When I was searching the internet, I saw lots of misinformation about getting married in Turkey.
For this reason, as a Turkish lawyer, I wanted to clarify the marriage procedure in Turkey and provide answers to the most common questions.
In this post, after giving some brief guidelines on the marriage procedure in Turkey, I will answer the most asked questions that I spotted during my internet search.
Can Foreigners Get Married in Turkey?
Foreigners can get married in Turkey regardless of their nationality. Foreigners of different nationalities can marry each other or can get married to Turkish citizens. The paperwork is simple.
Yet, more documentation is required from foreign country citizens because the Turkish government does have access to your records in your home country.
Simply put, everyone can get married to their loved one in Turkey, there are only three main limitations. These limitations are;
- Same-sex marriages are still not accepted in Turkey.
- Polygamy is banned. If you are legally married in any other country, you can not get married in Turkey.
- Health conditions. You may not be allowed to get married if you are carrying some serious infectious diseases.
- Marriage between close relatives is prohibited.
Is it Easy to Get Married in Turkey?
The process of getting married in Turkey is easy and relatively straightforward. Simply put, identity cards, photos, health tests, and some documents from your country and agreeing on two witnesses are all the things required for a wedding ceremony.
Moreover, the legally binding part of the marriage ceremony is controlled and performed by government officials. At the end of the ceremony, you instantly receive your marriage certificate.
Here are the generally required documents for applying for the official marriage ceremony.
Documents Needed For Turkish Citizens
- Turkish Identity Card
- 5 Photos
- Health report and blood test
Documents Needed For Foreigners
- Notarized Turkish translation of your passport.
- 5 Photos
- Health report and blood test
- If you are residing in Turkey, your residence permit.
- Document showing your marital status and your parents’ name. (Obtained from your home country’s consulate in Turkey.) Source
Turkish authorities do not interfere with foreign nationals’ licenses to marry. Turkey officials mainly look at three things, i) if your age is over 18 or not, ii) checking to make sure that you are not carrying an infectious disease, and iii) if you are already married or not.
For these reasons, Turkish officials want you to bring a document from your country’s consulate
- stating your age,
- marital status, and
- your countries’ permit for you to be able to marry in Turkey.
Can US citizens get married in Turkey?
If you are a U.S. citizen marrying in Turkey, you will first need an Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry from Ankara, Istanbul, or Adana US Consulates depending on the Turkish city you are going to get married in.
All marriages in Turkey must be performed under the authority of the Turkish Civil Code to be legally recognized by the US. Religious ceremonies are not legally recognized. The U.S. Embassy or Consulates in Turkey do not perform marriages.
For more current information check the US Government Marriage in Turkey Guide.
Can a UK citizen get married in Turkey?
UK Citizens can also marry in Turkey. For this marriage to be valid in your home country, the UK, you need permission from the UK consulate, and you need to follow the correct legal process in Turkey.
This permit is called the certificate of no impediment (CNI) for the UK (British) citizens. The UK government recognizes your marriage if you obtain CNI and follow the Turkish legal requirements. For more please check the UK Government‘s page.
Will your Turkish marriage be recognized in the UK?
As long as you get married by obtaining a certificate of no impediment (CNI), and you follow the Turkish legal way, your marriage will be recognized in the UK.
In other words, if Turkish authorities recognize your marriage, there are no legal reasons for the UK not to do so.
Please translate your document and certify the marriage certificate before leaving Turkey. According to English Law, marriage can only be registered in one place, and there is no legal requirement in English law to register your marriage again in the UK. Source UK Government – Wigan Council
How long do you have to be in Turkey to get married?
There is no residency requirement. You can come to Turkey for marriage on a tourist visa as well. As long as you apply with the necessary papers to the relevant municipal authority, you are good to go.
The paperwork for marriage is manageable. You can collect documents in less than 2 days. Medical examinations are easy. Normally, medical results will be given to you the next morning.
The only time-consuming document is the one that you need to obtain from your consulate. All foreign citizens need to get their countries’ permits to be able to marry in Turkey.
The document you need to obtain from your consulate depends on your government service level. Please consult your consulate for more details before deciding your marriage date.
UK citizens need to obtain a certificate of no impediment (CNI) and the US citizens need to get an Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry. For UK citizens, the waiting time for this document is 29 days.
Do you need a blood test to get married in Turkey?
