Marriage in Luxembourg: what do you need to know?

Getting married in Luxembourg

Getting married in Luxembourg requires a number of administrative formalities beyond the organization of the event itself. Which matrimonial regime should you choose? Can I change my name? What are the tax implications? Do I need to have a previous marriage abroad recognized?

Find out more about civil and religious marriage in Luxembourg.

Around 2,500 marriages were celebrated in Luxembourg in 2022, over 98.6% of them between people of different genders. According to Eurostat, Luxembourg currently has a rate of 3.2 marriages per 1,000 inhabitants, compared with a European average of 3.9. 

Civil marriage in Luxembourg

Who can marry in Luxembourg?

In Luxembourg, marriage is permitted between two people of different or the same sex. In fact, same-sex marriage became law on July 4, 2014. Rights and duties are similar for all homosexual and heterosexual couples.

To marry in Luxembourg, both spouses must be at least 18 years old. In addition, at least one of the spouses must be officially resident in the Grand Duchy.

A minor may marry only with the authorization of the guardianship judge.

Civil marriage procedures in Luxembourg

How long does it take to get married at the registry office?

For Luxembourg residents, wedding preparations must take place at least two months before the wedding date. Non-Luxembourg residents should allow a minimum of three months.

Where to get married in Luxembourg

The marriage must be celebrated in the commune of one of the future spouses, provided he or she is legally resident there. Since 2022, it has been possible to marry in a place other than the town hall or "Gemeng". The municipalities define the authorized venues. In all cases, they must be solemn, public and non-religious, located within the municipality.

Constitution of the marriage file with the commune

The bride and groom must prepare their marriage file in advance. One of the future spouses must go to the commune of his or her place of residence to complete the various formalities.

A number of documents are required for a civil marriage in Luxembourg. In particular, the future spouses must present :

Applications must be submitted in person, by appointment.

Special cases for Luxembourg marriage files by nationality

  • Marriage file for German nationals

The Luxembourg registrar requests a certificate of matrimonial capacity, known as the "Ehefähigkeitszeugnis". This is issued by the commune of birth of the national, by the commune of last residence in Germany, or by the Standesamt in Berlin if the groom has never lived in Germany.

  • Marriage of Italian nationals in Luxembourg

Marriage announcements are made at the Italian Consulate if the couple were born and have lived in Luxembourg since birth. On the other hand, if the future spouses were born in Italy, the marriage is published in Italy.

  • Portuguese nationals and marriage in Luxembourg

Portuguese nationals must go together to the Consulate General of Portugal in Luxembourg and present several documents to set up the file: identity papers, birth certificate, certificate of residence.

Once the file has been processed, the Consulate sends the Certificate of Matrimonial Capacity - with the various documents attached - directly to the local authorities in the town where the wedding is to take place.

Wedding witnesses in Luxembourg

The Luxembourg Civil Code makes no provision for marriage witnesses.

Wedding celebrations in Luxembourg

The marriage ceremony takes place after the formalities have been completed. It is therefore advisable to arrange this at least two to three months before the chosen date.

The date and time of the wedding are fixed when the complete file is submitted. Marriages may be celebrated on any working day of the week. They must take place inside the town hall or in another location authorized by the town administration.

All marriages must be preceded by the publication of banns in the commune of residence of both spouses. The banns are posted for 10 days. Once published, the marriage must be celebrated within 12 months. If not, a new publication is required.

Marriage leave in Luxembourg

An extraordinary leave of three days is granted to each spouse, if they are bound by an employment contract.

More information on civil partnership or PACS in Luxembourg.

Matrimonial property regimes in Luxembourg

On getting married, the bride and groom can choose a specific matrimonial property regime via a contract drawn up before a notary. This set of rules governs the financial interests of the spouses. In the absence of a marriage contract, the legal community matrimonial regime applies.

Legal matrimonial property regime in Luxembourg

If the spouses decide not to sign a specific marriage contract, they are automatically subject to the legal regime. This is based on the principle of a community reduced to acquests.

