Getting married is a big step and can be especially daunting if you are going to marry in a foreign country. You need to know the process or requirements in a different country. If this country is Armenia, this post is just for you! You might be a foreigner or a diaspora Armenian who is considering marriage in Armenia or you are a foreigner who lives in Armenia and wants to marry here. Whatever the case, I’m writing this for you. You will learn about the marriage process in Armenia and any specific requirements or restrictions that apply to foreigners. Stick around and you will learn everything that applies to foreigners who want to marry in Armenia!
Foreigners can get married in Armenia. They are subject to the same requirements and restrictions as Armenian citizens, but some specific requirements also apply. It is a requirement that foreigners provide a certificate of no impediment to marriage from their home country as well as get a notary translation of all related documents.
Moving forward I’m going to share all the details, but here is a little reminder that I love hearing your stories. So, connect with me on Twitter or Instagram with #ArmeniaTravelTips, and let me know how your marriage ceremony in Armenia went.
Legal framework for getting married in Armenia
If you want to marry in Armenia, first you must realize that some requirements apply to all, irrespective of your citizenship. Everybody who wants to marry in Armenia must keep in mind the main points of our legal framework for marriage.
Who can get married in Armenia?
The short answer is – almost everyone. But first, basics – the couple needs an identification document. If any one of them is divorced, they need to provide a document verifying the termination of their previous marriage. The government in Armenia doesn’t register polygamous weddings, so you have to be able to prove that you are not in marriage relationship anymore if you were in the past. This can be a certificate of divorce, a court judgment, or a certificate of the death of the husband (wife). Foreigners must get this document from their home-country, legalized, notarized and translated. But more on that below.
Legal age requirement for marriage
The general requirement is that both parties should be at least 18 to enter into marriage. However, if you are ready to make this important step when you are 17 or even 16, that’s possible in Armenia. You just need the consent of your parents or any other legal guardian. In case you are only 16, on top of that consent, there is also a requirement that your spouse must be at least 18. So choose your partner wisely, my dear friend. 🙂
Are same-sex marriages allowed in Armenia?
Same-sex marriages are legal in Armenia but not performed here. The law says that you cannot register same-sex marriages in Armenia. However, same-sex couples who have their marriage registered abroad, where it is legal (e.g. Western Europe, Americas, South Africa, Australia etc.), can have their married status recognized in Armenia by the authorities.
This means that the law does not explicitly prohibit same-sex marriage. Yes, you can’t register same-sex marriage in Armenia but Armenia will recognize your marriage if legally performed on the territory of another country. I know this sounds odd, basically this is one of those cases where our laws grant more rights to foreigners than to the local citizens. But that’s the reality we live in Armenia.
Marriage registration process in Armenia
Once the legal requirements are clear, the process of legally entering into marriage in Armenia is pretty easy. When your pile of documents is ready, just…
- Head to the Civil Acts Registration Services (CARS) in Armenia.
- CARS will give you a marriage certificate and you will have a marriage ceremony there.
- Now you are ready to register your marriage at CARS.
The cost of registering marriage in Armenia
Wedding costs in Armenia can be anywhere between a couple of hundred dollars and hundreds of thousands, depending on your preferences of course. But the good thing is that on the state registration, you won’t spend a penny. Yes, the government in Armenia won’t charge anything for registering your marriage here. However, you should pay fees for additional services like the solemn ceremony. The clerk at the Registry office collects this fee for the CARS agent to conduct the ceremony. Please do not confuse it with expenses for refreshments or anything else served at the ceremony. It’s up to you to make it a big event or not.
Requirements for foreigners
If you are a foreign national, please read the section above as all of the requirements apply to you. But as a foreign national, some special requirements also must be considered before you go to the Civil Acts Registration Services office.
First of all, a foreigner can marry in Armenia, only if at least one of the spouses has the right of residence in Armenia. To obtain a residence permit in Armenia, one should either run a business activity in Armenia or have a work permit in Armenia, or any other legal permit to stay in the country. This can be sorted out at the Passport and Visa Department of the Republic of Armenia. But it’s a whole other topic. If you want me to write more about this, let me know on my social media.
Things get easier if you marry an Armenian national who resides in Armenia because the law says that AT LEAST ONE OF THE PARTIES must have the right of residence in order for the couple to be able to register their marriage in Armenia.
Foreigners need to take additional two steps when submitting documents:
- First, all documents certified by foreign authorized bodies should pass consular legalization or apostille depending on which country the documents come from.
- Second, all documents must be translated into Armenian and notarized. This can typically be done in Armenian embassies abroad, but there is an abundance of translators in Armenia as well.
Now when your pile is ready, submit your documents to Civil Acts Registration Services in person. Wait for the marriage license. It takes around a week to get it. Once you get the license, you can have a solemn ceremony. And then you need to register your marriage with the Armenian government (Ministry of Justice) within 30 days of the ceremony.
