The latest from our expert advisor, Clint Hufft, about getting married in Bosnia and Hercegovina, and Srpska. Srpska is about 49% of Bosnia and Hercegovina and has everything to do with politics and a residual effect of the awful war, which lated from 1992 to 1995. This, of course, has nothing to do with getting married and celebrating love — and wherever you choose to enjoy it. ITKB
Married in Bosnia and Hercegovina
…Married in Srpska
Turns out you need to apply for a marriage license in Srpska a week in advance. Oh, well. If you did want a marriage license there, or the rest of Bosnia and Hercegovina, here are the rules.
Note: American diplomatic and consular officers cannot perform marriages. In general, marriages which are legally performed and valid abroad are also valid in the United States. The Attorney General of your home state in the U.S. is the proper authority to respond to inquiries with respect to the validity of marriages abroad.The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina has a Family Law that regulates weddings. Under this law people are required to submit marriage applications at least 30 days prior to their wedding date. In exceptional cases, marriage registrars may approve a wedding date in a shorter time frame, but such action is at the discretion of local authorities.
The Republika Srpska uses a separate Family Law adopted in 2002. Couples who wish to marry in the Republika Srpska need to submit marriage applications at least one week prior to their planned wedding date. For additional information, please contact the Marriage Registrar in the relevant municipality.
Where To Go
The law in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH) recognizes only civil marriages. Application for marriage is made at a municipal registrar’s office in the city where you wish to marry. Because Sarajevo has multiple municipalities, you may go to any registry office, but if your fiancée(e) is local, the responsible office is determined based on his/her place of residence. U.S. citizens have found the Sarajevo Center Municipality particularly helpful (Mis Irbina Street #1, tel.: 033/562-383). To schedule your wedding date, you must submit all necessary documents to the registrar 30 days (in the Federation) or 7 days (in the Republika Srpska) before the date you plan to marry.
Documents the Embassy Will Issue to YouA certified copy of your U.S. passport. As there is no document in the U.S. that would be equivalent to the BIH “Certificate of citizenship” (normally required for marriage in Bosnia, the Embassy has contacted marriage registrars and explained the situation, asking that a certified copy of a U.S. citizen’s passport be accepted as his/her “certificate of citizenship.” However, if the registrar still insists on this document, the Embassy will give you a letter explaining the non-existence of “certificate of citizenship” in the U.S. and listing documents that serve as a proof of U.S. citizenship.
Proof that you are free to marry. Municipal registrar offices have accepted an affidavit sworn before an American consular officer attesting that you are free to marry. The Consular Section of the Embassy can notarize such an affidavit.
Certificate of absence of legal impediments to marriage. Will be issued to you based on your affidavit attesting that you are free to marry.
Marriage affidavit: $50
Certified copy of passport: US $50
Certificate of absence of legal impediments to marriage: $50
Total: US $150, payable in US dollars or the equivalent in KM
Additional Documents for the BiH Authorities
A certified copy of your birth certificate, certified by an Apostille.” Apostille certification is obtained from officials in the state that issued the birth certificate. The Consular Section can give you the name and address of the relevant official in your state. The copy of the birth certificate will be retained by Bosnian authorities.
Divorce decree, if applicable. It has to be certified by an apostille in the same manner as above.
Your birth certificate, passport, and divorce decree (if applicable) must also be translated by a sworn court interpreter. The Consular Section can give you the list of sworn court interpreters for English. The interpreter will affix his/her official seal on the translated copy. The translated copy and the original document must then be taken to the District Court responsible for the area in which you wish to marry. The Court will affix its seal.
Your birth certificate, proof you are free to marry and Certificate of absence of legal impediments to marriage also must be taken to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sarajevo (Musala St. No. 2) for certification.
Each party to the marriage must provide one witness to be present at the ceremony. Even if the U.S. citizen speaks Bosnian, he/she must also provide a court interpreter for the ceremony and this should normally be the same court interpreter that translated your documents.
The marriage is recorded in the Civil Registry. A Bosnian marriage certificate will be issued. One version will be in Bosnian and the other in the so-called international form (which includes English).
Authentication of the Bosnian Marriage Certificate
In order to use a Bosnian public document in the U.S. it must be certified with an apostille under the terms of the Hague Convention. You can obtain the apostille at the municipal court in the town (municipality) where the marriage certificate was issued.