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 Russia. Read on to ensure all of your paperwork is in order before booking your ticket. --Joan Bahr
Residency Requirement And Waiting Period
Russia does not have a residency requirement for U.S. citizens seeking to marry there, but every foreigner must register his or her visa with a landlord through the post office or with a sponsor through the Federal Migration Service, according to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Couples wishing to marry must wait 32 days from when they appear at the Civil Registry Office with their documentation.
Intent To Marry
Russia does not require U.S. citizens to post their intent to marry.
Marriages in Russia are civil service ceremonies that take place at the local ZAGS (Zapis Aktov Grazhdanskogo Sostoyaniya) Civil Registry Office.
The Marriage Certificate
Marriage certificates are issued by the ZAGS Civil Registry Office. If the bride or groom is Russian, the couple should apply in the city or town where he or she is registered.
U.S. citizens wishing to marry in Russia must present a standard affidavit form that explains their current marital status; this form is available from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, must be completed in Russian and must be notarized at the embassy. The Department of Legalization of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs must authenticate the form; this can take up to five days. Couples must also present a certified translation of the information page of their U.S. passports. The U.S. Embassy website provides a list of certified translation centers. Divorce certificates and/or death certificates are often necessary if the bride or groom has been married previously.
Same-sex marriage is not legal in Russia. A female Russian couple attempted to marry at a local ZAGS office in 2009 and were turned away; RIA Novosti reported in July 2010 that the couple was appealing the rejection to the European Court of Human Rights. It is pending there, according to GayRussia, a group organized in 2005 to support LGBT rights in Russia.
Americans marrying other Americans in Russia may face additional requirements, according to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. The guidelines provided by Russia to the U.S. Embassy focus mainly on foreigners who wish to marry Russian residents.
View the full set of laws and regulations regarding marriage in Russia.