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Old 16.01.2014, 15:04
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How to get married in Switzerland?

After writing this I realise it is my rant for the New Year - please have sympathy with it...... and any advice is welcome.

I`m South African and O/H is Swiss and we have a marriage intention.

I write "intention" - as "plan" sounds rather definite.

Why not "definite"?

Because the paper trail/beurocracy involved seems never ending .......

The Standesampt said they need a "Letter of no impediment" and a Full Birth Certificate - and they need to be no older than 6 months.
The South African Embassy also said I need those.
So I applied.
The Letter of no impediment arrived 3 months later - dated a month previously.
The Full Birth Certificate arrived a month later, also dated a month previously.
Both running periliously close to expiry date.

Swiss O/H phoned to make an appointment with Standesampt.
Duly carried out early December, where those two documents were, we were told "not necessary" (huh?), as they required my divorce document from previous marriage - and lucky I had it with me! (just in case). So everything was in order we were told.

All the dates were planned for the consulatation prior to marriage for signing of documents etc (early Feb) and the official marriage date set for later in year. All arranged to coincide before my documents "expire"!

Yesterday - a month later - O/H receives phone call from Standesampt saying they need a document from SA about my "name change".

My name change?
Background to this dilemma follows .....
I was married previously in the old SA days, when wives automatically adoapted the mans name. After many years we got divorced.
My hobby art career became full-time. Not being married I reverted back to my maiden name officially - by obtaining a new Identďty Book and Passport.

I got married again (shortly before post Apartheid days 1994) - and continued using my maiden name on my artwork, opened bank accounts, registered cars, bought/sold houses, etc etc in my maiden name.

(Winnie Mandela made the break-thru in the old rules, changing back to her own maiden name after divorcing her husband, the new President Nelson Mandela, and it was then ruled that wives no longer HAD to adopt their husbands name) So my new Identity Book and Passport are both in my maiden name - that is who I am. (no mention of old married names).

I never had to apply to "change my name". It was accepted that I may use my maiden name on my official documents.

The 2nd divorce document states the then current married name - although my first names and Identity Number are still the same.

Now - I need to show Swiss beurocracy how I managed to "change my name" ....?

More of the same "joke" .........The lady at the Standesampt is now doubting that my divorce document is "real" as she seems to detect a slight flaw in the paper - like its been "joined" in the middle. WTF?
She has an Affidavit and the officially issued Apostile from Home Affairs stating that I am divorced and free to marry in any country.

Any one else had to face this sort of ridiculous dilemma of doubt about "who they are"?

I have SA work testimonials, old SA diplomas, an old gun licence, drivers licence, police clearance to enter Switzerland - all in my maiden name.

But now am suspected of being a forger of a divorce document? And doubts about "who I am"?

I can`t even try to phone the SA Embassy as the story is too twisted and sureal to explain in understandable words.

PS. We are sending them my SA Identity Book in the hope they`ll be satisfied with that. Or else I`ll probably have to get my hands on the Constitution of South Africa for them to read thru? That could take about another 5 years to arrive - if anyone can find it.........
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Old 16.01.2014, 15:08
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Re: How to get married in Switzerland?

Get married in the US or other country.

When we got married there, we just had to show my wife's Swiss divorce papers (in German, we gave a verbal translation), and her Canadian passport (we figured the Swiss one would be too tough for them).

Tom
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Old 16.01.2014, 15:31
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Re: How to get married in Switzerland?

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Get married in the US or other country.

When we got married there, we just had to show my wife's Swiss divorce papers (in German, we gave a verbal translation), and her Canadian passport (we figured the Swiss one would be too tough for them).

Tom
That is a thought.

"Foreign woman with false identity and forged douments marries Swiss man in foreign country"?

Then the future will probably bring more of "Und vy you got married in anudder country? Huh? Vy?! You a criminal, no?"
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Old 16.01.2014, 15:33
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Re: How to get married in Switzerland?

Get married in ZA?

Tom
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Old 16.01.2014, 15:49
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Re: How to get married in Switzerland?

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Get married in ZA?

Tom
Aaaaagghhhh nein!

Their civil marriages are held in dirty smelly rooms.
The streets are too full of criminals.
The 9 hour journey is too long, plus return.
They`ve changed all the street and building names and I`d never find our way. So hiring a car doesnt solve the problem.
Public transport is non-existent.
I`d have to hold a shin-dig with my relatives there! And that is too much bother (ever seen the sit-com with Mrs Bucket/Bouquet?)
And O/H doesn`t speak English, or Afrikaans, or Zulu.
Probably end up with a translator like the one at Madibas funeral.

Maybe it`ll be easier to just not get married at all.
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Old 16.01.2014, 16:02
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Re: How to get married in Switzerland?

