What documents do I need to get married?
You should always check with the office where you will be registered in Russia to see if they have any local Rules, but typically you will need to provide the following:
- Your passport with valid visa — please note that we recommend that the visa is obtained before the translation process starts, this is to ensure that the translation of names on the documents matches with the translation of the name in the visa.
- A Certificate of No Impediment (obtained from your local registry office in the UK). We have had reports that some cities in Russia require the British registrar to stamp the CNI, as registrars do not normally do this in the England you will need to ask them to do this when you collect your certificate. If we receive the CNI without a registry stamp, we will assume that you do not need one.
- If you have been married before, then the Certificate making Decree Nisi Absolute or your previous spouse's Death Certificate (if applicable).
Note that we will need your original or certified copies of the documents, photo copies or faxed copies are not acceptable for the Notary and also the Apostilles will be attached to the back of each document legalising them for use in Russia.
The Russian registry office (ZAGS) will only accept the Certificate of No Impediment for a period of up to 90 days from the date of issue so please ensure that you plan your dates of travel, document issue and translation appropriately.
Remember, before you can get married, you will also need to register your visa.
How much will it cost?
Rather than charge by the word, type of document, the solicitor used or any of the other confusing formulas used by others, as usual Real Russia provide a simple, understandable, low cost rate based on the number of documents .
| Service type
|| First document
|| Second document
|| Third and subsequent documents
|| Processing time
| Standard service
| Express service
The processing time is the maximum number of working days which exclude weekends, UK and Russian public holidays. The day of receipt does not count as a processing day.
Please note, these prices do not include any special Public Notary stamps required by ZAGS No. 4 (please see below).
What is included in the cost?
The cost includes:
- Certified translation of each document
- Notary costs for each document *
- Apostille costs for each document
- Translation of the Apostille (required in Russia)
- Our service fees
- Return Royal Mail Special Delivery Postage with £5,000 consequential loss insurance (UK mainland only)
* Please note, those clients who are getting married at ZAGS No. 4 in Moscow will need to pay an extra £110 per document required to be notarised. This usually applies to the passport and application for marriage document, and indeed any document not signed by an official person acting in their legal capacity. This is due to the fact that the notarisation required by ZAGS Number 4 needs to be carried out by a public notary, not a solicitor as is usually the case at other ZAGS. You will need to inform us when making your application if you intend to get married at ZAGS No. 4 in Moscow. Always enquire about local requirements when approaching the ZAGS to make a booking for a wedding date. Please contact us for advice if you are in doubt.
What is the processing time?
The processing time is the number of business days that it will take us to prepare your documents and return them to you. This does not include the day of receipt, postage time back to you and excludes weekends and public holidays.
Do I need a special visa to get married in Russia?
No, you don't need any special type of visa to get married in Russia as in the UK, you may use any valid Russian visa including tourist, business, private, transit or student visa.
Sounds good, how do I get started?
Simply download the application form from the link below, complete it and send it to us along with your original documents and payment to:
Real Russia Limited
3, The Ivories
You can Pay Online by clicking here or pay by post with your application. Cheques or postal orders should be made payable to "Real Russia Limited"; you may complete and send us the following credit/debit card authorisation form or for other payment options please see here.
As you will be sending your original documents, we strongly recommend that you use a secure postal service such as Royal Mail Special Delivery.
Please note that we strongly recommend that:
- If we are processing your Russian visa that you tick the box to hold your translations until we have received your visa. This is due to the fact that there is no standard transliteration rules (how to convert Latin text to Cyrillic and visa versa) for "proper names" and in a minority of cases the consulate may use a different spelling of your name from our translators, and, if this happens it is possible that the ZAGs would not accept the documents. For example, we have seen the family name WATKINS transliterated as ВОТКИНС, ВОТКИНЗ, ВAТКИНЗ,УОТКИНС and УОТКИНСЗ.
- If possible you also provide your fiances name and address in Russian (Cyrillic) text to avoid any transliteration issues back from Latin text to Cyrillic from documents such as the CNI.
If you request us to process your marriage documents before you receive your visa or you do not provide your fiances name and address in Cyrillic text then, while we will use best translation practice and a separate translator will double check the documents, we can not be held responsible for any transliteration inconsistencies that may occur.
OK, I've got the documents, what happens next?
First, you will need to pay the registration fee for the wedding, either direct at the registry office, or more often at the government bank (Sberbank) and get a receipt to prove you have paid. If you are paying at the bank you will need to get the account details to pay to into from the registry office. Don't try and call from the UK, even if you do speak Russian you will find that almost certainly they will not give this information out over the phone and instead will give the universal answer of all Russian government departments, "come to us in person and we will tell you everything".
Once you have your receipt for payment, this and the rest of the documents should be presented to the registry office in Russia that you intend to marry at, you don't both have to go, just one of the couple is OK. If the registry inspector is satisfied with the presented documents they will give you an application form to complete, this is pretty simple though as it is all in Russian it is better if you get someone you trust (your future spouse?) to complete on your behalf and then all you need to do is sign it.
