UPDATE: From readers: Just to let you know, Same Sex Marriage is now completely legal in Belgium since October 1, 2004. There are no longer any restrictions regarding nationality and whether or not the marriage will be recognized in one of the partners home country. My partner (now husband) and I got married on October 2nd. I am a US citizen and he is Belgian. Regards, RG & LD, Husbands
As soon as we can find online documentation to support the change in law, we'll post it here. Sheri & Bob
Non-Immigrant Visa Section --Regentlaan 25 Boulevard du Régent, B-1000 Brussels
Automated Visa Information Service: 0903 99 980 (1.1155 /minute; 24 hrs)
Opening Hours: Monday through Friday 9:00 to 12 a.m.
Closed on U.S. and Belgian Holidays
INFORMATION ABOUT MARRIAGE
Contrary to what some may believe, officers at American embassies and consulates have no authority to perform marriages in foreign countries. It is usually the laws and regulations of the country that prevail in these issues.
Belgian Marriage Requirements for American Citizens
The competent Belgian authority performing marriages is called "Ambtenaar van de Burgerlijke Stand/Officier de l' Etat Civil". Only marriages celebrated by this official in due and legal form are valid. A religious ceremony may, however, be performed subsequently at the option of the contracting parties.
In order to contract marriage in Belgium, one of the parties must reside in the country. There is no specific period of residence, but several weeks are generally necessary for completion of the required formalities. If neither of the parties has a fixed residence in Belgium, one of them must establish a residence for this purpose. Upon arrival in Belgium, the party registers with the communal authorities in the district of his domicile and requests a "Bewijs van Woonst voor Huwelijksdoeleinden/Certificat de Domicile pour mariage" (Certificate of Residence for Marriage Purposes). The party residing in Belgium (or the one who has established a residence as explained above), may submit the following required documents for both parties, and request publication of the banns in the commune in which he or she resides. The marriage may be performed ten days after posting of the banns.
In addition to the "Certificate of Residence for Marriage Purposes", the parties contracting marriage in Belgium are each required to produce the following documents:
a. a death certificate of the former spouse *, or
b. an authenticated copy of a divorce decree *, as appropriate.
When the divorce decree does not indicate the date on which the divorce became final, a statement to that effect, delivered by the court which pronounced the divorce, must also be produced *
* All official documents issued in a foreign country (e.g. the United States) must be authenticated by means of the "Apostille", an international authentication procedure recognized in the United States of America and Belgium. In the Untied States, the "Apostille" is issued by the office of the Secretary of state in the state where the document was issued. If the documents are written in a language other than Dutch, French or German, they must be translated by a sworn translator (a list of sworn translators can be found in the yellow pages of the Belgian telephone directory). If the translation is not made in Belgium, the signature of the translator must also be authenticated as explained above. Addresses of U.S. Secretaries of State may be obtained from the Consular Section of the American Embassy, Brussels, by telephone at 02/508 2383 between the hours of 09:00 a.m. and 12 noon; by fax at 02/513.04.09; or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
** A person whose last place of residence was in the United States will not be able to obtain a certificate of residence since this document is not available in the United States. In that case, the person should inquire from the commune authorities what they will accept instead of a U.S. certificate of residence.
Information above provided by U.S. Embassy in Belgium