I don't want to sound crass, but... Do you want to get married all that much? I mean, you probably gonna pay more taxes and everything...

Perhaps you could do some sort of unoffical ceremony, possibly with a religious blessing, and consider it 'enough'?

It's just a thought, i don't want to offend...
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Old 16.01.2014, 16:28
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Re: How to get married in Switzerland?

A Swiss couple I know got married in a UK Registry Office due to the complicated paper trail required for one of them by their local Gemeinde.

It was a very simple, straightforward and easy process they said. This was, however, over 20 years ago so may not be such a breeze nowadays...

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Get married in the US or other country.

...
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Old 16.01.2014, 17:22
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Re: How to get married in Switzerland?

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Get married in the US or other country.
This may cause extra trouble if you will need your residence permit to depend on your spouse's. Otherwise, yes, just get married elsewhere.

If money is not an issue, I would get a lawyer. Two of my friends (British and Egyptian citizens) got married in Egypt, that was approved by UK, and they had lots of trouble getting it recognized in Switzerland, so they contacted a lawyer and everything was resolved in a short period of time.

Also Pakistan-Swiss couple had to wait really long for residence permit. Swiss were asking for ridiculous things like photos from here previous marriage, got an investigator to check her schools and neighbours in Pakistan, etc.
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Old 16.01.2014, 17:35
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Re: How to get married in Switzerland?

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Any one else had to face this sort of ridiculous dilemma of doubt about "who they are"?

Not to this extent, but I know people from my country who needed birth certificates no older than 6 months. Now, the only problem is that we are issued only one birth certificate (at birth, logically) and will have to manage with that. Only in case you have lost it are you given another one..(and have to officially declare that it is lost, ah, another stupid bureaucracy) I found ridiculous this requirement, and something i didn't expect from the efficient Swiss.. ( I wasn't asked something like that before, in any other place in Europe).
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Old 16.01.2014, 19:25
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Re: How to get married in Switzerland?

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A Swiss couple I know got married in a UK Registry Office due to the complicated paper trail required for one of them by their local Gemeinde.
If they were both Swiss, there is no paper trail, just a Familienschein (CHF 30) each and your done.

Tom
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Old 16.01.2014, 19:30
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Re: How to get married in Switzerland?

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Not to this extent, but I know people from my country who needed birth certificates no older than 6 months. Now, the only problem is that we are issued only one birth certificate (at birth, logically) and will have to manage with that. Only in case you have lost it are you given another one..(and have to officially declare that it is lost, ah, another stupid bureaucracy) I found ridiculous this requirement, and something i didn't expect from the efficient Swiss.. ( I wasn't asked something like that before, in any other place in Europe).
Yes, the expiry period for a birth certificate really amuses me.
On this one I got from ZA, it only states my parents names and their ages when I was born .... no ID No`s. And that is not going to change so why the "expiry" date? (haha) That`s the "Full Birth Certificate". My own just states my name, date of birth, ID number, no parents mentioned - but it too expires, even though I havent ......... yet.

Latest update is O/H spoke to the boss lady there, and she is requiring any other document that I have bearing my present name that was issued during the last marriage - to prove that I used my maiden name officially.
Found my old expired passport that was issued in that time - so will drop that with her - and hold thumbs.

What will be will be .....

Edit: Information today is that no longer is a *Letter of No Impediment" required from ZA..... Only the last divorce document. This since 2012.

Last edited by smoky; 16.01.2014 at 19:32. Reason: Added some information about latest legal requirements.
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Old 16.01.2014, 20:21
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Re: How to get married in Switzerland?

If that was the case 20 odd years ago when they were looking to get married here, then I guess there's a tad more to that story than I was told!

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If they were both Swiss, there is no paper trail, just a Familienschein (CHF 30) each and your done.

Tom
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Old 16.01.2014, 20:28
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Re: How to get married in Switzerland?

You could tell both countries to f* off and come over here (direct flight from Zurich) and get married one early evening in March/April at the Jefferson Memorial, surrounded by cherry blossoms. I think there is no limitation to get married in the US even when both are foreigners*, and I think you have to pay a $50 fee to the District to occupy the memorial for a couple of hours.

Then you fly back to Switzerland, give them the marriage contract to be registered, and you are done.

*except the marriage must be legally recognized in your country, so, for example, no same-sex marriages, which are legal in the District, if they are not otherwise recognized in your country.
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Old 16.01.2014, 20:32
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Re: How to get married in Switzerland?

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If that was the case 20 odd years ago when they were looking to get married here, then I guess there's a tad more to that story than I was told!
Indeed, all the details are in the Familienschein, birth info, marriages, divorces, kids, etc., no need for separate documents.

It does have to be less than three months old, though.

Tom
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