Please note that these procedures are subject to change without notice and that the information provided is merely a guideline you may find helpful. Furthermore, the procedures listed below may not apply to US citizens who intend marry other Americans or third-country nationals in Russia.
1. Register Your Visa with Your Russian Sponsor
Every foreigner is required by Russian law to have his visa registered by his landlord through the local post office or his sponsor through either the local or central FMS (Federal Migration Service).
2. Obtain an Official Translation of the Information Page of Your Passport
The necessary translation can be obtained at any certified translation center that has a Russian notary public present. The following is a partial list of certified translation centers in Moscow:
Bureau of Interpreters (23 Leningradskiy Prp., metro stop Dinamo), 250-0407/1723
Uni V Tour (6 Bobrov Per., Bldg. 3, 2nd floor, Rm. 8, metro stop Chistye Prudy), 625-2225/2667
Santor (1 Gogolevskiy Blvd., Bldg. 10, metro stop Kropotkinskaya), 771-1884
3. Prepare a Marriage Letter at the U.S. Embassy
U.S. citizens who intend to marry in Russia must complete the standard affidavit form (svidetel’stvo) (PDF 70 KB) in which they state their current marital status. The form must be completed in Russian and notarized at the Embassy. You must make an appointment for a notarial service before you come to the Embassy. The notarial fee is $50.00 or the equivalent in rubles. Russian authorities consider the document valid for only three months after a U.S. Embassy consul or vice consul notarizes it.
Due to Russian government regulations this service is available only at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and not at the U.S. Consulates General in Vladivostok or Yekaterinburg. Legal Permanent Residents are not entitled to this service.
4. Have the Marriage Letter Authenticated at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
This service is performed by the Department of Legalization of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at 1st Neopalimovskiy pereulok, dom 12a, approximately a twelve minute walk from Smolenskaya Metro (on the dark blue line). The hours of operation are from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (until 4:00 p.m. on Friday). Monday through Friday; telephone 8 (499) 244-3797. The procedure costs about 200 rubles with a five-day turnaround. There is no next-day or expeditious service available. All fees can be paid at the Sberkassa located in the waiting room of the Department of Legalization.
5. Get Married at the Civil Registry Office (Zags)
After completing the first four steps, you must contact the ZAGS (Zapis Aktov Grazhdanskogo Sostoyaniya) office where your fiancée/fiancé is registered and submit your documents for inspection. ZAGS officials generally will demand that you submit apostilled* copies of all pertinent US civil documents (i.e., divorce certificates, annulments) for their inspection. ZAGS will then schedule the civil service wedding 32 days from the date of registration. You do not have to stay in Russia for this period, but rather be present to submit the application and appear on the 32nd day in order to get your marriage license. If your fiancée/fiancé is a Muscovite, you must submit the documents you have prepared, your passport, and Russian visa to the Civil Registry Office at the following address: Palace of Weddings, 17 Butyrskaya St. Telephone 495-685-1960, 495-685-7988.
Once you are married, you may contact the Embassy for information about obtaining immigrant visas for your spouse and his/her dependents. Please also see our webpage on immigration to the United States.
General information on marriage overseas is available at the Department of State’s webpage.
* Please note that the U.S. Embassy in Moscow can neither translate nor legalize U.S. documents for use in Russia. Certified copies of U.S. documents must also bear an Apostille stamp to be valid in Russia – these stamps are only available in the United States. For more information please see our webpage on “Notarial Services“.