Marriage in Ukraine

What is “marriage” as per Ukrainian legislation?

As per Ukrainian legislation, marriage is a willful, equal right union of a man and a woman aiming to create a family, registered by the authority of the state registration of civil status acts (Registrar).
A man and a woman residing as one family without marriage are not considered to be spouses.

Legal regulation of marriage

The law of Ukraine defines the procedure of marriage registration in Ukraine between a citizen of Ukraine and a foreigner or a stateless person as well as a marriage between foreigners or stateless persons.
As per current law, foreigners and stateless persons have equal rights and obligations regarding marriage and family relations as well as citizens of Ukraine.

What conditions should be observed for marriage?

According to the law, the marriage procedure in Ukraine is not complicated. It is necessary to comply with the following conditions to register a marriage in Ukraine:

– a bride and a groom should be of the marriage age (18 years old, a right to marry can also be obtained by a court decision – following the petition filed by persons who are of the age of 16);
– a bride and a groom should not be married to another person;
– no other drawbacks for a marriage, such as: marriage between siblings is forbidden, between relatives of direct line ascending, between an adoptive parent and adoptive child).

Documents you need for marriage in Ukraine

When compared to a marriage between Ukrainian citizens, a marriage procedure with the foreign citizens in Ukraine is far more complicated.
Foreigners willing to register their marriage in Ukraine have to provide the Registrar (department of the Ministry of Justice) with the following documents:

1. Original passport or other specified documents (with a notion, confirming the legality of their stay atin the territory of Ukraine, unless otherwise provided by the current Ukrainian legislation).
2. If the foreigner’s passport doesn’t contain information about his marital status, the foreigner should submit the legalized certificate, confirming that he is not married, issued by the authorized body in a country of his origin with a translation into the Ukrainian language.
3. Foreign citizens, who were previously married, will be able to register a repeated marriage only if they provide documents confirming the termination of their previous marriage. For example, a court decision of marriage dissolution, if it is final, a certificate of marriage dissolution, a spouse’s death certificate, or other documents confirming the termination of a previous marriage, provided for by foreign legislation. Such documents must be issued by the authorized body and appropriately legalized with a further translation into the Ukrainian language.

The procedure of marriage registration with foreign citizens

The procedure of marriage registration for foreigners in Ukraine is as follows:

1. Personal application submitting to the Registrar. In case, the person attempting to enter into marriage is not able to submit an application personally for valid reasons, his/her signature upon the application must be notarized. A notarized application shall be submitted by a representative acting on the grounds of a notarized power of attorney.
2. The Registrar accepts the application, explains to the applicants their rights and obligations, the procedure of marriage registration, duty to provide the correct information and the outcomes of the submitting of false information.
3. The actual date of marriage registration is appointed on the grounds of agreement with the applicants. Generally, a marriage with a foreigner shall be registered in 1 (one) month after the application. Earlier marriage registration shall be performed for valid reasons, confirmed by the documents (pregnancy, serious illness, etc.)
4. Marriage is registered in the presence of both applicants.

The procedure of check of the foreigner’s legality of stay in Ukraine

The principal point, which is vital for marriage registration with the foreign citizen, is that a foreigner must stay in Ukraine legally as of the day of marriage registration.
After obtaining all the above-mentioned documents, the Head of the Registrar subdivision shall send a request to the State migration service verifying whether a foreigner’s stay in Ukraine is legal and finding out the number of days, he has before leaving Ukraine.
Based on the inspection results the State migration service issues a conclusion on a legal stay of foreign citizens in Ukraine notifying of a number of days he/she stayed in Ukraine legally.

Urgent marriage procedure

A marriage procedure, when a man and a woman willing to marry are citizens of different countries can be both general and urgent.
Since 2016 the project called “Marriage for a day” (Marriage within 24h) has been performed in several cities of Ukraine. The price for such service shall amount to 2 500,00 UAH during working days, and 3 500,00 UAH at weekends and holidays. This price also includes the payment for Registrar services and the state fee.
For an urgent marriage procedure, it is necessary to conclude an agreement with an institutor (commonly it is a state institution) and submit a general application for marriage registration. The future spouses shall apply to the Registrar district subdivision (at the institutor’s location area), where a marriage registration will be carried out only after payment of services and when all necessary documents have been obtained (conclusion issued by the State migration service, receipts, agreement, application form, passport translation).
After a marriage registration, a married couple obtains the marriage certificate.

Visa agreement procedure after marriage

After the marriage registration, a foreign citizen, if planning to reside in Ukraine, shall apply for a temporary residence permit. A foreigner should leave Ukraine to obtain a new type “D” visa (on the grounds of a marriage certificate). The purpose of visiting Ukraine shall be family reunification. This procedure (of the re-entering) should be carried out even though a foreigner is a citizen of a country, that ratified the Visa Waiver Treaties with Ukraine.

Permanent residence permit

A marriage with a citizen of Ukraine is a ground for obtaining a residence permit in Ukraine. For two years being married to Ukrainian citizen, a foreigner can get a permanent residence permit, and later – will obtain citizenship of Ukraine.

If a foreigner enters into marriage with a person who is not a citizen of Ukraine but is a foreigner, who has a permanent residence permit, he will be able to obtain such a permit without observing these two years. But for becoming a citizen of Ukraine in such circumstances, a foreigner should wait five years, observing a variety of other conditions.

A Marriage outside of Ukraine

A marriage between a citizen of Ukraine and a foreign citizen, which wass registered outside the territory of Ukraine, is considered to be valid in Ukraine. This marriage should not be registered in Ukraine repeatedly. Though, a marriage certificate issued to a foreigner and a citizen of Ukraine outside its territory should be properly certified (legalized/apostilled) in a country of its consignment and translated into the Ukrainian language with a notarization.

Dissolution of marriage

A marriage can be dissolved in a judicial or non-judicial manner (through the offices of the Registrar) depending on certain circumstances (common children and their age, parties’ motivation, definiteness with children, alimony, and division of property matters).

Division of Conjoint property

A property that has been acquired by the spouses in marriage belongs to both wife and husband on the joint ownership title.

Usually, in case of marriage dissolution, a spouses’ property is divided between them into equal parts. At the same time, the separate private property of a wife or a husband is: a property acquired: before marriage, in marriage but on the grounds of a gift agreement or as an inheritance, in marriage but purchased with his/her own money, an apartment or a land property purchased as a result of privatization.

Marriage contract

A married couple may conclude a marriage contract. This contract can be concluded both before and after marriage registration (in this case a marriage contract shall be valid as of the day of marriage registration) and shall be notarized. A marriage contract regulates spouses’ property relations, defines their property rights and obligations.


Cover photo from The Paris Photographer.

Platon Danylenko