Recognition of a marriage registered abroad

Conditions for recognizing a foreign marriage in Belarus

Belarusian citizens have the right to marry on the territory of foreign states. Such marriages will be recognized as valid in Belarus if two conditions are met:

– the marriage must be officially registered in accordance with the legislation of the foreign state where the persons are getting married;

– marriage must not violate the legislation of Belarus.

The procedure for registering a marriage differs from country to country. For example, in the United States, you must first obtain the consent of the mayor’s office or the court for marriage, and the presence of a priest is required at the wedding ceremony itself.

It should be borne in mind that, for example, marriages between two men or two women on the territory of Belarus will not be recognized, because according to Belarusian legislation, marriage is a union of a man and a woman.

Grounds for declaring a marriage with a foreigner invalid

Some foreigners marry Belarusian citizens out of selfish motives, with no goal of starting a family. A foreigner may have a goal of obtaining a residence permit in the Republic of Belarus or Belarusian citizenship, benefits, preferences, good conditions for doing business and other selfish purposes.

Such marriages are fictitious and invalid. A marriage is declared invalid by a court decision. To initiate the process, you must file a claim with the court.

Persons who have the right to demand that a marriage be declared invalid

The persons who have the right to demand the recognition of the marriage as invalid include employees of the internal affairs bodies, prosecutors, when evidence is found that the marriage was concluded with the aim of obtaining a temporary residence permit. Employees of the internal affairs bodies have the right to check the legality of the marriage, including checking whether the spouses live together, whether they run a common household, etc.

A lawsuit for declaring a marriage invalid may be brought by one of the spouses, a person whose rights have been violated by the marriage, a guardianship and guardianship body, a prosecutor in cases prescribed by law.

Limitation period

As a general rule, the statute of limitations does not apply to claims arising from marriage and family relations. However, there are exceptions to this rule if the rights and interests of a person are violated.

Consequences of invalidating a marriage

After the entry into force of the court decision on the invalidation of the marriage, all rights and obligations, as well as legal relations, the legal status of property and other circumstances are considered not to have arisen in the marriage relationship. Moreover, the marriage is invalidated from the moment of its conclusion. The legal status of the “spouses” returns to the state where the marriage has not been registered and all the consequences of the “marriage union” are null and void.

Recognition of marriage documents

Marriage documents on the territory of a foreign state are recognized in Belarus if they are officially legalized in the state where the marriage was concluded.

There are two ways to legalize documents: consular legalization and apostille affixing. The apostille is affixed to countries that have signed the Hague Convention.

Consular legalization of documents

If the country in which the marriage was registered is not a member of the Hague Convention, then the procedure for legalizing marriage documents is complicated – it is consular legalization of documents. In this case, the administrative procedure is carried out by the consular department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus. To legalize documents, you must provide the document itself and a receipt for payment of the state duty (0.5 base value – approx 10 USD).

Legalization of documents by affixing an apostille

Apostille affixing is a simplified procedure for legalizing documents. If the state in which the marriage was registered is a party to the Hague Convention, then consular legalization is not required, it is enough to affix an apostille. Apostille must be affixed in the country from which the marriage certificate or other document arrives in the Republic of Belarus, i.e. in the state where the marriage was registered.

To affix the Apostille, the text of the document must be clear and clear, without corrections and erasures. When affixing an apostille, the correspondence of the signatures and seals on the document to those available in the archives of the relevant authority is checked.

Recognition of marriage after the death of a spouse

Legal rights and obligations arise only in a formal marriage. The marriage union must be registered in the manner prescribed by law. The so-called “common-law husband and wife”, even if they run a joint household and have common children, do not have family rights and responsibilities to each other.

In connection with the above, after the death of the “common-law spouse”, the cohabitant is not called to inheritance, despite the fact that he has lived with him for decades. Thus, a marriage that is not officially registered is not recognized as such after the death of a “common-law husband or wife.”

Our lawyers and advocates have been dealing with issues of marriage in the Republic of Belarus for more than 10 (ten) years. If you have questions related to marriage and you need help or advice from a family lawyer in Belarus, please contact our lawyers by e-mail: or by phone: +375293664477.

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