirements for a civil partnership, and that the documents presented are up to date, complete and truthful. This declaration has to be signed personally either at the Regional Consular Centre or before the Registrar in Switzerland. By signing the documents, the couple confirm that they understand their contents. They also confirm that they are aware of the criminal consequences in the event of false declarations under Articles 75d and 65 of the “Zivilstandsverordnung” (or “Ordonnance sur l’état civil” – Civil Status Ordinance). Translations of the documents can be viewed online on the webpage of the Federal Office of Justice (www.eazw.admin.ch -> Formulare -> Formulare der schweizerischen Vertretungen im Ausland). The documents must be submitted from Monday to Friday, between 9.00 am and 12.00 noon.

Further documents

The following original documents must be presented with the application for preparation for the civil partnership:

  • a full-size birth certificate issued not more than six months before the application for civil partnership is made. Please note that if the civil partnership ceremony is taking place in Canton Vaud, the document must bear the Apostille of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Legalisation Office (visit: http://www.fco.gov.uk -> Legalisation).
  • for British nationals: a certificate of no impediment to marriage issued by the local Superintendent Registrar. The document must bear the Apostille of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Legalisation Office (visit: http://www.fco.gov.uk -> Legalisation). For other nationals: if a certificate of no impediment cannot be provided, please submit a statutory declaration concerning marital status, nationality and residence, signed in the presence of a notary public or a solicitor. This document must also bear the Apostille of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
  • an official copy of a decree absolute or decree of dissolution of partnership or a death certificate of a deceased spouse or civil partner if one of the parties is divorced, was previously in a civil partnership or is widowed. Also in this case, if the civil partnership ceremony is going to take place in Canton Vaud, documents bearing the Apostille must be provided;
  • Deed Poll of change of name (also with Apostille from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office), if applicable.
  • additional documents may be required. Please contact the Civil Registry Office.
     

Please note that photocopies cannot be accepted. The documents mentioned above will not be returned.

Should any of the partners’ birth and/or any changes in civil status have taken place outside the United Kingdom, please contact the Regional Consular Centre prior to submitting the documents in order to confirm the correct papers to be provided. Documents of civil status issued in a different country must be legalised by the competent Swiss representation. In some cases, the legalisation will be subject to a fee and can take several weeks.

If the application for civil partnership is filed with the Regional Consular Centre, all documents are forwarded by the Regional Consular Centre to the competent authorities in Switzerland. If all requirements for the civil partnership are met, the Civil Registry Office issues a written authorisation for it to take place. The civil partnership has to take place not more than three months after the authorisation has been issued.

It is strongly recommended that applications for civil partnership preparation are submitted to the Regional Consular Centre at least three months before the ceremony is to take place. If some of the documents of civil status have been issued outside the UK, please note that these will first need to be translated/legalised by the competent Swiss representation and that the process can take several weeks.

Fees

If the civil partnership application is filed with the Regional Consular Centre, a fee of approximately £200.00 depending on the documents submitted has to be paid in cash or by cheque. The fees and charges of the Civil Registrar and the cantonal authorities for the preparation for the civil partnership and the civil partnership ceremony may vary and can be quite high. For more detailed information please contact the Civil Registrar at the place where the civil partnership will be entered into.

Foreign nationals are advised to consult their Embassy or Consulate in Switzerland after the ceremony if they wish the civil partnership to be registered in their home country.

Please note that all documents of civil status (birth, marriage/civil partnership, divorce, death, certificate of no impediment/statutory declaration) must be newly issued. Documents older than 6 months will not be accepted.

Civil partnership in Canton Vaud / Place of origin in Canton Vaud

Important information

Please note that if the marriage or the civil partnership are to take place in Canton Vaud and/or if the place of origin of a Swiss national is in the Canton Vaud, all documents of civil status (birth, marriage, death certificates or divorce decrees) will have to bear an Apostille from the Legalization Office at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Documents submitted without an Apostille will not be accepted.