Under the legal matrimonial property regime, assets acquired after marriage fall into the community. In other words, this means that the products of their work, the income from their property and the assets acquired during the marriage belong to both spouses.

However, some assets remain the property of one of the spouses, if the person can prove that they belong to him or her. These include assets acquired before the marriage took place, assets of a personal nature, or assets acquired by gift or inheritance.

Debts contracted before marriage remain personal. However, creditors can sue the indebted person out of his or her personal assets, as well as out of community property. Debts incurred by one of the spouses for the upkeep of the household or the education of the children can be pursued against all joint property.

When only one of the spouses incurs a debt within the community, the other spouse cannot be sued.

Universal community of husband and wife

Spouses who wish to do so can opt for the universal community property regime. All the couple's assets - acquired before and after marriage - belong to the community. This means there are no assets of their own, with the exception of personal clothing and family heirlooms.

All debts are joint and several. The spouses are therefore jointly liable, even for debts contracted by one of them before marriage.

The regime of separation of property between spouses

By signing a separation of property regime, the spouses retain the administration, enjoyment and free disposal of their personal property. There are no joint assets between the spouses.

Each spouse is responsible for his or her own debts, whether incurred before or during the marriage. There is one exception, however: if the debts were incurred for the education of the children or the upkeep of the household, both spouses are liable for these debts.

In the event of the couple's death, community property can be awarded to the surviving spouse. The surviving spouse will then inherit all the couple's assets. However, this possibility is subject to special conditions if there are children from the first marriage.

Change of marriage contract in Luxembourg

After at least two years of marriage, spouses are free to make changes to their existing matrimonial property regime by notarial deed.

Community liquidation

A marriage may be dissolved in the event of divorce or the death of one of the spouses.

The liquidation of the community of marriage is based on the respective rights of the spouses under their marriage contract. However, in the case of a contract of separation as to property, there are no assets in common, so there is nothing to liquidate.

Find out more about inheritance tax in Luxembourg

Last name of spouses married in Luxembourg

In Luxembourg, the law makes no provision for surname mergers. Only the name appearing in the civil register is recognized. A married woman may, however, borrow her husband's surname and add her maiden name.

Please note that the law of March 18, 1982 allows you to change your surname. A reasoned written request must be sent to the Ministry of Justice.

Religious weddings in Luxembourg

Religious marriage alone is strictly forbidden. On the other hand, a civil marriage must take place before the celebration of a religious marriage.

To organize a religious wedding, future spouses are invited to enquire directly at their place of worship, with the people in charge.

Luxembourg taxation for married couples

Married taxpayers benefit from tax class 2. Spouses are taxed collectively and benefit from tax deductions.

Find out more about personal taxation in Luxembourg.

Having a marriage contracted abroad recognized in Luxembourg

Why have a marriage contracted abroad recognized?

A couple married abroad can, if they wish, have their marriage recognized in Luxembourg. In principle, any marriage validly entered into under the law of the country in which it was celebrated can be recognized in this way.

Recognizing a marriage offers many advantages to spouses who decide to settle in Luxembourg, whether for tax, social security or parentage reasons.

Who can request recognition of a foreign marriage?

The recognition of a marriage contracted abroad can be requested by all married couples. This is possible whether or not they are Luxembourg nationals , and provided they are both legally resident in Luxembourg.

Same-sex couples married before January1, 2015 can also apply to have their marriages recognized. However, a number of conditions must be met, such as the customary forms imposed in the foreign country, Luxembourg law and international conventions.

Marriage recognition procedures in Luxembourg

Several steps are required to have a marriage celebrated abroad recognized. The bride and groom must go to their local Commune. The bride and groom must present several documents to the registrar:

  • A valid passport for foreign nationals or an identity card for Luxembourg nationals.
  • Authenticated marriage certificate.

Once the file has been validated, the marriage can be transcribed onto the civil registry of the couple's place of residence.

Please note: However, the application may be rejected if the validity of the marriage is questionable under Luxembourg law.

Find out more about administrative procedures in Luxembourg

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