In Denmark, after a wedding has been conducted, both the bride and groom receive identical marriage certificates. These certificates have the names of both persons, their dates of births, citizenships, places of birth, place of marriage and city or municipality of marriage written on them. Although – and this is according to my local Standesamt – these certificates are enough in that state to be recognized in Germany, it is a good idea to get an Apostille stamp on them as well. Better be safe than sorry.
The Apostille stamp can only be gotten from the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The offices of the ministry are located in the capital Copenhagen. To get an Apostille stamp, you have to go to the ministry, pay a fee and get one or both the marriage certificates legalized. For the German authorities, one document should be enough but you can have both legalized as well if you wish. An Apostille is like the Danish Federal Government, guaranteeing that you have indeed been married in their country. According to the Hague Convention on Apostille, it should be recognized in all signatory countries. Here is a list of countries which recognize this convention. The procedure for getting the Apostille is stated here. For this reason, I recommend marrying in Copenhagen because you can get the Apostille stamp on the same day as well! It takes 5 minutes, usually. On a side note, the city is beautiful and has lots of attractions.
Once you have your marriage certificate from Denmark with the Apostille stamp on its back (that’s where they stamp it), take it to the Standesamt when you’re back in Germany. The Standesamt will change its records and list you in the married section. Your spouse can then decide whether they want to change their name or not (only if they’re German, though). Once you’re done with that, you can go to the Rathaus and register yourself as married there too.
(Note: The next section is for those of you who are marrying a German citizen. Please ask your local Ausländeramt what the rules are if you have married a citizen of another EU country. I’d appreciate if you could tell us all those rules here as well in your comments.)
But the bigger hurdle, as always, is the Ausländeramt. Now, the Ausländeramt may huff and puff, but remember: your marriage is recognized in Germany now. There is no need to be afraid of them. This isn’t the time to hanky panky. The non-EU spouse can now ask for a change in residency status on the basis of them being the spouse of a German citizen. From here onwards, read very carefully. The Ausländerbehörde can now offer you 2 options. Depending on your status, that is.
- Get a 3 year residence permit and do a German B1 language exam on your own.
- Get a 3 year residence permit and commit to doing an Integration Course which includes a B1 language exam as well as a course and exam on life in Germany.
You will only be offered option 1 if you have completed at least a Bachelor degree from a university anywhere in the world. It is assumed that you will find a job and integrate in German society on your own. Otherwise, it’ll be option 2.
Option 2 requires you to first present an A1 language course exam results to launch the residence permit proceedings. This is because the Integration Course starts from the A2 level. If your language skills are good, you can ask the language school to waive your language test and then you can just sit in the classes for the life in Germany exam. Clear this with both your language school and the Ausländeramt. If you get 17 out of 33 questions correct on the life in Germany exam taken at the end of the Integration Course, you won’t need to do a Citizenship Exam (Einbürgerungstest) should you decide to become a German citizen in the future.
I hope this was useful 🙂