TL;DR: you will find a short summary of all the necessary steps at the end of this article.
So you’re engaged now! If you can’t wait to get married and you’d love to do it as soon as possible, I have to disappoint you – there’s a long way ahead of you. Forget about all those last-minute-spontaneous-drunken-Vegas-style weddings. Not gonna happen in Poland.
Right now, Mexicans who would like to get married in Poland need to go through a much more complicated and time-consuming procedure than before. It is due to the fact that the Polish Civil Registry no longer accepts the Certificate of Unmarried Status (Constancia de Soltería) issued by the Mexican government. In order to prove that their marital status is single, Mexicans in Poland need to go to the court where they will be given an official decision whether they are able to get married in Poland.
As the procedure is quite lengthy and complicated, we will walk you step by step through everything you need to do. Been there, done that.
When to Start Planning?
From our personal experience, it’s best to start planning everything at least 6 months in advance. Of course, it may be possible to gather all the documents and go through all the process much quicker, but having those few months will probably spare you all the stress and thoughts of “will I make it on time?”.
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1: Get informed
If you’re planning to get married in the Catholic Church, go to your local Parish and talk to the priest about the documents you will need. If you are planning to have a religious ceremony somewhere else, in a church in a different city, you will need to deal with even more documents. But don’t worry, the priest should walk you through the process. We will not cover the church procedures here, but they’ll need to be performed parallelly to the legal ones.
Next, go to the Registry Office (can be any office you like, not necessarily the one designated to your place of domicile) and ask about the requirements. Laws change, and consulting everything beforehand will spare you a lot of stress and doubts. Ask about the requirements, documents, and deadlines. If you’re not planning a religious ceremony, book a date for your civil wedding as soon as possible – there may be a waiting list! And free slots are disappearing really fast, especially if you’d like to get married outside of the Registry Office, for example in a garden, at a restaurant, etc.
Step 2: Gather all the documents
Start with gathering all the necessary documents. As a Mexican, for sure you will need:
- Your Birth Certificate + sworn translation to Polish (at least 2 copies)
- Certificate of Unmarried Status (Constancia de soltería) + sworn translation to Polish
- Valid passport
And if you’re planning to get married in the Catholic Church, you will also need:
- Certificate of Baptism (+ sometimes sworn translation to Polish, depending on the Parish)
- Certificate of Confirmation (+ sometimes sworn translation to Polish, depending on the Parish)
Step 3: File an Application to the Court
As mentioned above, in order to get married, you need to get a decision from the Court that there are no legal reasons for you not to get married. Find the local court (sąd rejonowy) according to your place of living, and file an application consisting of:
- Your Birth Certificate + sworn translation to Polish
- The Birth Certificate of your fiancé/fiancée
- Certificate of Unmarried Status (Constancia de soltería) + sworn translation to Polish
- Copies of your passport and Karta Pobytu (if you currently have one)
- An application where you ask the court to exempt you from the obligation to present a document confirming your legal ability get married (in Polish it’s called: zwolnienie z obowiązku złożenia zaświadczenia o zdolności prawnej do zawarcia małżeństwa). If you’d like to see an example of such application, send us a message: email@example.com or consult with the Registry Office (Urząd Stanu Cywilnego)
Important: If your name is written with accents (like for example: José, Jesús, Mónica or Raúl), make sure you DON’T include them and write your name in English alphabet: Jose, Jesus, Monica or Raul, or rather: just as it appears in your passport and on your birth certificate. If you don’t you may have some problems at the Registry Office.
After filing the application, the court should send you a letter setting a court appointment. In our case, the letter setting the appointment came after about 3 weeks.
However, what if the appointment set is too late? Let’s take our example:
We filed the application on January 9th. In mid-February, we received a letter from the court that set a hearing for May 16th. For us, it was too late as we planned our wedding to take place on June 19th!
Therefore, we filed another application with a request to speed up the hearing and to have it before mid-April. The court replied a few weeks later and set our hearing for March 25th. Success 🙂
Step 4: Attend the court hearing
The judge will give you the decision on the same day, however, you will only be able to pick it up about 2-3 weeks after. Make sure to set an appointment to pick up all the papers – you should also receive the original documents that you attached to your application.
