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Marriage in Belgium

Marriage is one of the life milestones for most people, the wedding day being unforgettable for most. What does getting married look like in Belgium?

Documentation and process

To get married in Belgium, you need a specific set of documents. First and foremost, the essential thing to have is an ID in any form, such as a passport or Belgian ID card. You’ll also need proof of address (recent bills), proof of nationality, a birth certificate and proof of residence and civil status (if required). Authority may also expect certain documents specific to your circumstances or health conditions.

The process itself is relatively straightforward. If you want to get married, you must file all required documents in the proper office, wait for the approval from the authority and after receiving one, future spouses must head to the registry office to attend the official legal ceremony.

The ceremony

The civil registrar or council officer will read out loud certain parts of Belgian civil law, stating the laws and responsibilities that come from the marriage.

Future spouses can choose up to four witnesses, but they must meet two requirements: have 18 or more years old and have a valid ID. If they’re not fluent in the local language, you can hire a translator.

The typical price for such a ceremony is usually between €250–300, but it may vary or even double. Saturday afternoon is usually the most expensive time to hold a ceremony due to being the most popular.

Marriage with a foreigner

When marrying a foreigner, at least one of the future spouses has to be a Belgian citizen or a resident for at least three months. Both parties are required to show proof of residence of any kind accepted by the office.

Registered cohabitation

If marriage is not for you, Belgium offers the option to be in a registered cohabitation. However, unlike most countries, where the term refers to same-sex marriages or couples living together, in Belgium, the term mostly talks about roommates with shared residence and responsibilities, no matter their relationship. You cannot enter it once you’re already registered to cohabit with someone or are already married.