For “Registered Partnerships” please click here (PDF 40 KB).

This information sheet is for American citizens who wish to marry within the Embassy’s consular district. The Swiss civil registrars in Basel, Bern, Lausanne and Geneva have provided the information. Although we believe this information to be accurate, the only definitive statement of requirements for marriage is that given by the Swiss civil registrar in the town or city where you wish to be married. Swiss law precludes a consular officer from performing marriages. The performance of marriage in Switzerland is exclusively a function of the Swiss civil authorities (i.e. the civil registrar). Only a civil marriage has legal status. A religious ceremony may be held after the civil marriage.

Swiss Documentary Requirements for all U. S. Citizens

  • Birth Certificate. You must have a certified copy of your birth certificate, translated into German/French/Italian, issued within the last six months (original birth certificate is not accepted). It must show your full name, date and place of birth, and the full names of your parents, including your mother’s maiden name. If you do not have a copy of your birth certificate, check out to find out how to obtain a duplicate.
  • U.S. passport. A valid passport is required, except for military personnel.
  • Affidavit. Each U.S. Citizen must execute an affidavit before a U.S. consular officer, or a notary public in the United States, in which he states under oath that he is legally free to marry.  You should present your U.S. passport and, if applicable, evidence of termination of previous marriage(s).  You can apply for the affidavit at the Embassy in Bern or the Consular Agencies in Geneva and Zurich. The cost is US $50.00 or 50 Swiss Francs (CHF).

All of the required documents must be presented at the time of application.

Additional Documents for Some Americans

  • Military or civilian employees of the Armed Forces
    a) A military ID card is required; b) Written authorization to marry issued by the commanding officer must be presented.
  • Divorced or widowed. Divorced or widowed persons must present a certified copy of the divorce decree or death certificate. If divorced, the applicant must show that the divorce is legally effective in his state of domicile in the United States. The divorce decree must state the date it became effective, that is, the final decree, not the interlocutory decree. In addition, a certificate of the previous marriage may be required.
  • Under Age. A written statement of consent by the parents signed before a notary public is required. The determination if you are under age will be based on the laws of the state of domicile in the United States. Females and males under 18 years of age cannot be married in Switzerland. This is Swiss law.

General Information

You should contact the civil registrar in the city or town where you wish to be married for information concerning fees, witnesses and the translation of documents. No period of residence in Switzerland is required for marriage by a civil registrar. The waiting period after the documents are submitted to the civil registrar can last up to 5 weeks to allow for the publication of bans. The addresses of the main civil registrars’ offices are: