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Old 08.06.2011, 11:40
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Swiss National Marrying Fiancé from Northern Ireland

Hello,

I have a tricky situation here that has us stumped!

I am from Northern Ireland and am at present staying in Cape Town, South Africa with my Swiss Fiancée. We are planning on getting married in August in Geneva.

The Swiss authorities need a letter of no impediment before I can get married, otherwise known as a Certificat de Coutume that states I can legally marry.

I have contacted my local council in Northern Ireland who say that they can issue this letter, called a Capacity to Marry form - but I have to collect it in person. This is a real problem for me as I am not returning to Ireland anytime soon and cannot make the trip from South Africa just to pick up a form....

I have contacted the British Consulate here in Cape Town but they don't issue them.
I have also contacted the Irish embassy here as I also hold an Irish passport - but their jurisdiction stops ant the NI border.

Has anyone else been in this situation from Northern Ireland or the UK?? I have heard that the Swiss authorities might accept a "sworn statement" from me stating that I am eligible to marry, and we are waiting to hear back from them on this.

Any help or advice you can offer me will be greatly received!
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Old 08.06.2011, 11:43
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Re: Swiss National Marrying Fiancé from Northern Ireland

I had to swear that I was still single at the British Consulate but that was a long time ago.

Hope you get it sorted out.
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Old 08.06.2011, 11:52
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Re: Swiss National Marrying Fiancé from Northern Ireland

Thanks Longbyt - did you go to a British Consulate in Switzerland? Can you tell me what you had to bring with you and how long the process took?

Many thanks!
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Old 08.06.2011, 11:59
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Re: Swiss National Marrying Fiancé from Northern Ireland

Sorry - it's simply too long ago to remember much about it. The process itself certainly only took a few minutes but I cannot remember needing any paperwork except my Passport and my Birth Certificate. (I think they kept the original, so later I had to get myself another 'certified' copy for other things).

At that time the British had an 'outpost' in Basel so I could go there.
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Old 08.06.2011, 12:06
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Re: Swiss National Marrying Fiancé from Northern Ireland

Ok thanks - I'm trying to get in touch with the Embassy in Bern at the moment to see if they can help me out.

Thanks for your advice
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Old 08.06.2011, 12:10
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Re: Swiss National Marrying Fiancé from Northern Ireland

As UK consular documents are issued from Geneva you may need to go there, not Bern which is just the embassy.

However as an Irish citizen you can also avail of the following:

"To apply for a Certificate of Freedom to Marry, Irish citizens living abroad should contact their nearest Irish embassy or the Consular Section of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Irish citizens living in Ireland should apply to the Consular Section of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. If you are getting married in Italy for example, your Certificate of Freedom to Marry will be sent by the Department to the Irish embassy in Rome who will then forward it to the district where you will be married. In most other cases, the Certificate of Freedom to Marry will be issued by the Department and sent directly to you."

http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en...ed_abroad.html

Bear in mind, if you get married in Geneva with the Irish certificate you'll have to register in Switzerland as an Irish national initially. You can change this after receiving your first permit to British if you like later, but need to be initially Irish if presenting Irish documentation.

Where To Apply
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Consular Services
69-71 St. Stephen’s Green
Dublin 2
Ireland
Tel: +353 1 478 0822
Homepage: http://www.dfa.ie/home/index.aspx?id=301
For a Certificate of Freedom to Marry Abroad contact the Consular Section at +353 1 408 2568

Last edited by magyir; 08.06.2011 at 12:17. Reason: additional info
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Old 08.06.2011, 12:47
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Re: Swiss National Marrying Fiancé from Northern Ireland

Thanks for the info - I did contact the Irish Embassy here but they said they couldn't help me as I am from Northern Ireland which is part of the UK.

I'm kinda stuck in no-man's land!

I can't apply to Dublin as I am not in Ireland to provide them with the documents then will need. I have emailed the Irish embassy in Bern to plead for assistance - but I will also try the consulate in Geneva, thanks for the tip!
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Old 08.06.2011, 14:11
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Re: Swiss National Marrying Fiancé from Northern Ireland

Or you could just jump on Easyjet once you get to Geneva to pick it up in person, the flight would probably work out cheaper than a train journey up to Berne.

and then you could bring me back some potato farls, Veda bread, bacon, sausages.....!!!!

Just a thought...
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Old 08.06.2011, 19:38
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Re: Swiss National Marrying Fiancé from Northern Ireland

Did you tell the Irish embassy that you hold an Irish passport? If you have an Irish passport it doesn't make any difference if you are originally from NI or Japan.
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Old 09.06.2011, 09:19
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Re: Swiss National Marrying Fiancé from Northern Ireland

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Or you could just jump on Easyjet once you get to Geneva to pick it up in person, the flight would probably work out cheaper than a train journey up to Berne.

and then you could bring me back some potato farls, Veda bread, bacon, sausages.....!!!!

Just a thought...
As good a reason as any to head back!! Unfortunately though, as my Fiancée is now registered here in Cape Town (something apparently Swiss people have to do if they are not living in Switzerland) we are forced to hand all our paperwork to them here for them to send to Geneva.

I also have to have my letter translated into French, which means I have to get the letter, have it sent here to the embassy in Cape Town, they then send it to London to be translated, it's sent back to Cape Town (I know...) before being sent on to Geneva.

I did mention to the Irish embassy that I hold an Irish Passport, but due to the vipers nest that it Northern Ireland politics, they have no jurisdiction in NI....

But it looks like a chink of light at the end of the tunnel! I found this form that looks like what I need.

http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/marriage_search_form.pdf

I will follow this course of action and keep this thread updated for anyone else having this issue in the future.....
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Old 09.06.2011, 16:57
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Re: Swiss National Marrying Fiancé from Northern Ireland

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I did mention to the Irish embassy that I hold an Irish Passport, but due to the vipers nest that it Northern Ireland politics, they have no jurisdiction in NI....

.
Honestly, I still don't understand what that means. Nothing needs to actually be done in NI, no one needs to go there or anything. You just need to swear that you have never been married (or whatever) so like I said, it shouldn't be relevant if you are an Irish citizen from NI, Japan or Angola!

Also, are there no official translators in SA?

This sounds like a bit ol' mess and surprises me from SA, TBH.
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