Preparing for a civil marriage abroad

Eligible individuals residing in the Grand Duchy may marry abroad under certain conditions.

For civil marriages abroad, future spouses are subject to the observance of 2 sets of public legislation:
  • the public legislation of the state in which they intend to get married; and

  • the public legislation of the state in which they wish their marriage to be recognised, i.e., Luxembourg legislation.

Who is concerned

All Luxembourg nationals are required to publish prior notice of their intention to marry abroad.

In principle, the notice should be published in the place of residence of the future spouse who is the Luxembourg national.

However, when the Luxembourgish future spouse:

  • is no longer domiciled in the Grand Duchy, the marriage notice must be published in the Communal Administration office of their last commune of residence in Luxembourg;

  • has never been resident in the Grand Duchy, the marriage notice must be published in the Communal Administration office of their place of birth or, failing that, of the City of Luxembourg.

Foreign nationals who are resident in the Grand Duchy and wish to marry abroad should seek advice on marriage notice publication requirements from the authorities in their country of origin.

Same-sex partners wishing to marry abroad may do so in any State which allows same-sex marriage.

In principle, only persons of legal age may enter into a marriage.

Note that the age of majority may vary depending on:
  • the State in which the marriage takes place;

  • the age of majority recognised by the State of Luxembourg. Majority and legal capacity to marry are determined by Luxembourg law for Luxembourg nationals; and

  • the age of majority established by law in the country of which the future spouses are nationals.

Prerequisites

A marriage abroad between two Luxembourg nationals, or between a Luxembourg national and a foreigner, is valid if it was properly formalised in accordance with the regulations of the country in which it took place, provided certain conditions, imposed by Luxembourg law, are met.

The fundamental conditions for Luxembourg nationals are the same as those which must be satisfied for the formalisation of civil marriages in the Grand Duchy.

How to proceed

Before the marriage: documents to be submitted to the Luxembourg authorities

Before travelling abroad, the future spouses must accomplish the following formalities so that the Luxembourg civil registrar can publish the banns on a poster at the entrance to the town hall:

  • submit to the civil registrar of the commune where each of the future spouses is domiciled a full copy of the birth certificate for each of the future spouses, issued no more that 6 months prior. The future spouse of foreign nationality, born abroad, must contact the competent authority in their country of birth;
  • when it is impossible to submit a copy of the birth certificate, applicants may submit a so-called acte de notoriété (attestation) issued by the justice of the peace sitting in their place of birth or place of residence;
  • for individuals resident abroad, submit to the civil registrar residence certificates or any other document proving residency, if such a certificate is unavailable in the country of residence;
  • submit to the civil registrar proof of marital status (single/divorced/widowed) for the non-Luxembourgish future spouse;
  • submit to the civil registrar a copy of the future spouses' identity documents.
The civil registrar will check the address of resident applicants or future spouses when compiling the dossier. If any inconsistency is noted, a certificate of residence must also be provided by persons residing in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

Future spouses who are resident and wish to marry in one of the following countries much obtain a certificate of legal capacity to marry from their commune of residence:

  • Germany;
  • Austria;
  • Spain;
  • Greece;
  • Italy;
  • Luxembourg;
  • Moldova;
  • The Netherlands;
  • Switzerland;
  • Turkey.

For the issuing of a certificate of legal capacity to marry, the following supporting documents must be submitted to the civil registrar by both the future spouses:

  • a full copy of their birth certificate;
  • for persons residing abroad, a residence certificate or any other document proving residency, if such a certificate is unavailable in the country of residence;
  • certificates attesting to their marital status (single/divorced/widowed).

If the partners wish to marry in a country other than those listed above, they must obtain proof of unmarried status from their commune, and a Luxembourg certificate of custom/law from the Ministry of Justice.

In practice, a birth certificate bearing no mention of marriage serves as proof of unmarried status for Luxembourg nationals born in the Grand Duchy.

In the case of the marriage of a minor (or minors), their parents' consent—or the family's consent, if no parents are available—is required. The marriage must be formalised by a authenticated deed.

If the parents are resident in Luxembourg, the deed must be notarised or authenticated by the civil registrar of the parents' domicile or residence. It is then the parents' responsibility to send the notarised deed to the Luxembourg civil registrar.

If the parents are domiciled abroad, they must refer to the authorities with competence to receive that deed, i.e., Luxembourg diplomatic or consular agents.

After the marriage

Marriages in which at least one partner is a Luxembourg national

Theoretically, the Luxembourg authorities have no knowledge of marriages celebrated abroad. Consequently, certain formalities must be accomplished to have the marriage officially recognised in Luxembourg.

Once the marriage ceremony has been performed abroad, the couple must have their legalised marriage certificate recorded in the civil register of their commune of residence. If the Luxembourgish partner was born in the Grand Duchy, an entry mentioning the marriage will be made in the margin of their birth certificate.

If the Luxembourgish spouses were born in Luxembourg and are resident in the Grand Duchy, they must have their marriage certificate recorded (transcribed) in the civil register of their commune of residence.

Transcription of the marriage certificate is the sole preserve of Luxembourg nationals residing in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.  Thus, in the case of non-residents, marriage certificates cannot be transcribed.

If no prior notice was published, official recognition is subject to the production of the documents required by the civil registrar to check whether the couple met the fundamental conditions to be allowed to marry.

In this case, the applicants should contact the civil registrar in their place of residence, or in the commune of Luxembourg City if the person was born abroad and has never been a Luxembourg resident.

Note that if the spouses are Luxembourg nationals and do not reside in the Grand Duchy:

  • if they were born in Luxembourg, they must sent a copy of their marriage certificate to their commune of birth;
  • if they were born abroad, no formalities are required.

Marriages of foreign nationals

Foreign nationals may have the entries in the communal register updated by informing the communal administration. They will need to produce a duly legalised marriage certificate.

If the spouses are resident abroad but were born in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, they must send their duly legalised marriage certificate to the commune of their birth in Luxembourg.

Who to contact

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