According to the Polish law, each unincapacitated person of full legal age may conclude marriage (the law provides for the conclusion of marriage under certain conditions by a woman who is at least 16, but less than 18 years’ old).
In cases concerning the conclusion of marriage by foreigners living in Wroclaw, the competent person is the Head of the Registrar’s Office (ul. Włodkowica 20/22, phone 71 777 91 51, 71 777 91 50, opening hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:15 p.m.).
How to conclude civil marriage with a foreigner?
The marriage conclusion procedure is prolonged in time, which means that a wedding must not take place before the lapse of one month from the day of submission of documents. Therefore, it is worth planning a wedding in good advance, particularly when the ceremony is to be held outside the premises of the Registrar’s Office, i.e., when the following factors are taken into account:
- a threat to health or life (to be confirmed by a medical certificate) or imprisonment (it is necessary to present the consent to the conclusion of marriage on the detention ward or penitentiary premises); in both cases, no extra fee is charged for a marriage ceremony taking place outside the Registrar’s Office.
- an outdoor wedding – the place of the wedding must guarantee the maintenance of the official form of its conclusion and the safety of persons attending the ceremony; in this case, an extra fee of 1,000 PLN is charged.
What are the fees for the conclusion of marriage?
- for the preparation of the marriage certificate: 84 PLN,
- if applicable, for the issue of approval to shorten the monthly time of waiting for the conclusion of marriage: 39 PLN.
Payments can be made in cash or by card at cash desks on the ground floor of the Registrar’s Office.
Which documents have to be submitted?
If a foreigner wants to conclude marriage in Poland, he/she has to submit to the Registrar’s Office:
- an identity document (passport, temporary foreigner identity certificate, residence card),
- an abridged copy of the birth certificate,
- if a foreigner has already been married – a proof of termination, invalidation or non-existence of marriage,
- a written assurance that there are no circumstances making it impossible to conclude marriage (e.g., affinity, which means that marriage must not be concluded between a brother and a sister, or a mental disease of one of the future spouses),
- approval to conclude marriage, if required by the provisions of the Family and Guardianship Code (e.g., in the case of women who are less than 18 years’ old),
- an official certificate issued by the authorities of the state in which the foreigner is a citizen (with his/her personal details and personal details of his/her fiancé/fiancée) stating that, according to the domestic law, he/she is allowed to conclude marriage with the person indicated in the certificate). This obligation does not apply only to foreigners who are stateless persons and reside in the Republic of Poland.
- If it is impossible to receive the above certificate (as in Ukraine, where such documents are not issued now), the person concerned may apply to the Polish court (of relevant territorial jurisdiction over the plaintiff’s place of residence) with an application for exemption from the obligation to submit a document confirming the capacity to conclude marriage in the country of origin. The application is considered by the district court in non-litigious proceedings. Before the submission of the application, it is necessary to pay a court fee of 100 PLN.
Wedding through a proxy
It is worth knowing that the conclusion of marriage through a proxy is allowed in Polish law. However, it is necessary to appear in the registrar’s office personally beforehand for the purpose of official certification of the signature of the person who will grant power of attorney. It is also important that the power of attorney has to specify the full name of the person with whom marriage is concluded.
Documents and certificates necessary for the conclusion of marriage are filed personally by the fiancé and the fiancée. If they cannot come to the Registrar's Office at the same time, they may complete formalities on various dates.
If a foreigner does not know Polish
If a foreigner does not speak Polish, he/she makes statements in the marriage conclusion procedure in the presence of an interpreter. The young couple is responsible for choosing the interpreter and covering costs of his/her visit to the Registrar’s Office.
The presence of an interpreter during a wedding ceremony is required also when witnesses do not use Polish.
If the interpreter is not a sworn translator, he/she submits to the Registrar’s Office a statement of the diligent and impartial performance of the task and commitment not to disclose a legally protected secret.
Documents in a foreign language are submitted with an official translation into Polish made by:
Conclusion of canonical marriage
In Poland, it is also possible to conclude marriage having civil effects in front of a priest. This does not apply to all religions – marriages concluded in the following churches are regarded as valid (upon compliance with additional formalities):
- the Catholic Church,
- the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church,
- the Evangelical Augsburg Church,
- the Evangelical Reformed Church,
- the Evangelical Methodist Church,
- the Baptist Union of Poland,
- the Seventh-Day Adventists Church,
- the Polish Catholic Church,
- the Union of Jewish Religious Communities,
- the Mariavite Old Catholic Church,
- the Pentecostal Church,
What documents are necessary for a church wedding?
It is necessary to deliver the same documents that are required from spouses-to-be in the case of conclusion of civil marriage and written assurances of the absence of circumstances excluding the conclusion of marriage. On the basis of these documents, the Head of the Registrar’s Office will prepare certificates that have to be submitted to a priest for the purpose of a canonical wedding.
Within 5 days from the wedding ceremony, a priest has to submit documents confirming the conclusion of marriage to the Registrar’s Office for the purpose of issuing a marriage certificate.
What are the consequences of concluding marriages of convenience?
Concluding marriage with a Polish citizen allows a foreigner to obtain certain rights, such as the obtaining of a residence permit for a designated period and, consequently, the obtaining of Polish citizenship upon lapse of the period indicated in the law, as well as the impossibility of expulsion of the foreigner from the territory of Poland if he/she poses no threat to the safety of the country.
Therefore, the authority conducting the proceedings for granting a fixed-term residence permit to a foreigner who has married a Polish citizen determines if the marriage was not concluded for the purpose of circumvention of legal provisions on the granting of a fixed-term residence permit by the foreigner, i.e., whether it is a marriage of convenience or not.
If, for example, as a result of a check carried out by clerks (interviews with spouses, a community interview), it turns out that:
- either of the spouses accepted an economic advantage in return for approval to conclude marriage,
- spouses do not comply with legal obligations resulting from the wedding,
- spouses do not live together,
- spouses have never met before the conclusion of marriage,
- spouses do not speak any language that would be comprehensible to both of them, or
- they cannot reach agreement as to their personal details and other important circumstances relating to them
The foreigner may be refused a fixed-term residence permit because of the “convenience” of his/her marriage.
Attention: The check is carried out only in the proceedings for granting a fixed-term residence permit and has no impact on the validity of marriage concluded with the foreigner.
Dates of weddings in the Registrar's Office in Wroclaw
Civil wedding ceremonies are held in the Registrar’s Office mainly on Saturdays from 10:15 a.m. till 5:30 p.m. and on Thursdays and Fridays from 10:00 a.m. till 2:00 p.m. However, it is possible to arrange another date with the head of the registrar’s office.
Outdoor weddings are planned on Saturdays (10:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 4:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.) and on Fridays (3:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.).
In the Registrar’s Office in Wroclaw, weddings are not held on public holidays and since 2018 also on selected days – check HERE.