Civil Marriage in Georgia (legal information)
Did you know that Israelis have the right to marry in a civil wedding in Georgia? This is a country that is relatively close and has low prices, enabling a couple who are not Georgian citizens or residents to get married on its territory rapidly and easily. Beyond the wedding ceremony, the legal process requires registering at one of the government registration offices and translating the personal documents into Georgian. On the other hand, it is possible to obtain the marriage license and accompanying documents translated into English.
Georgia is one of the less-known destinations for Israelis seeking to marry in a civil ceremony and later register in Israel as married. However, there are many advantages to marrying in Georgia, including minimal bureaucracy, an attractive price and prompt, courteous service. In order to carry out the marriage process and register it legally in Israel, it is advisable to get help from a lawyer with experience and legal expertise in the field. In this article, attorney Michael Decker, partner in our firm and specialist in civil law and arranging legal status in Israel, will explain the process.
Civil marriage in Georgia – why and for whom is it relevant?
According to official statistics, 7,000 Israeli couples get married abroad every year. This represents over 10% of all marriages performed among Israeli couples. There are many and varied reasons why couples get married abroad, with the main one being the fact that the State of Israel does not recognize civil marriages performed on its territory. While some couples get married in a civil ceremony out of personal preference, quite a few couples have no other choice. A common example of such a case is a mixed couple, in which one partner is Israeli and the other foreign, or the two partners have different religions.
For a couple seeking to get married abroad, there are not many destination options. Among European countries that allow Israelis to get married on their territory, even if neither partner is a resident of that country, Cyprus and the Czech Republic are particularly known. Many couples choose to get married in these countries. However, not all couples are aware that they have another option, no less convenient – a civil wedding in Georgia. Georgia is a two and a half hour flight away from Israel. The relatively low prices make the total cost of a wedding in Georgia particularly worthwhile. Our experience in providing legal counsel for couples going through the procedures has shown that the registration offices offer accessible, courteous, and professional service. When you combine all that with the cultural and culinary riches of Georgia, it makes for an extremely attractive option that should be considered by any couple who wants to get married abroad.
What are the legal requirements for getting married in Georgia?
To conduct the marriage, the couple must first register in one of the governmental registration offices (for a full list, click here). There is an office in the capital city of Tbilisi, but there are also offices in other Georgian cities. The couple must fill out a form in the registration office and provide copies of both partners’ passports, with a notarized translation into Georgian. If one of the partners is marrying for the second time, certification of divorce or ending of the previous marriage will be required, also with a notarized translation into Georgian. In addition, the wedding must be performed in the presence of two witnesses. If the witnesses come together with the couple, copies of their passports will also be required, again with notarized translation into Georgian. However, it is also possible to summon two local witnesses for an additional fee.
In specific cases, additional documents may be required. Along with presenting the documents, the couple will have to pay the fees for conducting the wedding. After all this is arranged, the ceremony will be performed. Note that reception of the marriage certificates usually takes two business days after the date of registration, because of the need to translate the documents to English and stamp them with an apostille stamp. However, the registration office offers fast-track service at an additional cost.
Can a couple register in Israel as married after a civil wedding in Georgia?
A civil marriage performed in Georgia can certainly be registered in Israel. What’s more, the law requires doing so within 30 days of the wedding date, and anyone not doing so could be jailed and fined. Our office assists couples in the process of registering marriages and gathering the relevant documents to do so, and even filing an appeal if needed, in cases where the Population Authority refuses to register the marriage. Likewise, our office accompanies couples through the process of arranging Israeli legal status for mixed couples (comprised of one Israeli partner and one foreign partner). To conduct the process legally, we recommend obtaining legal counsel, in order to avoid mishaps or bureaucratic hurdles that may be caused along the way.
Civil marriage in Georgia – contact an attorney specializing in civil law and arranging Israeli legal status
Above we explained about civil marriage in Georgia, including the legal requirements for conducting the wedding and registering it in Israel afterwards. If you have questions or need help on this issue, you can contact an attorney from our office, in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, who specializes in arranging Israeli legal status. Our office has extensive experience in representing couples in civil marriage procedures and obtaining Israeli legal status. You can contact us at the telephone numbers or email address below.