Legal Requirements for a Wedding in Turkey
Istanbul, with its intriguing history, its beautiful mosques, byzantine indoor markets and combination of modern dynamism and old world charm has long been a travel destination in its own right. Turkey’s Mediterranean beaches remain a firm favourite with clear, blue seas, delicious Turkish food and reliably hot summer weather are a definite attraction for those planning to have a wedding or civil union ceremony outside of the U.K.
Turkey is predominantly an Islamic country, but because of its unique history and influence of Turkish hero, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, has placed an important emphasis on secularism, making it a relaxing wedding destination for Muslims and non Muslims alike.
This article outlines the requirements for UK citizens looking to get married in Turkey, the documents and procedures required, and guidance on how to obtain translations or legalisations if any are required.
Getting married in Turkey
Turkey is a relatively easy country to travel to or from the U.K. and organising a wedding or civil union there that will be accepted when you return home is also quite easy with only the minimum of paperwork. Like any wedding destination outside of the U.K., however, it’s important to plan the wedding and any legal requirements well before you travel and not leave it too late.
Wedding in Turkey: Legal Requirements for Civil unions and same Sex Marriages
Civil unions or partnerships cannot be legally performed in Turkey and same sex marriages are not recognised or permitted despite the relatively liberal religious laws. However, both these ceremonies can be performed at a British Embassy or Consulate, provided that confirmation of the legal permission to be married or have a civil union under U.K. law is established.
Opposite sex marriages in Turkey can be performed at a local municipal registry (marriage) office or evlendirme memurluğu. This isn’t as easy as it may seem, as all formalities will be in Turkish. Except for a few places well frequented by English speaking tourists, English is not widely spoken in Turkey.
What documents do I need to get married in Turkey?
There are separate rules for having a marriage or civil union performed at a British diplomatic mission and a Turkish registry office.
If having your ceremony at a British Embassy or Consulate, you will need to have been in Turkey for at least the preceding 7 days before registering your intention to get married or have a civil union recognised. You will need proof that a previous marriage or civil union in Britain has been officially cancelled or dissolved, e.g.by showing a divorce certificate. The Embassy or Consulate will advertise the ceremony for 14 days and if no objection is received, will then allow a ceremony to be booked for up to 3 months from that date.
If the marriage is to be performed at a Turkish marriage office (evlendirme memurluğu), you will need proof that you are able to marry. You and your partner will both need to sign affirmations that you are free to marry. This should preferably be done before a Turkish lawyer. If you do this in the U.K. before travelling to Turkey, it will need a Turkish translation by a certified translator. The affirmation takes the place in Turkey of a Certificate of No Impediment (CNI) common in Western Europe and some other countries.
Your civil partnership will be recognized in the UK as long as:
- you follow the correct process according to the law in Turkey;
- it would be allowed under UK law.
|Other Documents Required||Legalisation Required?||Translation Required?|
|Proof of address (for your affirmation appointment)||No||No|
- Civil Partnership: Not recognised;
- Same-Sex Marriage: Legal if both people are British & only at the British Consulate General in Istanbul;
- You will also need to make an appointment to swear your affirmation;
- Interestingly, your documents will not need to be officially translated if they are presented in English or Turkish;
- It’s worth noting that your statutory declaration and Certificate of No Impediment (CNI) will both need to be legalised;
- There is an official residency requirement of 21 days for same-sex couples looking to get married;
- There is no residency requirement for opposite-sex couples looking to get married.
Click here for more information about getting married in Turkey.