Getting Married in Austria
US citizens may get married in Austria. However, the procedure requires time and thorough preparation. Therefore, US residents contemplating marriage in Austria should be familiar with the following requirements:
1) Legal Age for Marriage:
The legal age for both men and women is 18. Individuals of at least 16 years of age may also marry provided that written, notarized consent from both parents is presented and if the other spouse is at least 18 years old.
2) Required Documents:
b. Birth Certificate (original or certified copy)
c. Driver's License or similar document that indicates the address of residence of the party concerned.
d. A residence registration form ("Meldezettel") issued by the Austrian authorities after arrival, unless the applicants are staying at a hotel, youth hostel etc.
e. Documentary proof of dissolution of previous marriage(s), if any, e.g., final divorce or annulment decrees (Mexican divorces are usually not recognized in Austria) or death certificate(s) of previous spouse(s). The marriage certificate(s) of such previous marriage(s) is/are also usually required.
f. U.S. certificate of no impediment to marriage (Ehefähigkeitszeugnis)
Documents (other than passports and driver's licenses) issued in languages other than German must be accompanied by certified translations done by an official translator. Furthermore, certain US documents (e.g. birth certificate) may also have to be certified and accompanied by an apostille.
3) Place of Marriage:
Only civil marriages are legal in Austria. They may however be followed by voluntary religious ceremonies if desired. Civil marriages are performed by officials of the Vital Statistics Office (Standesamt) in the appropriate jurisdiction. The ceremony takes place at the Standesamt.
Both marriage partners - bringing with them the required documents listed above - should apply in person at the Vital Statistics Office (Standesamt) in charge. The office will forward the documents to the Superior Court (Oberlandesgericht) in charge for approval. Upon reception of the court fees, the file will be returned to the Vital Statistics Office, which then schedules the date of the wedding (you may encounter difficulties making appointments during major bank holidays). The fees for the various procedures and services involved may amount to €300.00. The wedding ceremony itself takes approximately 15 minutes. In the case of insufficient German language skills on the part of one or both marriage partners, they will have to hire an Austrian interpreter at their own expense.
Please be advised that you need an apostille attached to your Austrian marriage certificate since it will otherwise not be accepted by the authorities in the US. You should apply for an apostille at the Vital Statistics Office (Standesamt) where your marriage ceremony is to take place.
5) Time required to complete application process:
Although Austrian law does not require a period of residence in Austria prior to the marriage, the administrative procedures involved usually require two to four weeks to complete.
Please note, that the information provided in this article should be regarded as a general guideline. The responsible civil registry may require additional documents on a case by case basis.
For additional information, US citizens can also contact the US Embassy, American Citizen Services, Gartenbaupromenade 2, A-1010 Vienna; Phone: 01143 1 313 39 7575; Fax: 01143 1 512 5835; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
7) Validity of Austrian marriages:
Legally binding advice regarding the validity of an Austrian marriage in the United States can be obtained only from an attorney or an official in the appropriate state. However, marriages legally performed in Austria are generally recognized in the United States.