That’s it! You are husband and wife!
Religious requirements for spouses in Armenia
I have good news for you! Our legal framework for marriage isn’t tied to our church in any way. So, you can have a civil marriage registered without ever needing to run a religious marriage ceremony.
That means that it is not a requirement in Armenia to consult with a religious authority before the wedding is locked. However, if you decide to have a ceremony in the church, note that the Armenian Apostolic Church requires that the couple must be baptized according to the rules of the Armenian church. Moreover, the Armenian church requires that a person of a belief other than Christianity convert to Christian belief before they can get married. Read more on religion in Armenia.
Catholics and Orthodox marriages
So, what to do if you are Catholic or Orthodox? No worries. We have the Armenian Catholic Church and Orthodox Church that will perform the marriage ceremony. It’s worth reaching out directly to them for a consultation about their latest requirements. But I know that The Catholic Church in Armenia is a bit more flexible. For example, if a Catholic marries a follower of the Armenian Apostolic Church on the premises of a Catholic church in Armenia, then the Apostolic spouse just needs to proclaim one simple statement saying that they’re marrying in a Catholic church by their own free will.
Yazidis and Muslims
Religious minorities in Armenia also have their places of worship, where religious marriage ceremonies can take place. For example, our Yezidis get married in the Quba Mere Diwane temple. Similarly, Muslims can have a marriage ceremony at the Blue Mosque in Yerevan. Like in the case of the Apostolic Church, the Blue Mosque requires that both parties entering into marriage at its premises are Muslim. Therefore, if a Muslim is marrying a follower of any other religion, they would have to first convert into Islam in order to get permission to run a marriage ceremony at the Blue Mosque. Btw, I wrote more about the Blue Mosque in the second half of this post, so check it out.
Armenian citizenship by marriage
Many people who marry Armenians, end up seeking to obtain Armenian citizenship. Marrying an Armenian citizen may ease the process of registering your marriage. For example, as I mentioned, if your partner is a resident of Armenia, then you don’t need to provide a residence permit. Other than that, all steps mentioned above are pretty much the same.
If along with marriage you consider obtaining Armenian citizenship, this section is for you. It’s pretty understandable if you actually decide to settle in Armenia and call it your new home (read more about what you need to know to qualify for Armenian citizenship by naturalization). Let’s see what you’ll need to do to become an Armenian citizen after marriage.
- Submit an application for citizenship to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- Along with the application you will need to submit a list of documents, like the current passport, evidence of residence in Armenia, and criminal background check. (the list changes, so I recommend checking with the ministry at the time)
- You must prove that you successfully passed an Armenian history and culture exam. You have to consult the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the venue of this exam. However, if you are Armenian by descent, you are exempt from this (check out the specific requirements at the link). Spouses of Armenian citizens are not exempt from this exam but they will be provided with a licensed translator.
- As a final step, you must take an oath of loyalty to the Republic of Armenia. The person reads the loyalty oath in the Armenian language and signs it. The text basically says that the person swears to be loyal to the Republic of Armenia and comply with laws, including the Armenian Constitution. The person also swears to defend the independence and territorial integrity of Armenia and to respect our language and traditions.
If you need any advice in regards to obtaining citizenship in Armenia and you want to get it from professionals, I really recommend Vardanyan & Partners law firm. I used their services when I was buying land in Armenian and they were very professional in their actions and communication.
Tips and resources for foreigners
There are a number of useful tips and considerations that a foreigner should bear in mind when marrying in Armenia. For example, you may need a translator. This is important not only to assist you in communicating with the locals but to translate documents. You may want to hire an individual to help you with your contacts but to translate documents most probably you will need an agency. I will mention a list in the following section.
Another thing to consider is a lawyer. Although the process and legal requirements are pretty straight-forward in Armenia, I know from my friends who got married here that putting everything together can be quite frustrating. Also, some people have special circumstances, so if you have the slightest doubt that this is going to be a walk in a park for you, consider consulting a lawyer. They may save you a lot of time and hassle.
Here are some useful contacts for you if you are planning to marry in Armenia as a foreigner:
- Civil Acts Registrations Services
- Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia
- List of consulates
- List of law firms
- List of translation agencies
Yep, to marryis a huge experience. But it can also be a hassle if you don’t know all the ins and outs of the process. And that’s usually the case if you are getting married in a foreign country. In this post, I tried to help you in this exciting process of marrying in Armenia as a foreigner. I hope this will encourage you to choose Armenia as the destination for your special day. If it does, let me know on Twitter or Instagram with #ArmeniaTravelTips. And just in case things don’t work out as planned, I guarantee you we have a lot of eligible bachelors and bachelorettes for you in Armenia. 🙂
Featured image credits: Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash