In Switzerland, in order to get married, you and your future spouse must first meet a number of conditions:
you must be at least 18 years old
you must have legal capacity
you must not already be married or be in a registered partnership
If you are not Swiss, you must have the correct entry visa for your country of origin in order to stay in Switzerland legally until you are married
If you fulfil these conditions, you can notify the civil register office at your place of residence of your intention to get married.
The civil register office will ask you to fill in a marriage application form and will tell you what other documents you need to submit.
After completing the necessary paperwork for your civil marriage, if everything is in order, you will receive a marriage licence from the civil register office. The licence is valid for three months.
You can get married at the civil register office at your place of residence or at a Swiss civil register office of your choice.
The ceremony must be attended by two witnesses, who must be over the age of 18 and have legal capacity.
At the end of the ceremony, you will receive a marriage certificate; this document certifies in particular the names of the bride and groom before and after the marriage ceremony, as well as the place and the date of the wedding.
After the civil ceremony, if you wish, you can also have a religious ceremony. Ask your religious community about this.
In Switzerland, the costs of a civil ceremony are between 300 and 400 francs (documents, civil ceremony). If you have special requests, such as getting married on a Saturday, the costs may increase.
To find out how much a religious ceremony costs, you must ask your religious community.
Switzerland has complex rules about names: spouses can keep their surnames even after marriage, or decide to share a surname, choosing that of either one of the spouses.
A double surname (both the wife and the husband's surname, such as "Rossi Bernasconi") is not permitted.
However, adding a hyphen between the surname of the wife and that of the husband (e.g. Rossi-Bernasconi) makes a difference: the surname is permitted, but may not be entered in the civil status register. You can use your hyphenated double surname in your everyday life and, if you request it, it can even be entered on your passport and other identity documents.
After the wedding, your new civil status will be «married».
You must give notice of your change of civil status, as well as any change of surname, to the communal administration, the cantonal tax authorities, your employer, your bank, the post office and your insurance companies.
If you live in Switzerland, but decide to get married abroad, you must follow a specific procedure. In particular, you must:
Ask the civil register office at the place where you want to get married which documents you need to bring from Switzerland.
Inform the Swiss embassy/consulate in the foreign country concerned that you intend to get married there.
Ask the authority responsible for migration in your canton of residence or the Swiss embassy or consulate abroad about the conditions of entry and residence in Switzerland that will apply to your future spouse if they are not Swiss and do not already live in Switzerland.
If either you or your spouse are Swiss, you must send the documents received at the end of the ceremony abroad to the Swiss embassy or consulate in the country concerned, which will forward them to the civil status office in your commune of origin.
If you or your spouse are not Swiss, additional documents are generally required. Ask the Swiss representation in the country in which you wish to get married in good time about the documents that are needed.
If neither you nor your spouse are Swiss, you should contact the migration authority in your canton of residence, which is responsible for the procedure for recognising your marriage.
For further general information on marriage, on the procedure for preparing to get married in Switzerland or abroad and on the choice of surname, please refer to the information on the following pages (links only available e in German):
To obtain information specific to your own circumstances when getting married, contact a lawyer, the civil register office in your commune of residence or the local Swiss representation if you are getting married abroad.