Marriage in Belarus
Requirements for Marriage
If you plan to get married in Belarus, you must plan ahead. There are several documents you will need to obtain both in the U.S. and Belarus.
This information is provided for general information only and may not be totally accurate in every case. Questions involving interpretation of specific foreign laws should be addressed to the foreign embassy or consulate, the foreign law division of the Library of Congress, or a foreign attorney.
Note: Only marriages performed at a registrar's office (ZAGS – Office for Matrimonial Acts Registration) are legally valid in Belarus. A church ceremony may be held later, if desired. It is important to remember that all documents submitted must be translated into Russian (or Belarusian) and that the processing, in most cases, will require time. (The application fee and marriage registration service fee is about $7 charged in local currency, and subject to minor cost fluctuations.)
Marriage registration is preceded by filing a marriage application with the ZAGS assigned to the area where the Belarusian fiancé(e) resides. Applications should be filed by both fiancé(e)s who certify their intention to get married by signing the application in the presence of a ZAGS representative. According to Belarusian laws, a marriage can not be registered sooner than 3 or later than 90 calendar days after it was applied for.
Below is a list of documents to be submitted to the registrar's office (ZAGS) by the engaged couple:
Passport translated into Russian: translation must be notarized by a local notary public.
Certificate of Free Status (Certificate of Non-Impediment) - required of all foreigners marrying in Belarus. ZAGS offices generally accept an "Affidavit of Free Status" executed before an American Consul in Belarus or before a notary public in the U.S. In the latter case, the affidavit should be translated into Russian and authenticated in accordance with the Hague Legalization Convention, and bear an apostille. See the State Department web site for additional information on the Hague Legalization Convention and its procedures. Documents issued in the U.S. can be authenticated only in the U.S. The state where the document is issued will need to affix the apostille.
In case the "Certificate of Free Status" lists the American fiancé(e)'s status as "divorced" or "widowed" a divorce decree or death certificate is required. In both instances the document must be translated into Russian and have an apostille affixed to it.
After the marriage is performed, a marriage certificate will be issued by ZAGS. For further use outside Belarus, the certificate should bear an apostille from the Consular Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus in Minsk (37a Karl Marx Street, Minsk 220030, tel. +375 (172) 222661; an equivalent of $12 is charged in local currency for each apostille) or at the appropriate Belarusian consulate abroad. We recommend that you do this in Minsk, as otherwise the cost can be prohibitive.
Prior to travel to Belarus, U.S. citizens are urged to review the Consular Information Sheet, and any pertinent Public Announcements or Travel Warnings.
For additional information on fiancé(e) or immigrant visas for a spouse see http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_2991.html.
All downloadable documents on this page are provided in PDF format. To view PDFs you must have a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader. You may download a free version by clicking the link above.