Civil wedding – formalities and documents required in order to contract marriage

The foreigner is obliged to provide the Registrar General with the following documents:

  • certificate of marital capability issued by the relevant authority in, or by the diplomatic representation of, the foreigner’s country of origin – or a decision of a district court exempting from the obligation to submit such certificate,
  • proof of identity (available for inspection), e.g.:
    • valid passport
    • if the foreigner resides in Poland – temporary residence card, permanent residence card or long-term EU resident’s card,
    • if the foreigner has a refugee status in Poland – the Geneva Travel Document issued by the Head of the Office for Foreigners,
  • proof of payment of stamp duty in the amount of PLN 84 to the account of the office where the ceremony will be held.

Additional documents, applicable to both parties:

  • in case of widowers – abridged copy of a death certificate or a copy of a legally binding court decision declaring the previous spouse dead;
  • in case of divorcees – abridged copy of a marriage certificate with an endorsement regarding the divorce or a legally binding court decision declaring the divorce;
  • in case of persons whose marriage has been cancelled— abridged copy of a marriage certificate with an endorsement regarding the cancellation or a legally binding court decision declaring the cancellation;
  • in case of persons whose marriage has been declared void— abridged copy of a marriage certificate with an endorsement regarding the cancellation or a legally binding court decision voiding the marriage.

If the decisions referred to above were issued by a foreign court (or other foreign authorities), the Registrar General may only marry the couple in question if the decisions are applicable in Poland. Decisions of foreign courts issued in civil law cases are recognized by virtue of law, unless the obstacles referred to in Article 1146 of the Polish Code of Civil Procedure (Kodeksu Postępowania Cywilnego) arise, e.g. if the decision is not legally binding in the country in which it was issued or if the decision is not subject to recognition, as it would be contrary to the fundamental principles of the legal order of the Republic of Poland.

If the abovementioned decisions need to be recognized in the territory of the Republic of Poland, the Registrar General must be provided with a decision of a regional court stating that the decision in question is subject to recognition. It follows from the prior requirement to submit an application for establishing the enforceability of the foreign decision. Said application is subject to a fixed fee in the amount of PLN 300 (cf. Article 24 sec. 1 of the Act on court fees in civil law cases) art. 24 ust. 1 ustawa o kosztach sądowych w sprawach cywilnych), and must be submitted to the competent regional court together with the required appendices, in accordance with Article 1447 and the following of the Polish code of civil procedure.

  • In case of minors (woman aged 16-18, man under 21) – consent of a family court to the conclusion of marriage;
  • declaration regarding the surname of the spouses after the wedding and of the surname selected by the children of the marriage;
  • written declaration of both the bride and the groom that they are unaware of the existence of any impediments to marriage (the form is filled out on site, at the civil registry office).

A sworn translation to Polish must be enclosed with each document in a foreign language.

Attention! Foreigners who are not fluent Polish speakers should appear at the civil registry office accompanied by a sworn translator, who must also be present during the wedding.

List of sworn translators Lista tłumaczy przysięgłych

The marriage may be contracted, at the earliest, upon the lapse of 1 month of the submission of the documents at the civil registry office. The Registrar General may grant consent to the conclusion of marriage before the lapse of said deadline where the circumstances of the case make that advisable, e.g. if the life of the bride or of the groom is in danger.

On the basis of the documents provided and of the written declarations, the Registrar General draws up a certificate (zaświadczenie) of no impediment to marriage. It is issued to the fiancés for the purposes of a concordat wedding or remains at the office if the couple wishes to enter into civil marriage. The certificate is valid for a period of 6 months and upon the ineffective lapse of such deadline, the couple concerned must apply again for a new certificate (Article 41 of the Family and Guardianship Code Kodeksu rodzinnego i opiekuńczego).

Witnesses of a civil wedding must be adults, they must bring a proof of identity, and speak Polish (if they do not, they must be accompanied by a sworn translator). The witnesses may be of the same sex.
The Registrar General draws up a marriage certificate immediately after the marriage is contracted.

Official acts performed by the Registrar General, as well as the certificates, copies and permits issued, are subject to stamp duty. You need to be prepared to pay the following amounts:

  • stamp duty for drawing up a marriage certificate – PLN 84;
  • fee for each presented abridged copy (e.g. copy of a marriage certificate with an endorsement regarding divorce, copy of the spouse’s death certificate) – PLN 22;
  • payment for the certificate of legal capacity of the citizens of Poland to contract marriage outside the country – PLN 38;
  • payment for the decision reducing the monthly waiting period before the marriage is contracted – PLN 39.

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Project “New law - my new rights” is co-financed by European Fund for Integration
of Third Country Nationals and Polands state budget

 Copyright © by Foundation for Development Beyond Borders, 2015