There’s nothing the Greeks love more than a good bureaucracy. So foreign couples who prefer to reserve their love for other things will often have a legal ceremony at home and follow it with a symbolic one in Greece. If you do want to go through the entire legal process, we highly recommend working with a local wedding coordinator, keeping in mind that even with their help the paperwork can take several months. Something else we highly recommend, because no other Greek loves a good bureaucracy more than the Athenians do, is that if you are having a legal ceremony, have it anywhere but Athens.
Civil and religious ceremonies are both legal. You need to do only one or the other, but may do both, if you wish.
Residency requirement: None
Consent: Anyone under 18 can get married only with permission of a Greek court.
Medical requirements: None
Witnesses: There must be two, each with either a passport or , and one of them must be able to serve as an interpreter.
Previous marriages: If either bride or groom is widowed, a final divorce decree or death certificate is needed.
It is usually possible for foreigners not living in Greece to use a marriage license issued in their own country. But be aware that the issuing jurisdiction may restrict where the ceremony can take place. A marriage license issued in New York, for instance, is valid only for a ceremony performed in that state. The license is subject to the same certification and translation requirements as the documents listed below.
If the bride and groom’s home country is a signatory of the 1961 Hague Convention (the U.S. and UK are; Canada isn’t) all documents issued by their home country, with the exception of passports, must be endorsed with an apostille.
Where to get documents translated — All documents must be translated into Greek by the Greek consulate that has jurisdiction over where you live, or by the Translation Department of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Athens. Not all consulates provide translation service. If that’s the case with yours, then the translation must be done by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs If you are in a rush, an expedited service is available.
Required documents include
Certified copy of birth certificates.
Divorce decree or death certificates, if applicable.
Certificates of No Impediment. This is an affidavit, in English and Greek, stating that you are at least 18 and legally free to marry. It can be obtained, by appointment, at the U.S. Consulate in Athens. People under 18 can get married in Greece only with permission of a court.
A copy of a wedding notice, one of the bride and one for the groom, published at least eight days ahead of time in the Greek-language newspaper of the community where the marriage license is being applied for. Names should be phonetically written in Greek. If you are applying for a license in a community too small to have a newspaper (How romantic is that!), the notice needs to be posted for eight days in the appropriate location by the local mayor.
To apply for a marriage license, one set of documents each for the bridge and groom must be presented in person to the mayor of the community where the applicants are residing. The license is issued eight days later and is good for six months for a civil ceremony that can be performed anywhere in Greece.
The ceremony is normally conducted by the mayor at the town hall, but in some circumstances it is possible to have it take place at your hotel or another venue.
Once the license is issued, another application must be submitted to the mayor of the community where the marriage will take place. That official then sets the date for the ceremony.
Marriages between some religions are not permitted, including Christians to non-Christians and Jews to non-Jews. You may have to provide proof of religion. Check with the leaders of your particular religion for specific additional requirements.
The same documents necessary for a civil marriage must be taken to the presiding church leader, who will then apply for the license on your behalf, subject to the same eight day waiting period as a civil marriage.
If both a civil and religious ceremony will take place, two sets of documents are needed, one each for civil and religious authorities.
Same Sex Marriage
Greece does not recognize same-sex unions
Once you are married
After the ceremony, the marriage, whether the ceremony was civil or religious, must be registered at the vital statistics office of the community where the ceremony took place. It must be done within 40 days, but can be done by either the bride or groom, or someone else, if they have a notarized letter from you giving them power of attorney. After the marriage is registered, a certificate will be issued within three days. You can pick it up or have your wedding coordinator send it to you. If the marriage is not registered, it is not considered legal, in Greece or at home.
As requirements are subject to change, do not consider any of this as legal advice, and verify all information from local wedding coordinators and other sources before arriving.