If you do not speak Polish, the court will need to appoint an interpreter, and you have to explicitly ask for one in your application.
Also, if you – just like us – file an additional application to speed up the hearing and receive a positive decision, make sure to call the court a few days before and double check if the interpreter was informed about the change of the date. In our case – he wasn’t! But luckily my fiancé spoke enough Polish to get by. But if he didn’t our case would have been postponed for even longer.
Step 5: Go to the Registry Office
Once you have all the necessary documents, go to the Registry Office. You may spend there either 20 min or 3 hours (like in our case).
During the visit, you will need to decide:
- If you’d like to keep your last name or take the one of your future husband/wife (or have both)
- What will be the last name(s) of your future children. If your name is Torres and your girlfriend is Kowalska, you can have your children named:
- Torres-Kowalski / Torres-Kowalska
- Torres Kowalski / Torres Kowalska
- Kowalski-Torres / Kowalska-Torres
- Kowalski Torres / Kowalska Torres
- Kowalski / Kowalska
Keep in mind that if the Polish surname is declined (so ends with -ski for male and -ska for female, or -cki for male and -cka for female, etc.), the Polish Registry will probably force you to keep this declension. We’ve heard that may cause problems in Mexico… but we haven’t verified that yet.
At the end of the visit, the officer will inform you that you will be able to pick up your papers in about a week. And that’s it! If you’re having a Catholic Church wedding, you’ll need to hand them over to the priest and he’ll take care of the rest.
Double check your timeline
Seems like a lot to do? Just in case here’s a short summary of all the things that need to be done:
- ** In case of a civil wedding: Go to the Registry Office and book a date
⏰Free slots disappear really fast. Book yours at least 6 months in advance, especially if you want to get married in e.g. a restaurant, park, garden, museum or somewhere else.
- Gather all your documents
You will need your birth certificate & certificate of unmarried status together with their sworn translations to Polish. You may request the documents at the Mexican embassy, or your family member living in Mexico can get them for you and send them to you via e.g. DHL.
⏰In Mexico, the documents are given on the spot and DHL can deliver then even on the next day. The sworn translators can take up to a few days to translate all the documents.
- File an application to the court
Go to your court (sąd rejonowy) and file an application in which you ask the court to exempt you from the obligation to present a document confirming your legal ability get married. In the application you should explicitly ask to appoint you an interpreter in case you need one.
⏰Keep in mind that the court will most likely set your hearing within 2-4 months from the date of filing the application. You may speed it up by explicitly stating in the application when is the deadline for your hearing or filing in an additional petition.
- Attend the court hearing
The hearing will last about 20 min and the decision will be issued on the same day
⏰You will only be able to pick up the decision on paper 2-3 weeks after the hearing.
- Go to the Registry Office
Present all the documents: your birth certificate & certificate of unmarried status (with their translations) and the court decision.
⏰You will be able to pick up the final documents about a week after.
- ** In case of a Catholic Church wedding: Hand all the papers over to the priest
After the wedding, the priest has 5 days to file all the papers in the Registry Office. You do not need to have an additional civil wedding.
Good luck! You may need it 🙂
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Hey, super clear article. very useful. I have a question – once I receive this “unmarried status” certificate, how long is it valid for? I am thinking to just get this certificate and then decide when to get married. What if we decide 1 year later for instance? Thanks 🙂
Hi Aman, Polish civil status certificates are valid for 6 months. I haven’t found any info about the foreign ones, but I assume they would be treated the same – if it was issued more than 6 months ago, you probably will be asked to get a new one. Many things can change within 1 year… 😉
HI, I hope youre ok your article is very detailed and is going to be very helpful to me despite that IM not Mexican but still a foreigner: I have planned to get married in Poland next year (I’m Puerto Rican) I have a couple of questions:
1) Does the sworn translated documents (My Birth certificate, etc etc) has an expiring time?
2) If you have any knowledge on church weddings, after you submit the papers what the parish can ask you? any more steps like a seminar or something? (if there is how long it will take)
3) I know that an American citizen can stay no longer than 90 dyas in Poland, but weddings will take more time than that? what should I do in that case? ask for a visa or go to somepace to apply it in Poland?
