Marrying a Foreigner in Russia: The 4 Steps to Register a Marriage

Over the past 10 years, the number of registered marriages between Russian and foreign citizens has greatly increased. In 2005, in the city of Moscow alone, the number was 1.4 thousand and in 2017 it has reached 13.6 thousand. However, online forums are constantly berated with new questions from users in regards to what actions are hidden under the phrase “marriage between a Russian citizen and a citizen of another state registered in Russia”. The main regulation is contained in the Russian Family Code of 1995, therefore, below, we will describe the 4 steps that await you along the way to obtaining the basic document of a new “society unit” – a Certificate of Marriage.

Step 1.

A foreign citizen must prepare documents confirming the absence of circumstances which would be deemed to be an obstacle to the conclusion of a marriage under Russian law and under the laws of the country of the foreign citizen involved in the marriage.

In Russia, A person cannot get married to those who are:

(1) Already married;
(2) Close relatives; (3) Adoptive parents and the adopted; (4) Persons incapable of consent

In addition, the legislation of a foreign state may also provide for special or different provisions than that of the Russian requirements for the registration of marriage.

In this regard, a foreign citizen will need to prepare:

– Certificate of absence of marriage record in the register of citizen’s status in the relevant agency of a foreign state / court decision on divorce proceedings/ spouse death certificate;

– His/her birth certificate;

– Certificate of his/her family composition;

– Certificate on the absence of formal obstacles to marriage from the Consulate or any other document which confirms that the person can get married according to the law of his/her country.

All documents shall have a notarized translation into Russian and be legalized.


Step 2.

You will then need to pay the registration fee. Based on the provisions of the Russian Tax Code, the price of calling someone a husband/wife in Russia is equal to the cost of one large cappuccino in the popular American cafe “Starbucks”, namely 350 Rubles.


Step 3.

You will then need to apply for the registration of the marriage at the registry office in Russia. In this case, you may need the following documents:

– Completed Application form;

– Passports of both parties, with relevant marks on the registration within the territory of Russia for the foreigner;

– Documents confirming the absence of formal obstacles to marriage (see Step 1).


Step 4.

The marriage shall be concluded after a period of 1 month and no later than 12 months from the date of application to the registry office. The specific date and time shall be determined by the persons entering into marriage when applying for the marriage. In certain cases this time period stipulation may be skipped, for example, in case of pregnancy.