Insights •Expat Corner• 22.05.2018 • Presented by PRESENTED BY SIMÔNE VAN SCHOUWENBURG – BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT ING EXPAT SERVICES
Many people move to Luxembourg for work, and stay for love. If you are planning to get married in the Grand Duchy, be aware that you have to follow some rules and fill and file paperwork. And try to be patient: marriage can’t be done in a finger snap in this country.
To be able to marry in the Grand Duchy, you and your partner must be at least 18 years of age and one of you must have his/her official place of residence in Luxembourg. Since the law of 4 July 2014 reforming marriage which came into force in January 2015, homosexual couples are placed on the same footing as heterosexual couples1.
Preparing for the civil wedding
In Luxembourg, a religious marriage by itself has no legal validity. Civil marriage is obligatory and must always take place before religious marriage. Given that a certain number of administrative steps have to be accomplished before the civil wedding, it is highly recommended that your preparations start no later than 2 months (if you are a resident of Luxembourgish nationality) or 3 months (if you are resident but not Luxembourgish) before the date of the marriage. A few documents must be presented to the civil register of the commune in which one of you lives: identity card (EU) or passport, birth certificate issued no later than six months before the marriage, residence attestation less than 3 months old if you are not legally domiciled in Luxembourg and a certificate of single-status or celibacy. If you are Luxembourgish, a recent copy of your birth certificate prepared in Luxembourg is enough. If you are not Luxembourgish, proof of single-status must be attested by a certificate of capacity to contract marriage. If this certificate cannot be supplied, it may be replaced by a certificate of national custom and a certificate of single-status (usually delivered by your embassy).
Other documents that might be needed on certain circumstances can be divorce decree, death certificate of a former spouse and birth certificate of children to be legitimised. Children born before the marriage must be recognised by the father before the civil marriage. Duly recognised children are automatically legitimised.
The required documents must be submitted to the civil registrar’s office no later than 1 month before the date of the marriage and must be in English, French or German. For the commune to accept translation of another language, the documents need to be translated by a sworn translator. A list can be found on the website of the Ministry of Justice.
The marriage ceremony
In Luxembourg, every marriage must be preceded by the publication of marriage proclamation (or banns) at least ten days before the marriage in the commune where you live in. Your banns are published as soon as the commune in which the marriage ceremony is to be held receives the required documents.
When all the documents required for the publication of the wedding banns have been submitted, the civil registrar sets with you the date and time of the ceremony. The civil ceremony will usually take place on a weekday but some communes may have particular days only available for a wedding ceremony and some may allow you to have a ceremony on Saturday. You don’t need witnesses for the civil ceremony but, of course, friends and family are welcome. After the civil ceremony, you will receive an official document - a family record book (livret de famille). You can obtain a wedding certificate – which is needed for any religious ceremony you may have at a later date – by writing to the commune where your marriage took place.
Matrimonial regimes, paid leave and tax alterations
When you marry, you are entitled to special paid leave for personal reasons if you are bound by an employment contract: 6 working days if you are a civil servant and 3 working days if you are an employee of the private sector. You will also receive a new tax card issued by the competent tax office on the basis of the data received from the municipal administration. However, as of the 2018 fiscal year, you may choose, as resident taxpayers, to be taxed separately on the basis of tax class 1 for each of you by submitting and signing a joint application via an online procedure without LuxTrust authentication or by post to the relevant department.
There are three matrimonial regimes in the Grand Duchy: the legal matrimonial regime (or joint ownership restricted to the property acquired during the marriage), the separation of property and the universal community of property. When you marry, you are necessarily bound by one of the three regimes. If you don’t have concluded a marriage contract, the legal matrimonial regime applies automatically. However, you are free to adopt any other form of marriage contract or to make changes to your existing regime.
Good luck for your exciting journey to getting married in Luxembourg!
1 Since 1994, a civil partnership (PACS) is a legal alternative to marriage and is available for both heterosexual and same-sex couples.