Marital status change (when married abroad)

Hello to the new forum crowd.
Thank you for creating this sequel to the EF.

I have a question or two regarding change of marital status, when being a resident in CH, but getting married abroad.

  1. What documentation is necessary to provide as proof of marriage - just a translated and notaried marriage certificate (also does it have to be DE/FR/IT, or is EN fine?), or something else too?
  2. Which recipients should be notified, other than the cantonal office (is that the civil registry?) and the company I work for? (E.g. AHV too, someone else?)

Appreciate any references.
My googling for precise info was mostly fruitless.

Many thanks!


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If both people are foreigners just living in CH (non Swiss, non Swiss-born, no child born in Switzerland, in other words, do not have any events with the Swiss civil registry in the past), you just have to take the documents to the town hall.

If you have an entry in the Swiss civil registry, then this need to be changed. The procedure must begin with the Swiss embassy where the marriage took place, but if this is not feasible you can start it from Switzerland (at an extra cost, they will send the documents to the embassy for you).

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This is indeed our situation.
Thanks, so the starting point is the cantonal town hall.
“The documents” is the translated marriage certificate (+IDs etc.), in the language of the canton, I suppose?

It’s always good to have an Apostile of the marriage certificate. I’ve been amazed at the number of times we’ve needed this, especially as I kept my maiden name.


If you live in Switzerland, but decide to get married abroad, you must follow a specific procedure. In particular, you must:

Recognition of marriage 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."

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When we were married in the NL nearly 30 years ago, we were told to ask for an international marriage license. This is a grid like form and the names of the fields are translated into something like 10 languages. This was to satisfy the US immigration people, but something like this might also be acceptable for the Swiss. In order to marry in the NL, I had to use an apostile for all sorts of documents (birth certificate, for example).

When we moved to CH in 2007, all I needed was this marriage license and my passport.

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Marriage certificate with apostille from the country of marriage + translation in the official languages or in English they accept …

If you anticipate that a baby will be born in Switzerland soon, then you also will need a recent copy of your birth certificate(s), when the time comes, in order to register the birth (and then you will be put on the swiss civil registry, as the parents of a swiss-born child). Just in case…

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