Once you hand over the completed application form, assuming all is correct, you will be given a date for your wedding. As in the UK there is a waiting period (currently 31 days) before you can get married and also you should be married within 30 days of the waiting period ending. So, your date should be between 32 and 60 days after you make the application.
Quite often, this would mean a second trip back which for many may be inconvenient, not to mention expensive. In this case you can appeal to the registry office director showing your visa expiry date, return tickets and mention that you will not be able to make it back during the 32/60 day window. In almost all situations that we have heard of the director will grant a date before the 32 day minimum period allowing you to get married during your trip, though please be aware that this is at their discretion. We have had one or two reports (especially from Omsk) that $100 is required to change hands to get this early date, though this is (currently) pretty rare.
Now you have your date you can go and get married — don't forget the ring! The registry office service will be in Russian, just make sure that you have the appropriate prompt and say "Da" and "Niet" at the right times and once it is done, which can be any where between 15 minutes and 1 hour depending upon what you have requested, you will be given your marriage certificate.
And what about after the wedding?
Well, as with all things Russian there is often a party — a big party — be prepared!
Seriously though, after you have your marriage certificate and if you are intending to travel to the UK at any time it is a good idea to get the marriage certificate translated and an Apostille applied. This will legalise the document and allow it to be accepted in the UK. Also, if your spouse is coming to settle or live in the UK for an extended period, it would also be worth having the same done to their birth certificate and other documents that you may need for identity or other checks.
You may also be interested to know that our Moscow office offers UK visa services including those for helping your new spouse, and any dependants, to obtain settlement visas to the UK. For details on the price and process please click here.
Can I get married in a Church?
Unfortunately not, while you can go to a Church in Russia to get married, they will only be able to issue you with a Church certificate of marriage and not a legal marriage certificate. So, if you choose to get married in Russia and want a Church wedding (which I can recommend), then you will also need to have the "official" service at the registry office to get your marriage certificate.
What if my CNI was not issued in the UK?
If you live overseas and your certificate of non-impediment was not issued in the UK, for example it was issued by the consulate in Moscow or by a British consulate in a third country, then an additional step is required before you can present your documents at the ZAGS in Russia.
You must have the CNI legalised at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow at the following address:
- 12, 1st Neopalimovskiy Pereulok
- Tel: +7 (499) 244 37 97
- Nearest metro station are Smolenskaya or Park Kultury Monday.
The legalisation office is only open on Thursday from 09.30 to 12.30 and 14.30 to 17.00, and on Friday from 09.30 to 12.30 and from 14.30 to 16.00.
This process normally takes five (5) working days and it is important to note that the documents may be lodged and collected by the applicant in person, no agencies or third parties may do this on their behalf.
Finally, just for interest, what is the translation / certification process all about?
To get married in Russia, you need to prove to the authorities you are who you say you are, and that you are free to marry.
To do this you provide your passport (to show who you are), a certificate of non-impediment and if necessary your divorce certificate (to show you are free to marry). The certificate of non-impediment is available from your local registry office and takes a little over 21 days to obtain, please contact them and they will be happy to provide you with advise on how to obtain it.
Obviously these documents need to be translated correctly, accurately and completely so that the officials in Russia may understand them.
However, a simple translation of these documents on its own is not enough. A Russian registrar has no knowledge of UK passports or other UK government certificates, and this is where the Apostille comes in.
Basically an Apostille, which is issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, is an internationally recognised method provided by the 1961 Hague Convention to allow official documents or documents that have been notarised by a solicitor or Notary Public in one country to be accepted in another.
So, this is how it works:
An accredited translator provides a certified translation of the documents.
The certified translations and original documents are taken to a Russian speaking solicitor or Notary Public.
The translator asserts that the translation is true and accurate and, if the Notary Public is satisfied, they will Notarise each translation to attest this fact.
The translated documents, with the stamp and signature of the Notary Public are then taken to Admiralty House in Whitehall, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office responsible for issuing Apostilles.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office Legalisation department provide the Apotille to show the documents are legal in the UK and that the stamp and signature provided by the Notary Public is true and genuine.
OK, so now we have our certified translations that have been notarised to say that they are true and accurate and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have provided the Apostile that allows the documents to be accepted in Russia. There is however one more step …
The Apostille is in English and as such the registrar in Russia will not be able to read it, so the documents are returned to the translator who will provide a certified translation of the Apostille.
You should remember, that a Russian registry office will only accept the certified documents for a period of up to 3 months from the date of issue including the Certificate of No Impediment, so please ensure that you plan your dates of travel, document issue and translation appropriately. Further, please check with the registry office that you intend to use if they have any variation on this general rule.
At each step of the way we personally deliver and collect your documents and ensure that each process has been carried out correctly, we do not pop things in the post and hope for the best! The day your documents are ready we return them to you either by Royal Mail Special Delivery or by any other method you choose.
While we have tried to make this explanation as complete as possible to allow you to choose Real Russia to manage this process on your behalf, if you have any questions or require further information, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to help or look through our forum for questions and answers from others.