Getting married or partnering up
If you're thinking of tying the knot, getting hitched, or jumping the broom in Luxembourg, here's a guide on how it's done in the Grand Duchy.
Around 2,000 people get married in Luxembourg each year, with around 10% of marriages uniting Luxembourgers with non-Luxembourgers. The City is still the most popular place to get married, and around 50 same-sex marriages take place every year.
Before you waltz down the aisle though, consider that in Luxembourg religious marriage alone is not enough and you must enter into a civil marriage.
Who can marry?
Two persons of different or the same gender may marry, and the same formalities apply to anyone wishing to marry in the Grand Duchy regardless of their nationality. However, to be permitted to marry here, you must be at least 18 years of age and one of you must be an official resident of Luxembourg. In some instances, it may be possible for a minor to marry but authorisation will be required.
How long does it take?
It's recommended that you start preparing for a civil marriage no later than three months before your marriage date if you are not a Luxembourgish national, and allow two months if you are Luxembourgish nationals. The marriage ceremony may only take place in the commune in which either one of the future spouses legally resides.
What you need to do:
- One partner should go to the commune civil registrar with ID cards or passports for both partners. They will be given the necessary forms and information on supporting documentation that will be required. All supporting documentation must be in French, English or German. If your existing documentation is not in one of these languages you must obtain a translation from a list of "sworn" translators (which you can request from the Ministry of Justice).
- All required documentation must be submitted to the civil registrar's office no later than one month before the date of marriage.
- Proof of identity (passport or ID card).
- A full copy of your birth certificates, which must mention the names of your parents, and must be dated less than six months prior to submission.
- A residency certificate.
- Proof of single status. This is included in Luxembourgish birth certificates, but foreign nationals may need to get a certificate of legal capacity to marry or certificate of single status. A good place to start will be your national embassy but you may need to travel to your home country.
- If you are widowed, you'll need to provide a death certificate for your previous spouse.
- If you have children from a previous marriage, they will need to be recognised by the future father or mother before the marriage takes place.
- If you are divorced you will need to present a divorce judgement. Depending on where and when you got divorced you may need this judgement to be enforced by the Luxembourg Court.
Other information for the forms:
- The date and place of birth of both sets of parents, their home countries and professions. If a parent is deceased, the date and place of death must be indicated.
- Your national identification numbers (13 digit social security number or matricule).
- The number of people who will attend the civil marriage (this may be limited due to Covid-19 restrictions).
- Your joint address following marriage.
There are special provisions concerning German, Italian and Portuguese nationals. In order to marry in Luxembourg, asylum seekers who are not yet recognised as residents must prove their current marital status by producing a certificate attesting to it issued by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.
Publishing the banns and the ceremony
Ten days before the date, the commune will publish the banns (marriage proclamation) in the communes of your residence. The wedding must then take place within a year of the publishing of the banns and can be held on any working day of the week. The civil registrar at your commune will carry out the ceremony, and it is this civil marriage that will be recognised by the law in Luxembourg.
If you would like another ceremony, religious or other, you can organise this to take place after the civil one.
If you have an employment contract in Luxembourg you are entitled to three days' special paid leave.
From a legal point of view there are three marriage contracts in Luxembourg – the statutory one, separate ownership of property, and the universal joint ownership of property. In the absence of a specified contract, the statutory regime will automatically apply.
Under the statutory regime, financial wealth and assets such as cars are considered jointly owned. A home purchased before the date of marriage remains the property of the spouse who bought it, as do any personal items and inherited property.
A married couple has the right to adopt a different regime at a later date. Similarly, spouses who opted for a certain marriage contract such as the universal community of property may, after two years of marriage, change this contract to provide for the separation of property.
On marriage, you will receive new tax cards. Married taxpayers can opt to be taxed collectively, individually, or individually with reallocation of income between spouses. In the past, both spouses who married would automatically join tax class 2. On this basis, tax is calculated using a "splitting" method, whereby the two incomes of the spouses are added up, divided by two and the basic rate in class 1 applied to each half. Married couples are jointly liable for payment of tax.
Since the 2018 tax year, married couples can choose to be taxed individually (pure or reallocation of personal tax) and remain in tax class 1. You can find out more about filing taxes in Luxembourg here.
In Luxembourg the bride keeps her maiden name after marriage. In practice, the married woman may use her husband's name or add it to her maiden name. Legally, the officially recognised names are those written on the civil register so if you want to change your name, you must do so by written application to the Ministry of Justice.
Civil Partnership (PACS)
If you want to live together without marrying but have a legal recognition of your domestic arrangements and legal security in civil matters relating to tax or social security, you can apply for a civil partnership.
You declare your partnership by appearing before the civil registrar of your commune to jointly certify this partnership. You must be legally resident in Luxembourg to do this.
Civil partnerships are prohibited among minors or protected adults, those already bound by another marriage or partnership, or those related by blood.
What you need to do:
As with a civil marriage, all documents must be in French, German or English or be translated by a sworn translator from the Ministry of Justice.
- Produce valid ID card or passport.
- Produce full copy of both birth certificates which must be less than six months old if issued abroad, and less than three months old if issued in Luxembourg or France.
- Your common legal domicile will be checked by the civil registrar.
- You will sign a statement in the presence of the civil registrar or a notary that there is no relationship by blood or marriage that would constitute a legal obstacle to the registration of the partnership.
If you were not born in Luxembourg you will also need a certificate attesting that neither partner has registered a partnership with someone else in Luxembourg. You can apply for this by sending a letter to the Cité Judiciaire, Public Prosecutor's Office, Civil Register, L-2080 Luxembourg.
The letter should mention the given names and surnames, marital status and address of the partners, and be accompanied by photocopies of their social security identification cards and identity cards or passports. It should be signed by both partners.
Non-Luxembourg nationals will also need a certificate that they are not in a partnership or form of domestic arrangement in their country of origin. This can be obtained from an embassy or consulate or in the country of origin.
If you are divorced you will need a certificate of the dissolution of the marriage if this is not on your birth certificate. Widowed persons will need a death certificate of their former spouse, and those who have dissolved a former partnership will need evidence of this.
Since supporting documents may vary depending on the situation of individuals, the government advises that you discuss the matter with the civil registrar of the commune in which you reside in advance.
The civil registrar will check that both partners satisfy the conditions stipulated by law, and record the declaration of civil partnership on paper providing each partner with a certificate. The declaration will also be forwarded to the Public Prosecutor's Office within three days and recorded on the civil register, when it will enter into force.
It's important to note that neither the agreement nor the submitted supporting documents are kept by the civil registrar, but will be returned to you for safekeeping.
Entering into a property settlement agreement is not required by law but an option exists to do this. In the absence of an agreement, partners are obliged to provide each other with material assistance and to contribute to the expenses of the partnership in proportion to their respective abilities. They will be held jointly liable for third party debts including expenses on their home, and they cannot dispose of the common home without the consent of both partners.
Luxembourg offers a number of locations and venues to throw a wedding party after the ceremony and some choose to call in a wedding planner to help with the months of organising. (Please note that due to Covid-19 restrictions many venues remain closed).