Getting married in Moscow
If you're planning a wedding in Moscow, here's a guide on regulations and procedures for expats getting married in Moscow.
This information on getting married in Moscow was provided by the British embassy in Moscow and was intended for British nationals. However, the steps can easily be applied for any expat looking to get married in Moscow.
Preparing for marriage in Moscow
British citizens who wish to marry in Russia must first obtain a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage (CNI) to present to the Russian marriage registrar. The certificate can be issued either in the UK by a district superintendent registrar or by a British Embassy Consulate in Moscow. A notice of marriage will have to be displayed for 21 days before the registrar will issue a CNI.
To complete a Notice of Marriage it is also necessary to have been resident in the Moscow consular district for at least 21 days since arrival in Russia. You will need to make an appointment with a Consular Officer to swear an affidavit and sign the notice. The CNI will be issued in English, but can be translated at a local Russian translation office (working in liaison with a Notary Public) or at the Consular Section of the British Embassy in Moscow.
If you wish to have the CNI issued at the British Embassy in Moscow, the following documents are required:
- your passport (containing your Russian visa and registration);
- evidence of the termination of any previous marriage for both partners i.e. divorce decree absolute or death certificate (if applicable) of former spouse;
- your fiancé(e)’s internal passport.
It is important to plan well ahead if you want to obtain the CNI in Moscow as there are the two qualifying periods of 21 days to consider.
If issued from the embassy, the CNI will be in Russian. It will be considered valid by the Russian officials for three months from the date of issue. Once issued, it should be legalised with Apostile stamp at a legalisation office as soon as possible.
After the Certificate of No Impediment is issued, it is necessary to have the signature of the consular officer attested at the Legalisation Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. You must visit the Legalisation Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in person in order to legalise the Certificate of No Impediment. This normally takes them five working days. Once these procedures are complete you should make an appointment for the marriage to take place, usually between one and three months later, at a Registry Office in the district of your fiancé(e)'s permanent residence. If your fiancé(e) is a resident (or registered) in Moscow you have to make arrangements at the Palace of Marriages.
If you are a British Citizen normally resident in a country other than the UK or Russia you can arrange to display a notice of marriage at your nearest British Consulate. The CNI can then be issued. Check with them first for details of what is required.
There is provision under UK law for the transmission of foreign marriage certificates of British Citizens (together with certified translations into English) to the Registrars-General in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland, according to the part of the UK to which the British Citizen concerned belongs. However, two points should be made clear:
- The marriage is not registered in the UK; the marriage certificate is simply deposited for record purposes only. This means that the original certificate is not returned to the applicant.
- There is no legal obligation to have a marriage recorded in the UK. The parties may take advantage of these facilities if they consider that it would serve some useful purpose to have their marriage recorded in the UK but the validity in English law of a marriage contracted in Russia is in no way affected by it having been, or not having been, so recorded.
The procedure for deposit of a marriage certificate is as follows: The British party to the marriage must provide a consular officer in the district where the marriage has taken place with the marriage certificate issued by the appropriate local authority, together with a translation into English which should be certified by a Consular officer. The consular officer will then send the marriage record to the appropriate Registrar-General.
British embassy in Moscow / Expatica
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