Conclusion of marriage between foreign citizens in the Republic of Armenia

In modern conditions there are more and more cases when citizens, being outside the territory of their country of citizenship, want to get married. Such situations are widespread in Armenia as well.

What are the reasons for getting married in a foreign country? There are various reasons. Some foreign couples have to take that step because they permanently reside on the territory of the state, are foreign workers or study abroad. There are also other cases when, for example, foreigners look for a jurisdiction with the most liberal requirements for the official registration of marriage, if the legislation of their country establishes a more complicated procedure for its citizens.

Armenia has recently become quite a popular country for foreigners to get married. This is explained by not too strict legislation in this area, reasonable cost of marriage registration and reasonable timeframe for completion of the entire process. In addition, for some foreigners wishing to formalize the right of residence in another country, Armenia may also be a suitable option. For example, a marriage between U.S. citizens and citizens of the Islamic Republic of Iran would be very difficult to arrange if the Iranian citizen is outside the United States and does not have the right of residence in that country. Marriage in Iran would be even more problematic. What is a couple to do if they want to start a life together in the U.S. and they cannot obtain a residency permit without a marriage?

Legislation of the Republic of Armenia gives people in such a situation the opportunity to get married under certain conditions. The Family Code of the Republic of Armenia and the Law of the Republic of Armenia on Civil Status Acts allow marriages between Armenian citizens and between an Armenian citizen and a foreign citizen to be registered on the territory of the Republic of Armenia without any additional conditions. The only thing is that in this case the foreign citizen will have to present to the bodies of the Armenian Registry Office the certificate of marital status, the certificate of marriage dissolution, as well as the court decision on dissolving the marriage (the list of documents depends on the specific case).

Marriage between foreign citizens on the territory of Armenia can be concluded only if at least one of the marrying parties has the right of residency in the Republic of Armenia. This right is granted to a person by obtaining temporary residence status, which is granted for 1 year, permanent residence status, which is granted for 5 years or special residence status, which is granted for 10 years. The last of the residence statuses is confirmed by a special RA passport and is mainly issued to the citizens of Armenian nationality, while the other residence statuses are confirmed by the appropriate residence card.

Temporary resident card can be issued on the basis of studying, working in the RA, having close relatives of Armenian citizens in the country, belonging to the Armenian nationality, as well as having family members with the right of residency in Armenia.

It is slightly more difficult to obtain a permanent residency card. One must be of Armenian nationality or have been residing in Armenia for the last 3 years, have close relatives of Armenian citizens (or have a special passport of Armenian citizens). In addition, it is required to prove that one has the necessary housing (rent, property) and a source of livelihood.

For marriages between foreigners most often resort to obtaining a temporary right of residence (residence card), as it is relatively easy to get it. It requires registering a company with the intention of starting a business or becoming a hired worker in one of the companies operating in the Republic of Armenia. If foreigners are of Armenian nationality, the process is even simpler (you only need to present your birth certificate (or parent’s birth certificate) with the necessary mark.

Usually the process of obtaining the right of temporary residence (resident card) does not take more than one month. Once one of the marrying couple has obtained the official status, the couple can start the marriage registration without any problems. It should be noted, however, that having an ordinary visit visa does not give a foreigner the right to marry on the territory of Armenia.

The peculiarity of marriages between foreigners is that prior to registration they must obtain the preliminary consent of the Ministry of Justice of RA (permission of the head of the Registry Agency of the Ministry of Justice of RA) to conclude a marriage. Only after that can the marriage be concluded at the Marriage Chamber of the Republic of Armenia. Marriage ceremonies are usually held within ten days after receipt of the marriage license, but on condition of paying an additional fee it is allowed to conclude the marriage within 2, 5 or 7 working days after obtaining the license.

Among the documents to be submitted by foreign nationals, we would first like to mention the spouses’ certificates of marital status, which are issued by the authorities of their countries of citizenship (in the case of the United States, for example, a certified statement may be submitted instead of a certificate). Notarized translations of passports are also required. If there is a previous marriage, a certificate of divorce and/or a court decision dissolving the marriage must be presented. It should be noted that all documents certified by foreign authorized bodies should pass through consular legalization or apostille, after which they should be translated into Armenian and notarized.

The procedure is quite simple and, if necessary, the total procedure of registration of marriage between foreigners in the Republic of Armenia may take not more than a month and a half. As it is seen, the marriage registration procedure in Armenia is very simple and everything can be completed in the shortest possible time. Personal presence of the couple at the marriage is compulsory and there are no exceptions to this rule.