Getting Married In Greece
Some couples are content to tie the knot at the courthouse down the road. But for those who are more adventurous, a destination wedding -- and an international marriage -- are a must. The Huffington Post's guide to international marriages will tell you everything you need to know to get legally married in Greece. Read on to ensure all of your paperwork is in order before booking your ticket. --Marnie Kunz
Residency Requirement And Waiting Period
U.S. citizens do not have to be residents of Greece to marry in Greece, although if one of the parties is a resident of Greece, he or she must possess a valid residence permit to marry. Waiting periods vary depending on the locality and type of marriage. Civil marriage licenses include a seven-day waiting period. Applicants should expect the whole process to take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.
Intent To Marry
To obtain a marriage license in Greece, a copy of a newspaper notice of intent to marry is required. The notice must be published in the local Greek newspaper where the marriage will take place. If there is no local newspaper in the area, the notice can be posted at the local community office or city hall.
In Greece, marriages can be civil, religious or both. The mayor performs civil ceremonies are performed, and religious ceremonies are officiated by a priest or religious official. Two witnesses are required for civil ceremonies, and each witness must have a valid passport or Greek ID. One witness can serve as a translator for couples that do not both speak Greek. Religious ceremonies have varying witness requirements depending on the religion.
The Marriage Certificate
Couples must file a marriage registration form with the Office of Vital Statistics in the locality where they get married. The couple has 40 days to file the marriage registration after the ceremony. After 40 days, fees will be incurred.
A U.S. passport that has been officially stamped when entering Greece is required for Americans to obtain a marriage license in Greece. A certified copy of a birth certificate, including an official translation into Greek, is also required. Applicants can get translation services from the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Applicants must also furnish an affidavit of marriage, which states that there is no impediment to getting married. These documents can be obtained from an American consular officer at the U.S. Embassy in Athens or the U.S. Embassy in Thessaloniki. The cost of the affidavit is $50. Previously married applicants must provide proof of marriage terminations, including death certificates, divorce decrees or annulment decrees. An official translation into Greek must be provided with each document. Greece requires that these documents have an apostille certification, which applicants can obtain from the Secretary of State in the U.S. state from where the document came. Applicants must also provide a copy of the local Greek newspaper with a notice of their intent to marry.
Same-sex marriage is not legal in Greece. The Greek Orthodox Church opposes gay marriage, but the Greek government and economy have felt increasing pressure to make progress in the country's gay rights arena following gay marriage laws in other parts of Europe. The government has formed a committee to draft gay rights legislation and plans have yet to be unveiled.
Americans with a marriage license from the U.S. can use the license to obtain a Greek marriage license as long as the wording does not expressly state the U.S. marriage license is only valid in certain states or the U.S. If a license limits the marriage to one area, such as "in the state of California," Greece will accept the license if the issuer changes the clause to include Greece.
View the full set of laws and regulations regarding marriage in Greece.