Marriage of international couples in Austria

When international couples get married in Austria, there is the question of which national law should be applied.

Form and requirements

Under Austrian law, a marriage comes into being in a legally valid form if it is concluded in Austria by means of a civil marriage ceremony. However, it should be verified whether there are stricter conditions governing marriages under the law of the country of origin in order to ensure that the marriage is also recognised in the country of origin. Information on this can also be provided by the respective diplomatic representations in Austria (→ BMEIA)German text. Further information about registering to get married can also be found at oesterreich.gv.at.

Caution

Weddings taking place only in churches are not considered legally valid by the authorities. The Austrian formal requirements (civil marriage ceremony) apply to marriages with a connection to another country (one of the spouses has foreign nationality or the marriage ceremony is abroad) in particular if rights associated with the marriage are to be exercised in Austria.

Personal legal effects

Same nationality on marriage

If, at the time of the marriage ceremony, both spouses have the same nationality and one of the spouses later assumes a different nationality, under Austrian law the legal effects of the marriage are governed by the law of the country whose personal status (generally the law of the country of nationality) both spouses had at the time of the marriage ceremony, provided that one of the spouses has retained this personal status.

Example

A Belgian citizen, Mr A., marries the Belgian citizen Ms B., and they emigrate to Austria. Mr A. goes on to become an Austrian citizen. Nevertheless, their marriage will generally continue to be subject to Belgian law.

Different nationalities on marriage

If, at the time of the marriage ceremony, the spouses had different nationalities, under Austrian law the legal effects of the marriage are governed by the law of the country in which they have their common habitual residence. It one of the spouses subsequently moves to a different country, the law of the country of their last common habitual residence will continue to apply if it has been retained by at least one of the spouses.

Example

The Belgian citizen Ms B. marries an Austrian, Mr C. The couple live in Austria. Austrian law applies to their marriage. Austrian law will continue to apply even if they later separate and Ms B. returns to Belgium.

Rules in the case of other failure of a marriage to come into being

If the marriage did not come into being under the legal system of competence from the Austrian perspective, but did come into being under Austrian law, in case of doubt the personal legal effects should be assessed in accordance with Austrian law. Where the spouses have a stronger relationship with a third country, the law of that country is applicable instead of Austrian law.

Example

A Belgian couple choose to get married in Austria. If the marriage is valid under Austrian law, but there is a possibility it may not be valid under Belgian law, Austrian law should apply in the first instance. However, if the Belgian couple marry in Austria despite being resident in another country (for example, Germany), Austrian law says that their marriage should be governed by German law.

Information on the national rules of other countries in this regard (international private law) can be provided by the respective diplomatic representations in Austria (→ BMEIA)German text.

Further links

Legal basis

Section 18  of the IPR-Gesetz

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 1 January 2022

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Justice