Marriage in Poland
According to Polish law, a marriage is a formal relationship between a man and a woman. Marriage is solemnized when future spouses make a declaration in front of the head officer of Registry Office (Urzad Stanu Cywilnego) in the presence of best man and bridesmaid (marriage in Registry Office can be witnessed by two adults of any sex – e.g. two men or two women); on the day of wedding witnesses must arrive 5 minutes before the ceremony in the Registry Office with the personal identity documents. If a marriage is going to be contracted in a church or orthodox church it will be also registered in the Registry Office as well (without further necessity of contracting a marriage in Registry Office).
- Polish law recognizes marriages of two people of opposite sex only,
- it is not allowed to be in a marriage with more than one person,
- only adults over the age of 18 may contract a marriage, however, Polish law allows to marry a woman when she is over the age of 16 (the decision must be made by the Guardianship Court (Sąd Opiekuńczy),
- mental diseases or intellectual disabilities may be a major impediment for contracting a marriage. Under the circumstances when partner’s health condition does not threaten future offspring and the marriage, a court can make a positive decision on solemnization of a matrimony. Marriages between close relatives are prohibited,
- adoption in marriage.
Marriage can be contracted in Registry Office. In justified cases, head officer of the Registry Office may allow to solemnize a matrimony outside the office building. Marriage can be arranged also in a temple in company of spiritual guide (so called concordat wedding). Polish authorities respect marriages solemnized in following churches:
- Catholic Church
- Orthodox Church
- Evangelical-Augsburg Church
- Evangelical-Methodist Church
- Christian Church
- Baptist Church
- Seventh Day Adventists Church
- Polish Catholic Church
- Mariavite Church
- Pentecostal Church
- Religious Jewish Communes
Marriages contracted in all of these churches are officially legal and there is no further necessity to visit Registry Office. “Marriage solemnized in a mosque has a ceremonial character, and is not formally valid. Muslim marriages must be contracted in Registry Office in order to be accepted by Polish authorities and law.
- Identity document with a photograph,
- Certified or original copy of a birth certificate with sworn translation provided,
- Superintendent Registrar's Certificate of no impediment to marriage pursuant to the marriage with foreigners. This document certifies that according to the law of the country of origin, a person has right to get married in Poland. It is often difficult to obtain this document, as many countries does not issue such certifications. If a foreigner is not able to present such document (e.g. His or Her country does not issue such documents), then is obliged to present a permission from a court. Such permissions are issued by District Court (Sąd Rejonowy) during the non-trial proceedings, on foreigner’s request,
- Registration of residence certificate,
- Valid passport.
What is more, if a foreigner does not speak Polish language on advanced level it is necessary to provide a sworn translator during the wedding ceremony. If documents necessary to contract a marriage are in any other language than Polish, they must be translated by a sworn translator.
Also, a marriage certificate is subjected to the legalization or apostille (legalization of documents obtained in foreign countries: more information can be found on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerstwo Spraw Zagranicznych).
Contraction of a marriage - procedure
In order to contract a marriage visit Registry Office, where the head officer provides a certificate allowing to contract a marriage. This declaration must be submitted to the office of the temple (Kancelaria Świątyni) where the wedding will take place - such document is valid for 3 months.
Contracting a marriage in Registry Office is proceeded by a monthly waiting period. However, the head officer may contract a marriage before the expiry of that period in justified cases.
When marriage certificate is prepared on a request of couple willing to certificate a marriage, the head officer of Registry Office issues shortened certified copies of this act up to 3 times, free of any charge.
Marriage certificate in Registry Office costs 84 PLN.
Certification of a marriage before consul
Man and woman, citizens of Poland abroad, may contract a marriage before consul or a person acting on behalf of consul.
Surname after marriage
Despite the form of marriage solemnization (civil wedding or religious ceremony) couple must submit a declaration concerning their surnames, whether they desire to change their surnames after marriage or not, and which surname will have their children. There is a possibility of staying with present surname, but it is also possible to take the surname after a spouse, or add it to the present one. Common practice in Poland is that women take surnames after their husbands.
Rights and responsibilities of spouses
According to Polish law, married people have equal rights and responsibilities. After marriage they commit themselves to live together, support and respect each other, to be faithful and work for the good of the family.
Foreigners married with Polish citizen receive residence permit for a specified period of time on preferential terms.
Being married to a Polish citizen is a mandatory prerequisite for granting the foreigner residence permit for a specified period of time.
A foreigner who is married with Polish citizen, when applying for a residence permit for a specified period of time does not have to, as is the case with other foreigners, show stable and regular source of income, sufficient to cover their and their family living costs and health insurance within the meaning of universal health insurance coverage on the territory of Republic of Poland. The spouse of a Polish citizen does not have to provide the legal title to the occupied premises.
• According to Polish law, a marriage with citizen of Republic of Poland protects foreigner against deportation form the territory of Poland,
• Foreigner grants a right to work, if has already received temporary stay permission due to marriage with Polish citizen,
• A right to conduct economic activity (own business on the rules applying to Polish citizens),
• A convenience when buying estates (after 5 year of stay in Poland, on the basis of residence card).
Polish law describes cases of pretended marriage. If during the stay procedure of one of the family’s members of EU, some circumstances suggest that:
1) One of the spouses got married in exchange for financial benefits, as long as such practice is not a result of rooted custom of certain country or social group
2) Spouses do not fulfil their marriage responsibilities
3) Spouses does not live together
4) Spouses have never met before wedding
5) Spouses cannot communicate in any language
6) Spouses argue about personal data and other important details
7) One of the spouses, or both have contracted a pretended marriage in the past
-the head instrument decides if the marriage with the citizen of EU is not bogus
• The Act of 25 February, 1964. - Family and Guardianship Code (consolidated text. Laws of 2012., Pos. 788);
• The Act of 29 September, 1986. - Law on Civil Registry (text Dz. U. of 2011. No. 212 poz.1264 as amended);
• The Act of 16 November, 2006. Stamp Duty (text Dz. U. of 2012., Pos. 1282 as amended);
• Foreigners Act of 13 June, 2003. (Dz. U. of 2011. No. 264, item. 1573 with later. D.).
• The Act of 14 July 2006 (Dz.U.2006.144.1043) on entering the territory of the Republic of Polish, stay and departure from the territory of nationals of Member States of the European Union and their family members