Getting married in Turkey: What you need to know
Whether your spouse-to-be is Turkish or you’d just like to book a wedding in a beautiful location, good news: you can get married in Turkey as a foreign national.
As with all countries, to get married in Turkey, there are some primary conditions.
- You must be at least 18 years of age to marry.
- You must not have a mental illness that deems you unfit for marriage. (capacity to marry)
- You and your future spouse must not be close relatives. (absence of consanguinity)
- If you have been previously married in another country, you must prove divorce or marriage dissolution before you register for marriage in Turkey.
- If you are a (Turkish) woman and your marriage has recently been dissolved, you have to wait 300 days (9 months) from the date of dissolution to remarry in Turkey.
To be legally recognized, all marriages in Turkey must be performed under the Turkish Civil Code’s authority.
Weddings are officiated by the mayor or officers appointed by the mayor in places where there is a municipality, by the town headman (muhtar) in villages.
If your own country doesn’t allow you to be married, Turkey will not allow it either.
According to Turkish Family Law:
- Monogamy is an essential principle. Only a man and a woman can marry. Polygamy is illegal and has a penalty of up to 2 years imprisonment.
- Religious weddings are not legally binding. Turkey does not recognize religious ceremonies hence you will first need to register for a civil marriage and then hold a religious ceremony or blessing.
THINGS TO KNOW
As a foreign national, you can marry either in the offices of your own country's embassy or consulate in Turkey or in marriage offices (evlendirme dairesi) run by local municipalities.
Before the ceremony
- Make sure you arrive at least 3 to 7 days before the marriage ceremony to collect your documents and get your medical tests done in time.
- If you or your spouse are foreigners and do not speak Turkish, you must have a translator present during the ceremony.
During/after the civil ceremony
- You must have 2 witnesses present during the ceremony. If you are a Turkish citizen, these cannot be family members.
- If you want to hold a religious ceremony, it must happen after the civil registration of the marriage.
If you are a foreigner getting married to another foreigner in Turkey
…and both are of the same nationality:
Your marriage can be conducted either by Turkish authorities or by your country’s embassy or consulate officials. Not all countries’ consular officials will do this; for example, the U.S. embassy does not perform marriages.
…and are of different nationalities:
If you and your spouse are of different nationalities, and neither of you is a Turkish citizen, your marriage ceremony must be conducted by a Turkish official.
If you are a foreigner marrying a Turk:
Your Turkish spouse must be able to prove their residency and citizenship. Your marriage must be conducted by a Turkish official to be valid.
DOCUMENTS YOU’LL NEED
You must provide the following documents to your local Marriage Registration Office to get married:
- Marriage declaration form (evlenme beyannamesi)
This is your first step and will be provided by the registry office. You must have 2 copies in Turkish, and both of you must sign them.
- Five passport-sized recent photographs
- Your passport and its photocopy
- Residence permit (when applicable)
- Permit to get married
This is issued by your country’s embassy or consulate in Turkey and is known as the Certificate of Celibacy/Certificate of Capacity to Marry/Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry/Certificate of No Impediment, called “Evlenme Ehliyet Belgesi” in Turkish*
- Birth certificate (if the marriage permit issued by your country does not contain your mother and father’s names)
- Divorce certificate/decree absolute
- Medical report** (issued by a state medical institution such as family doctors at the sağlık ocağı or a devlet hastanesi)
* You will have to fill in and print out the form and then sign it in the presence of notary officials.
**You will be given a general medical exam and be asked to take a blood test. You may also be asked to provide a chest x-ray, as is also customary for work permits.
You will need to get any non-Turkish documents translated and then notarized or apostilled to be accepted by authorities.
You do not need to have residency; a valid tourist visa will suffice.
Don’t forget: Both sides will have to file these documents for marriage registration, regardless of citizenship.
Question: Where can I obtain a certificate of celibacy to get married in Turkey?
This document, which states whether you are single, divorced or a widow, can be obtained from your country’s embassy or local consular office in Turkey. If you obtain this certificate from the Istanbul consulate, it must be approved by the Legal Affairs Directorate of the Governorship of Istanbul, and by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs if it is from Ankara.
If you are not a resident in Turkey, you will have to ask your local municipal office back home and then get it translated and certified by the Turkish embassy in your country with an apostille.
Question: Why do I need to have a blood test before marriage?
You will be asked to undergo a medical exam and a blood test to determine your blood type and rule out any venereal diseases such as HIV, gonorrhoea, syphilis and hepatitis B and C, genetic disorders such as thalassemia and sickle-cell anemia, or contagious diseases like rubella.
Question: Will I need to register my marriage in my home country after getting married in Turkey?
No, you won’t. All marriages registered in Turkey are recognized internationally.
Question: Will I automatically get Turkish citizenship when I marry a Turk?
No, Turkish citizenship cannot be acquired immediately via marriage. After having been married to a Turk for at least 3 years, you can apply for citizenship.
If you have more questions, please give us a call.