Marrying as expats abroad: what to pay attention to?

07 / 02 / 2019 Chantal van Baalen - Van IJzendoorn

If you are cohabitating with your partner as expats abroad and you plan to marry or enter into a registered partnership, there are a number of issues to address.

Marrying in the Netherlands

It is possible to marry or enter into a registered partnership in the Netherlands as expats living abroad. You can choose in which municipality you want to marry.

To be able to marry in the Netherlands, you must first file a statement with the city of The Hague. You then state that you ‘intend to marry each other or enter into a registered partnership’. This statement remains valid for one year. This means that the marriage or registered partnership must have been celebrated/entered into within one year.

Furthermore, you should pay attention to the following:

  • You and your partner must both live abroad.
  • At least one of you must have Dutch nationality.
  • There must be at least a period of two weeks between the report and the celebration of the marriage/entering into the registered partnership.
  • Neither you nor your partner may be under guardianship. If this is the case, the permission of the sub-district court is required.

After the statement, the city of The Hague will forward your intention to the municipality you have chosen for the marriage to be celebrated, which will then contact you to determine which documents you should still submit to be able to celebrate the marriage or to enter into the registered partnership. Which documents you must submit, inter alia, depends on the country where you live and your and your partner’s nationality.

Marrying abroad

Do you want to marry abroad as expats instead of in the Netherlands? Then you should first check in the country of residence if you are allowed to married in that country as a foreigner. You can do this with the relevant body authorised to celebrate marriages in that country. They can tell you which documents you will need to marry. You cannot go to the Dutch embassy for this.

In some countries you will need a certificate of no impediment. This is an international document stating that you can marry each other according to the Dutch law. If you are living abroad as expats, you can request this document with the municipality of your last registration in the Netherlands.

For more information about marrying in a specific country, please consult the website

Registering a foreign marriage in the Netherlands

Did you marry abroad and intend to return to the Netherlands in the future? Then it may be wise to have your foreign marriage certificate converted to a Dutch certificate in the registers of births, marriages and deaths of the city of The Hague.

To do so, the marriage certificate must first have been legalised or provided with an Apostille stamp. If the marriage certificate is not in English, French, German or Dutch, an official translation is required as well.

After your return to the Netherlands, you are legally obliged to register your marriage or partnership in the Key Register of Persons (BRP) of your municipality of residence.

Divorcing as expats from abroad

One out of three marriages ends in divorce. If you married abroad and want to divorce, it is good to know that the marriage can be dissolved in the Netherlands.

How this is done you can read in our blog: Can a foreign marriage be dissolved in the Netherlands?

There also are possibilities to divorce if one partner lives abroad. The complexity of such a divorce, inter alia, depends on your and your partner’s nationalities, your matrimonial property regime and the question whether there is a unilateral or joint application for divorce. Read more about it in the blog: Divorcing a partner who lives abroad.

Divorce lawyer

Do you have any questions as a result of this article, or would you like to know more about an international divorce? A divorce lawyer from LINK Advocaten will be happy to help you. We have ample experience with international family law. Please contact us for more information.

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