Guide: Civil Status Proof (Certificate) For A Schengen Visa
What Is A Schengen Visa Certificate Of Civil Status?
A “Civil Status Certificate” or “Proof of Civil Status” for your Schengen Visa application is a certificate that proves if you are married, divorced, widowed, or you have another civil status (or marital status).
The box called “Civil status” in the Schengen Visa Application Form requires you to check the civil status that is applicable to your situation: single, married, registered partnership, separated, divorced, widow(er), or other (another type of civil status recognised by the laws of your country).
For some Embassies/Consulates, submitting proof of civil status is mandatory while for others is optional.
Even for those Embassies/Consulates where submitting proof of civil status is mandatory, it is more important for them to check a civil status certificate that can actually add value to your Visa application.
For example, a marriage certificate can provide a high level of confidence to the Embassy/Consulate officers when they are reviewing your Schengen Visa application because it shows that you have strong roots in your country, especially if you do not plan to travel with your spouse. While a divorce certificate can be less important for your Visa application because it does not show whether you have strong ties in your country of residence or not.
If you are single, you are not actually required to prove your civil status, as it would not bring any additional verification to your Schengen Visa application. Also, it can be difficult for you to prove that you’re single, unless the authorities of your country of residence can issue a “Single Status Certificate” – but no Schengen Embassy/Consulate requires you to submit such a certificate.
In other words, you can submit one of the following certificates to the Embassy/Consulate (do not forget that not all of them can add the same value to your Schengen Visa application):
● Marriage certificate
This is a document that serves as legal proof of marriage.
● Registered partnership certificate
(If the registered partnership is recognised by the laws of your country) – A registered partnership is similar to a marriage.
The only difference is that, in order to terminate a marriage, you usually need to go to court.
A registered partnership can be terminated without the intervention of a judge, as long as no children were born into this relationship and there are no conflicts between the partners.
However, this type of union between two partners is more common in the Netherlands.
● Legal separation certificate
Separation means that you and your spouse are living apart from each other, but you’re still legally married.
In some countries, legal separation is the first step before the divorce. However, not all countries issue a legal separation certificate before the divorce is finalised.
● Divorce certificate
A divorce certificate is a document that is a final judgment from a divorce court (or other authority that can pronounce a divorce).
● Widowed certificate
Some countries can issue certificates that prove someone is a widow(er).
Other countries do not issue these certificates and therefore widowed applicants can prove their civil status to the authorities by showing the marriage certificate and the death certificate of the spouse.
● Other civil status certificates
Some countries can legally recognise other types of unions between two partners. For example, there are countries where domestic partnerships are legally recognised – partnerships between two individuals who live together and share a common domestic life but are not married to each other or to anyone else.
Typically, these countries do not issue “domestic partnership certificates” but you can submit other documents in order to prove that you live in the same house with your partner (for example, a copy of a document that shows your partner lives at the same address as you – this can be a copy of the ID, driving licence, a rental agreement, a utility bill, etc.).
Also, we recommend that you submit documents that can prove you have a domestic relationship whether this type of union is legally recognised in your country of residence or not as they can prove to the Embassy/Consulate officers that you have a significant reason to come back from the Schengen Region.
● Single Status Certificate
If you are single (and the laws in your country of residence allow you to obtain a single status certificate) you are not required to bring any evidence of your relationship because, from a bureaucratic perspective, single status applies to people whose relationship with a partner is not legally recognised.
Also, if you are in a relationship but you do not live at the same address as your partner, you cannot be considered as being “single” but it can be difficult for you to prove to the Embassy/Consulate officers that you actually have a relationship.
Important: If your surname at birth has changed (for example, you got married and you changed your surname or you are divorced and you kept the surname of your ex-spouse) you must submit your original birth certificate together with your civil status certificate when applying for your Visa. in this case, we also recommend you submit a certified copy of your birth certificate.
How To Get A Civil Status Certificate For Your Schengen Visa
You should already have a certificate that proves your civil status in case one of the situations mentioned above is applicable to you but in the unfortunate event you misplaced it, you can request a new one.
We suggest that you ask the authorities who registered your civil status certificate to search for you in their registries and provide you with a new certificate – which usually includes a fee.
The steps you must follow may vary by country and individual state laws. The authorities who issue a civil status certificate can vary as well according to the country (it can be the Town Hall, Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, Administration of Civil Status, local civil registries, etc.).
First, you should check on their website and see if you can make an online request (or, if the authority who issued your certificate allows you to create an account on their website it is highly likely that you can make the request by logging in into your account and following some specific steps).
Alternatively, you can make an in-person request directly at the counter of the institution responsible for issuing your certificate.
Important: If your civil status certificate is not bilingual (in both English and the official language of the country that issued it) we recommend you get a certified translation of it by contacting a certified translator or an agency that provides certified translation services in your country.
The translation should be in English, as most Embassies/Consulates accept English translations.
We also recommend that you submit a copy of your civil status certificate together with your original document.
It is not mandatory for you to make a certified copy of your civil status certificate but it can make a good impression on the Embassy/Consulate officers, as they do not need to copy it themselves.
The steps you must follow in order to get a certified copy of your civil status certificate are the same that you must follow to get a certified birth certificate copy or a certified passport copy.
Common Mistakes To Avoid When Submitting A Civil Status Certificate For Your Schengen Visa
- Submitting an extract of the civil status certificate – In some countries, the authorities responsible for issuing civil status certificates (e.g. the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages) can also issue extracts of these certificates as well. Unlike the official document, a civil status record extract contains only the essential details of the record. If this rule is applicable to your country, make sure you submit the official document and not the extract.
- The details about you on your civil status certificate do not match the details about you on your other documents – Sometimes, mistakes can occur when issuing a document. In this case, you should ask the authorities who issued that specific document to correct the mistake as you are not allowed to submit documents where your personal information does not match. Documents where details about you do not match can also cause you trouble in different contexts as well (for example, at the bank when you apply for a loan or in any other context where your personal documents are required).
- Submitting your civil status certificate without the birth certificates of your children (if you have any) – If you have children and do not plan to travel with them we highly recommend you submit their birth certificates as well (or, at least, a certified copy of their birth certificates). Submitting their birth certificates is not mandatory, but they can bring a higher value to your Visa application (because they prove your intentions to leave the Schengen Region and return to your country of residence).