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Marriage: undertaking a preparatory procedure

This procedure presents the steps to be followed when preparing a marriage. During the preparatory procedure, the fiancés submit a marriage application to the civil registry office, accompanied by several official documents.

⚠ Important information concerning the situation of the new coronavirus: the Civil Registry Office is adapting to the extraordinary health situation.
More information on the measures taken by the City of Geneva

When should you start the procedure?

The preparatory procedure can take several weeks or several months (in particular if foreign documents need to be legalised). Consequently, fiancés are advised not to set a date for the wedding celebration before the preparatory procedure is complete. The registry office declines all liability for costs resulting from the cancellation or postponement of the celebration.

What is the fee?

CHF 150 for the preparatory procedure. Additional costs may be incurred, in particular if foreign documents need to be legalised. The costs of the wedding celebration depend on the venue chosen by the fiancés to celebrate their marriage.

Where should the procedure be carried out?

The preparatory procedure must be carried out according to the place of residence of the fiancés:

  • if one of the two fiancés (Swiss or foreign) is resident in Switzerland: at the civil registry office of his/her municipality of residence;
  • if both fiancés are resident in Switzerland: at the civil registry office of their municipality of residence or of the municipality of one of the two residences;
  • if neither of the two fiancés (Swiss or foreign) is resident in Switzerland: at the civil registry office of the municipality in which the marriage will be celebrated or through the relevant Swiss diplomatic representation.

The marriage can, with the agreement of the office concerned, be celebrated in the district of the civil registry office chosen by the fiancés.

Which documents are required?

For single, widowed or divorced

Swiss citizens

  • marriage application form (available below);
  • residence certificate (if resident outside the canton);
  • passport or identity card. 

Other cases and other nationalities

The fiancés must visit the civil registry office concerned in order to obtain any necessary information and the detailed list of documents to be provided.

Notes for foreign fiancés

The list of documents required for foreign fiancés varies according to their country of origin. The civil registry office will inform you of any document authentication procedure necessary. This procedure may take several months and requires advance payment of fees, which can range from CHF 300 to CHF 2,000 per person, depending on the country.

Since 1 January 2011, article 98 paragraph 4 of the civil code has stipulated that “people engaged to be married who are not Swiss citizens must prove the legality of their stay in Switzerland during the preparatory procedure for a marriage or partnership”. In the absence of a valid residence permit, the civil registry office will be obliged to refuse to celebrate the marriage.

What to do?

The fiancés must visit the relevant civil registry office with the duly completed and signed marriage application form and all other documents required.

The civil registry office will verify whether the application was submitted in accordance with requirements, whether the identity of the fiancés has been established, whether the documents presented are valid and whether the conditions for marriage have been respected.

In the event of compliance with all conditions, the fiancés complete (by appointment) a declaration relating to the conditions for marriage in the presence of the civil registrar and confirm in person their legal capacity to be married; they present the necessary proof of consent.

Once all formalities have been completed, the civil registry office sends the fiancés the conclusion of the preparatory procedure together with the statutory deadlines for celebrating the marriage.

Contact

Service de l'état civil

37 Rue de la Mairie

1207

Genève

Suisse

Tél. +41224186650

Fax. +41224186651

Email

Service de l'état civil

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Article modifié le 13.05.2020 à 13:07