Everything about the marriage certificate

A new couple signs the marriage certificate - guide everything about the marriage certificate.

Answers to all questions about the secret superstar of your marriage: the marriage certificate!

The marriage certificate is an important document. On the one hand, it may have sentimental value for you, as it documents the beginning of a new phase in your life. On the other hand, it is important for many bureaucratic processes - both in Germany and abroad. It is not only important for the registry offices and authorities, but also for you as a couple, for example for pension or insurance matters.

But what happens if the marriage certificate is lost or you need a marriage certificate with a divorce decree? In this guide, we have compiled useful tips and solutions to the most important questions about the marriage certificate. From the application to the translation - we help you to understand and master the topic of marriage certificate.

What you'll learn in the guide:

1. the basics: the most important questions about the marriage certificate
2. what a marriage certificate is and what you need it for
3. wedding certificate in case of an international marriage
4. problem solutions around the marriage certificate


1. the basics: the most important questions about the marriage certificate

Where and how can I apply for the marriage certificate?
To apply for your marriage certificate, you must go to the registry office where your marriage was registered. The application can usually be made in person, in writing, or online.

What does the process cost you?
The cost of issuing a marriage certificate can vary depending on the state and registry office. However, as a rule, fees of about 10 to 15 euros are incurred.

What documents do I need for the application?
For the application of the marriage certificate you usually need the following documents:

  • Identity card or passport
  • Certified copy from the marriage register (if no longer available, a replacement certificate can be issued)
  • Power of attorney, if applicable, if the application is submitted by another person
  • birth certificates of the spouses, if applicable

How long does it take to get the wedding certificate?
The processing time for issuing a marriage certificate can vary depending on the registry office and workload. However, it usually takes a few days to a few weeks before the certificate is issued and you can pick it up.

How many certificates do I need?
Depending on what you need and what you need it for, you can apply for several certificates. It is usually better to get at least two copies. One you can keep as an original and the other you can present to authorities or institutions.


2. what a marriage certificate is and what you need it for

What is a marriage certificate?
A marriage certificate is an official document that officially confirms that two people have gotten married. You get it from the registry office. The certificate contains important information such as the names of the spouses, the date and place of the wedding, and other details.

What does a marriage certificate look like?
A marriage certificate usually has a standardized format. It is printed on special paper to prevent forgery. The certificate contains information about the wedding. A registrar signs it and sets a seal. Here is an example picture of a typical marriage certificate:

Marriage certificate sample


What is the difference between marriage certificate, wedding certificate and marriage certificate?
You can easily refer to the term marriage certificate as marriage certificate or wedding certificate. All three words mean the same thing!

The term "marriage certificate" is most commonly used to describe the official document that confirms the marriage. This is probably because "marriage certificate" is a common and easily understood term that is most often used in everyday life. "Marriage certificate" and "wedding certificate," while meaning the same thing, are somewhat less common. Perhaps because they more specifically refer to the legal act or the ceremonial aspect of the wedding.

Why do I need a marriage certificate?
You need a marriage certificate to officially prove your marriage. You might need it in various situations, such as when you apply for family reunification, change your name, apply for insurance, or have foreign marriages recognized. 

Therefore, of course, you should always keep the marriage certificate safe. It is important and may be required in various scenarios throughout your life.

To whom must the marriage certificate be presented?
You must present the marriage certificate to various authorities. This can be authorities, institutions or employers. For example, you need it,

  • to take out a joint loan
  • for the name change after the wedding
  • register your residence
  • Apply for parental allowance
  • file a joint tax return
  • to apply for joint health insurance
  • to change the bank account to the common name

and in many other cases. 

Who needs the original wedding certificate?
As a rule, both spouses need a certified copy of the marriage certificate. However, there may be situations where an original certificate is required, for example, when applying for a visa or settling an inheritance.

Why do I need a marriage certificate for a birth and death?
Sometimes you need a marriage certificate when a child is born or when family members die. This is because you can use it to prove your legal parenthood or to clarify matters of inheritance.


3. wedding certificate in case of international marriage

What is an international marriage certificate?
An international marriage certificate is a certified and translated version of the marriage certificate issued in another country. It is needed when a marriage takes place between partners from different countries and the marriage certificate must be presented in another country.

In addition, there are other cases when you need an international marriage certificate. For example: 

  • If you want to work in another country and want your spouse:in to accompany you
  • When applying for a spouse visa or a residence permit for your spouse abroad
  • If you want to apply for foreign citizenship because of marriage

The exact requirements may vary depending on the country and specific request, so we recommend that you check with the relevant authorities or embassies about their specific requirements.

What do I need to consider for an international wedding certificate?

Within the EU, marriage certificates do not usually need to be notarized or translated, as EU member states have certain agreements among themselves regarding the recognition of documents. However, a translation may be required if the marriage certificate was issued in a language other than the language of the country in which it is presented.

Outside the EU, different requirements may apply depending on the country. It is advisable to check with the relevant authorities in the respective country which documents and translations are required. 

You can find out everything about international marriages in our guides: Marriage in Germany and getting married abroad.

How can I have it translated?
The translation of an international marriage certificate must be done by official, certified translators. It is important that the translation is certified to confirm its authenticity and accuracy. The certified translation should then be presented with the international marriage certificate. For more information on certified translations of your wedding certificate, click here.


Have your documents translated now – at Beglaubigung24:

4. problem solving around the marriage certificate

What do I do if I have lost my marriage certificate?
If you have lost your marriage certificate, you can apply for a new one. You simply go to the registry office that issued you the original marriage certificate and apply for a new one. You may have to pay a fee. You may also need to show proof of identity to get the new marriage certificate.

Can I get a marriage certificate without a birth certificate?
Usually you need the birth certificate of one or both spouses to get a marriage certificate. If you do not have your birth certificate, you can go to the registry office that issued it and request a new one. Without a birth certificate, it may be more difficult or impossible to get a marriage certificate. In our guide "Getting married in Germany" you will get an overview of all the papers you need for an international wedding .

How can I apply for a marriage certificate with a divorce decree?
If you want to apply for a marriage certificate with a divorce decree, you must go to the registry office that registered the marriage. There you usually have to make an application and pay the applicable fee. It may be that the divorce decree must also be presented there in order to obtain the marriage certificate with divorce endorsement.

What happens to the marriage certificate after a divorce?
After a divorce, the marriage certificate remains with the registry office. However, we recommend that you apply for a certified copy of the marriage certificate, which also contains the note of divorce. This copy may be needed, for example, for pension or insurance purposes. If you plan to marry again, you must apply for a new marriage certificate.


Who would have thought that there is so much to consider and learn about a single document. We hope our guide has cleared up the question marks in your head.

Good luck with all your future wedding plans!

Your Beglaubigung24-Team


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