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Getting Married

Getting Married in The Netherlands

Dutch law only acknowledges civil marriages, performed by a registrar of marriages (ambtenaar van de burgerlijke stand). Once the civil ceremony is completed the marriage may then be solemnized in a religious ceremony. A marriage ceremony performed here is, in general, valid in the United States. However, same-sex marriages, while legal in the Netherlands, are not recognised in every U.S. state. American diplomatic or consular officers are not authorized to perform marriages, testify to the legal ability of persons to marry, nor make certifications as to any U.S. law regarding marriage. Local authorities only perform marriages if one of the parties is a legal resident of the Netherlands. The Dutch Immigration Service does not grant resident status solely for the purpose of getting married.

The city hall (Stadhuis, Afdeling Huwelijkszaken) in the municipality where the marriage is planned will be able to provide specific information regarding the procedure to be followed.

Dutch citizens under the age of 18 must obtain parental permission and a Royal Decree, which is only granted under extenuating circumstances.

For information on getting married in the United States, please contact the County Courthouse of the town or city where you wish to get married.

Effect of marriage upon citizenship
Marriage in the Netherlands does not automatically confer Dutch citizenship upon an individual. Requirements for Dutch citizenship may be obtained from the City Hall of one's (prospective) residence in the Netherlands (Afdeling Nationaliteit). American citizenship is not lost or acquired through marriage.

Visas for Spouses of American Citizens
If the non-American spouse of an American citizen wishes to reside in the United States, he or she must apply for an immigrant visa. In The Netherlands, all immigrant visas are issued at the American Consulate General in Amsterdam. Detailed information on the subject may be obtained from the Consulate General's Immigrant Visa Unit.

If the non-American spouse of an American citizen wishes to travel to the United States for a temporary visit (as a tourist, or for business purposes), he or she can make use of the Visa Waiver program for most stays of up to 90 days, or may apply for a non-immigrant visa at the American Consulate General in Amsterdam.