The legal requirements for getting married in Turkey are relatively simple and straight forward.
The necessary documentation and the process to be followed in respect of the legal requirements for getting married in Turkey are outlined below. Please keep in mind that it is intended to be a starting point and guideline only.
Although much care and effort has been taken to ensure the information provided is correct please do not take it as legal advice. I strongly advise you to consult the Consulate or Embassy of Turkey for first-hand information on the legal requirements for getting married in Turkey.
Please Note: Required documentation and the legal process may vary from nationality to nationality.
- A civil ceremony is the only legally binding type of ceremony possible in Turkey
- There is no minimum residency period (although it is recommended that you arrive at least 3 days prior to your wedding to allow sufficient time for the documentation to be processed)
- Women may have to wait 300 days following divorce, annulment or widowhood before being allowed to remarry (this will be dependent on the registrar in the area you choose to marry)
- A translator must be present if either of the couple does not speak Turkish
- You may only have a religious ceremony after a civil ceremony has taken place, either in Turkey or in your own country
Important Note: UK Nationals
The legal requirements for UK Nationals were changed in September 2014. You are no longer required to obtain a Certificate of No Impediment, however in its place you will need to swear an “Affidavit for Marriage” form which can be downloaded on the UK Government Website. The Affidavit must be legalised prior to travelling to Turkey.
Legality of Marriage
Marriages performed in Turkey are internationally recognised and legally binding.
There are no minimum residency requirements, providing that you obtain a Certificate of No Impediment (for UK Nationals see Important Note, above) from the relevant authority in your country of residence. However, I would suggest arriving at least three working days prior to your proposed wedding date to allow sufficient time for your Certificate of No Impediment and other relevant documents to be translated and authenticated.
If you have not obtained this document then you will be required to be resident in Turkey for 21 days prior to applying for a Certificate of No Impediment, and a further 21 days for the relevant documentation to be issued. Therefore, you will need to allow a minimum of 42 days from the time you apply for the necessary documentation to the day of your wedding ceremony.
Foreign nationals wishing to marry in Turkey are required to:
- UK Nationals – Swear an Affidavit for Marriage form, which must be legalised prior to arriving in Turkey
- Other Nationalities – Obtain a Certificate of No Impediment (Certificate of Capacity to Marry/Certificate of Celibacy).Dependent on your nationality the CNI will be issued in your country of residency and forwarded to you, or sent to the relevant Embassy in Turkey for processing. You will then be required to:
- If issued in your country of residency – visit their nearest Consulate in person once you are in Turkey to make an application to initiate the formalities, or
- If processed in Turkey you may provide a letter of authorisation for a third party such as a wedding planner to collect documents on your behalf.
- The Certificate of No Impediment, Birth Certificate and Passport need to be translated by the relevant authorities and authenticated by the local Governor office in Turkey.
- The marriage application needs to be made in person at the local marriage office in order to give notice of marriage, submit the certificates, complete necessary forms and fix a date for the marriage ceremony.
- Solemnization of marriage (if the marrying parties do not speak Turkish, they are advised to arrange for an interpreter to be present during the ceremony).
- Two Witnesses must be present at the marriage ceremony (note: immediate family members cannot be witnesses).
- UK nationals should provide notice after their marriage to the local Honorary Consulate who will then send a copy of the marriage registration to your local registry office in the United Kingdom.
All documentation is required to be original and translated into Turkish by the relevant authorities. It is advisable that your Certificate of No Impediment is not issued more than three months prior to your wedding day.
Please Note: Although for most countries Certificates of No Impediment don’t have an expiry date has such, those issued by certain countries are only valid for three months after the date of issue.
The following documentation for both the bride and groom is required to be presented when applying for a marriage licence in Turkey.
- Certificate of Capacity to Marry/Certificate of No Impediment (for UK Nationals see Important Note, above).
- Full ten year passport with minimum validity of six months.
- Full Birth Certificate (showing mother and fathers names).
- 6 passport colour photographs, taken no more than 1 month prior to travelling to Turkey.
- If you are divorced – Decree Absolute. *see below
- If you are widowed – Death Certificate of previous spouse and previous Marriage Certificate. *see below
- Name Change Deed Poll Certificate – if applicable.
- Adoption Certificate – if applicable.
- If you are not of minimum age – letter of consent from a parent or guardian (the legal age of marriage in Turkey for both men and women is 19 years old, but remember you must also meet the minimum age requirements of your country of residency).
*Marriage after Divorce
Depending on the area in Turkey, if a woman has been previously married she may have to wait three hundred days following divorce, annulment or widowhood before being allowed to remarry.
Depending on the area in which you are getting married you may be required to have a medical examination and a blood test, prior to the ceremony taking place.
Proof of Stay
You may be required to provide written confirmation by your hotel of your dates of stay.
Conditions for a Valid Marriage
- Capacity to marry
Only those persons who have sufficient mental capacity to make fair judgments are allowed to marry. Mental illness is, therefore, a bar to marriage. In addition, a person must have reached the minimum age of 19 to marry.
- Absence of consanguinity
Marriage between close relatives is prohibited.
- Already existing marriage
Monogamy is one of the essential principles of Turkish family law. A second marriage can’t be entered into unless the first is terminated.
- Waiting period
Married women whose marriage has been dissolved cannot marry before the expiration of three hundred days from the date of dissolution.
For more information on the type of wedding ceremony you may have in Turkey click here.
For information in respect of same-sex marriages in Turkey click here.
UK Nationals – You are no longer required to register your marriage with the General Register Office in the UK.
For further information on the legal requirements for getting married in Turkey please contact the Turkish Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence.
A full listing of Turkish Diplomatic Missions and Consular Offices can be found on the following link: Turkish Embassy or Diplomatic Mission in your country
In addition, contact your country’s Embassy in Turkey:
|British Embassy in Turkey
Tel: (+90) 312 455 3344
|Irish Embassy in Turkey
Tel: (+90) 312-459 1000
|Australian Embassy in Turkey
Tel: (+90) 312 459 9500
|New Zealand Embassy in Turkey
Tel: (+90) 312 446 3333
|American Embassy in Turkey
Tel: (+90) 312 455 5555
|Canadian Embassy in Turkey
Tel: (+90) 312 409 2700
|South African Embassy in Turkey
Tel: (+90) 312 405 6861
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Requirements are subject to change in accordance with the laws of Turkey. Information updated as at Jan 2016.