If it wasn’t clear from the title or image… I got married! After meeting in Spain, a year and a half abroad, two visits to each others countries, two college graduations, me moving to Serbia… we are officially Mr. & Mrs. Jelačić!
As expected, it was no easy task to get married abroad… but in Serbia it really wasn’t that difficult either! While I know of some countries with far stricter and more tedious processes, Serbia’s didn’t have me pulling my hair out trying to get all the necessary paperwork. How early you need to start really depends on one thing (more than anything else) – do you have a copy of your birth certificate with an Apostille Stamp that’s from within the last year? If not, that is definitely what’s going to take you the most amount of time. Luckily for me I had family in California who was able to obtain a copy, get the stamp, and bring it over with them on their flight. If it had to be mailed that would have probably added another 3-4 weeks.
With me being American, these are the following items we needed to obtain to get married in Serbia:
- Valid U.S. passport as a proof of U.S. citizenship
- Copy of my birth certificate with a notarized Apostille seal (from the state of birth in the U.S.)
- The certificate must be translated to Serbian by a court interpreter
- A statement that s/he is free to marry. This is made at the United States Consular Office in Belgrade.
- These are translated already by the U.S. Consular Office.
- You must schedule an appointment in advance and bring your passport
- $50 fee paid for in dollars, dinars or credit card
- Certificate issued by the U.S. Consular Office that the marriage in Serbia will be valid in the U.S.
- This is translated already by the U.S. Consular Office.
- Proof of termination of any previous marriage (if applicable)
After you get the statement that s/he is free to marry and that the marriage will be valid in the U.S, you aren’t done. You need to go to the Consular Office where you must get the final notarization (Apostille Stamp) from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also in Belgrade. Learn more about the whole process from the U.S. Embassy in Serbia here.
You don’t need an appointment to go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs so as long as you have time to get there before they close, you should be able to just walk right in and they’ll direct you for where you need to go. Once I submitted my paper I was able to wait about 15 minutes and then retrieve it. I’m sure if they’re busy they’ll have you come back the next day or something but luckily for Nenad and I, it was an easy and convenient trip.
Once you have all the paperwork ready, translated, and photo copied, you need to take it to the Matičar’s office for your municipality. For me, living in Novi Sad, it was in the center of the city. Once all the correct information was submitted, we were able to choose a day and time (before 15h) within the next seven days. You need to have a certified court translator present to the ceremony, basically to ensure the foreigner understands what they are agreeing to! It cost about $50 and the ceremony itself was about $5. Talk about affordable lol.
Badda bing badda boom – you’re now a married couple.