Getting legally married in Poland is fairly simple and straightforward, provided you are able to travel to Poland approx. 5-6 months before the planned wedding to see the registrar. There is no required minimum residency period to get married, but the time span for filing paperwork is clearly specified.
Depending on your citizenship, things may become complicated if your country doesn’t issue certificates confirming single marital status (CNI – Certificate of No Impediment to marriage) or if Poland doesn’t acknowledge these. This is true for most non-EU countries, incl. The United States, Canada, The Russian Federation, most Middle-Eastern countries. Citizens of these countries need to apply to a Polish court for permission to marry despite being unable to present the required certificate. It’s a regular lawsuit with an unspecified duration time, hearings etc. To confirm if you need to go through this procedure, please contact a Polish register office (USC – Urząd Stanu Cywilnego), preferably the one you’re planning to marry at, or your embassy’s website. Make sure to plan ahead, the register office will only book your wedding date based on complete paperwork and the court procedure may take time.
Paperwork required for a civil wedding:
- birth certificates – indicating parents, preferably with family names, translated to Polish by a certified translator
- CNI for the non-Polish part(s) – translated to Polish by a certified translator, valid beyond the planned wedding day (check expiry date of the CNI)
- if married before – previous marriage certificate(s) with confirmation of marriage cessation, translated to Polish by a certified translator
- ID (mandatory for Polish citizens)/passport
Always contact the USC you’re planning to visit beforehand to confirm and doublecheck if they might need anything else. Make sure a certified interpreter joins you for the appointment, which as a rule can’t be scheduled, you just need to show up during office hours and wait until the registrar becomes available.
Currently the fee for a civil wedding is 84 PLN, it includes 3 copies of the marriage certificate – you may request Polish and/or multilingual forms.
As of today, most offices only allow wedding ceremonies on their premises. Don’t assume automatically a ceremony elsewhere (e.g. at the reception venue) will be permitted, though you may apply. A new law is supposed to take effect beginning Jan 2015, that would make ceremonies in Customer-selected locations more accessible, but also more expensive. As of the day of writing this article, the new bill is still stuck in parliament.
A civil wedding ceremony is rather formal, takes around 20 minutes and requires the presence of a certified interpreter. You need 2 witnesses over 18 yrs of age, with valid passports/IDs.