A blood test is mandatory for future husbands and wives. You need to get negative results for HIV, Hepatitis B&C, and Syphilis. Your request for marriage may be denied if you are carrying a serious infectious disease.
Also, your blood type information is entered into the Turkish health system.
Turkish Wedding Ceremony
At the minimum, a municipality officer, two witnesses, one lady, and one man (preferably in love with each other) is required for a Turkish wedding ceremony.
The officer will ask to confirm your intentions about the marriage, and you will say yes. Witnesses will testify that they witnessed the event, everybody will sign the wedding ledger. There you go! A lifetime of happiness 🙂
Once you complete your official applications, wedding officers will come to the chosen location to perform the marriage. If you have not arranged a wedding celebration, you can simply get married in the wedding officer’s quarters.
Legal Background of Turkish Marriage Ceremony
Let me start with a bit of history. When the new Turkish Republic was founded in the 1920s, all of our laws were inspired by European Laws.
The Italian Penal Law influenced our criminal law, and our trade laws were from Germany. Our civil laws governing marriages are also based on European laws. More precisely, Turkish Civil Law is from Switzerland.
I am telling you this general knowledge because if you are familiar with the European system. For this reason, Turkish rules of marriage are similar to European countries.
Turkey’s only major difference in marriage ceremonies is that religious authorities have no right to perform wedding ceremonies in Turkey. Only municipality officers and Turkish consulates have the right to marry couples legally.
In theory, village heads are also authorized to execute a wedding ceremony, but in practice, as a Turkish lawyer, I never witnessed it in my 40 years of lifespan.
Difference between Consulate Weddings and Weddings Performed by Turkish Authorities
In Turkey, you can marry your loved ones with marriages performed by Turkish Authorities. Additionally, you can use your country’s consulate.
The difference is that Turkish law will not be applicable in the wedding ceremonies in your country’s consulate, because technically consulates are not Turkish soil. For that reason, you do not need permission from Turkish authorities for weddings in the foreign consulates in Turkey.
If you arrange your wedding in your country’s consulate, please consult the consulate in which you arranged your marriage.
This guide is all about wedding ceremonies performed by Turkish law and Turkish authorities.
Are religious weddings banned in Turkey?
Religious weddings are not banned in Turkey. You are also free to marry religiously, but it is not legally binding and valid.
Who pays for a Turkish wedding?
According to Turkish tradition, the husband pays and his family pays for the wedding ceremony. It is also customary to give gold and money to the new couple by both family members and all visitors during the wedding night.
The girl and her family organize and pay for the expenses of the Kına Gecesi (Henna Night. )
Henna night is the Turkish version of the bachelorette party and English hen party. It is dance night with its own traditional routines and mostly women attend this night.
Frequently Asked Questions on the Internet
Can you marry a Turkish man?
As long as you are eligible with both your home country and Turkish laws. Being above 18 generally gives you the right to marry in Turkey. There is no special requirement for marriage for any nationality in Turkey.
Lastly, the man should be grateful to find someone like you and preferably should declare his love in one of the newspapers as a one-page ad. (Just kidding :))
Can I marry a Turkish girl?
As long as the Turkish girl is above the age limit of 18, you can marry her. However, if the girl is 17, you need her parent’s permission. If she is between 17 and 15, you need the permission of the Turkish court, which is hard to get and issued in rare instances.
Can a Turkish man marry an English girl?
There is no specific Turkish regulation preventing you from marrying an English girl. For this marriage to be valid in the UK and Turkey, you need permission from the UK consulate. This permit is called the certificate of no impediment (CNI) for the UK (British) citizens.
If you are married in Turkey, your marriage is recognized by the UK government if you obtain CNI and follow the Turkish legal requirements. Source UK Government
Can you have two wives in Turkey?
Polygamy is strongly prohibited in Turkey. Marrying with more than one person is a criminal offense, alone by itself. You cannot also religiously marry more than one woman as well. It is still considered a criminal offense.
For this reason, all foreigners who want to marry in Turkey need to obtain their marital status from their consulates to prove that they are not married to anyone else.
How many marriages are allowed in Turkey?
One marriage is allowed in Turkey. Second marriage is invalid and may be considered a crime and punishable by prison.
Our laws are based on the European system. Islam accepts polygamy, and yes, Turks are dominantly Muslim. Yet, in Turkish culture, polygamy is not a culturally accepted norm.
As a Turkish local, I never encountered a Turkish man with two wives in my whole life. Legally and culturally, polygamy is not welcome in Turkey.