1) In theory, the birth certificate and its translations don’t have any expiry date. In practice, it all depends on the clerk at the Registry Office – so better get in touch with the one of your choice and ask them directly, because I have heard of cases where they demanded documents to be issued max. 3-6 months in advance.
2) Again, all depends on the parish, so better get in touch with the one of your choice. For sure you will have to take pre-marriage classes, but some parishes accept just a certificate issued somewhere else (you can do e.g. an intensive one-weekend course), others will require you to take their own classes, e.g. one hour per week for a few weeks. You will also have to sit down with the priest and have a chat and fill in some documents (declarations, etc.). They may also ask you for your baptism / confirmation certificates.
3) You can a) leave the Schengen zone for one or two days and then return to Poland and have another 90 days of legal stay **in Poland only** (it won’t extend your stay in other Schengen countries!), b) apply for a temporary residence permit based on other circumstances (https://udsc.gov.pl/en/cudzoziemcy/obywatele-panstw-trzecich/chce-przedluzyc-swoj-pobyt-w-polsce/zezwolenie-na-pobyt-czasowy/inne-okolicznosci/) and claim that you need to stay in Poland in order to get married.
Hi thanks for the info:
1) when you wrote “sworn translations” it means also “certified translations”? Its obligatory to have US birth certificates (in my case) “sworn translated” in Poland or I can get it translated-certified in US? its the same thing?
2) the final documents that are picked a week later in the Register Office is AFTER the wedding or BEFORE the wedding?
3) In the day of the hearing of the court and the wedding day to be exact, are those the 2 only days that I’ll require an interpreter? (I dont speak polish)
1) When I say “sworn translation” I mean “tłumaczenie przysięgłe” in Polish – it has to be performed by an accredited translator, you can find the list here: https://www.arch-bip.ms.gov.pl/pl/rejestry-i-ewidencje/tlumacze-przysiegli/lista-tlumaczy-przysieglych/search.html
You can get it either in the US or in Poland (probably it will be cheaper and easier to do it in Poland)
2) Before the wedding
3) In theory yes, these are the only days during which you will need an official interpreter. I assume you will have someone to help you with the language during the other visits in case they don’t speak English 🙂
Sir, are you saying that someone could stay in Poland for 90 days and then cross the border and come back into Poland and receive another 90 days?
I am an American citizen currently in USA. My fiance is Polish and currently living in Poland. From all the research i have been doing it seems it takes 3 months to get married in Poland. I want to move there and we are really struggling to save money to do this all. So naturally if i wanted to apply for temporary residence permit after receiving a marriage certificate i would as i read another 3 months (or more) to get that going as well.
I really want to know if you think i could accomplish that by just exiting and reentering Poland. It seems it could work but have not thought about it and have heard no one else mention this in regards to marriage.
As written here:
Foreigners exempted from a visa requirement when entering Schengen Area for the periods not exceeding 90 days within 180-day period:
– United States of America *
* citizens of these countries or special administrative regions can re-enter Poland pursuant to visa-free traffic without complying with the 180 – day limit, on the basis of bilateral agreements regulating visa-free traffic, concluded by Poland with those countries before the accession of Poland to the EU.
This means that each time you re-enter Poland, you get 90 days. But to prove that you crossed the border you would need to get a stamp in your passport. The best option would be to enter into a non-Schengen country.
But keep in mind that right now most of the European countries have their borders closed for tourists because of COVID… So it’d be better to wait.
Hi, I appreciate your post, very useful information.
I was wondering if you have some knowledge about non-polish couple getting married here, unfortunately, I cannot find information about if two foreigners can get married :/
Hi, Your article has been very helpful to me. my girlfriend is living in Krakow. its possible we submit application in other cities. we want to submit application in lublin. its possible. ???
Hi Alii, you mean that you want to submit documents to a Registry Office in Lublin? Yes, you can choose any Registry Office you like.
Hi – this is very helpful.
During the 6 month process as described (registry office and court decision), is this information made publicly available in Poland for other people?