How to Obtain Russian Citizenship By Marriage

Groom holding bride in his arms
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Acquiring Russian citizenship can be done in multiple ways. Foreigners seeking Russian citizenship must be at least 18. Obtaining Russian citizenship by marriage is all about paperwork, as it requires providing the correct documents including visas, passports and martial status papers. Translation of certain documents also is required. Citizenship is not granted immediately after marriage, however, and you must be married to a Russian citizen for three years to become a citizen yourself.

Apply for a Russian visa if you do not already have one. Any kind of visa, such as tourist, private, student and business, will do. This is done by providing a Russian consulate with your passport and completing the Russian visa application. Individual travelers need a letter of invitation, also called a tourist voucher, visa support or tourist reservation confirmation issued by a Russian travel agency that is authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Letters of invitation (visa support letters) are simply forms that need to be completed and can be procured online by stating how long you will be staying in Russia.

Read More: How to get a copy of your Russian birth certificate

Have the first page of your passport translated into Russian. This is the section containing your personal information. The passport also must be stamped and signed, also called Russian notarial proof. Translation can be obtained through a Russian translation bureau for $15, as of 2010, which takes about two working days. You may also have your passport translated by your country's embassy in Russia; however, the consul must sign the translation to confirm it's legitimate.

Apply for a martial status paper through the Russian embassy or through local authorities, such as the Superintendent Registar's Office for English citizens. Should you decide to get the paper through your local authorities (and therefore outside of Russia) the notice of marriage will be given in this area (your residence), and if it is not objected to in 14 to 21 days depending on the country, the certificate of no impediment will be issued. The certificate needs to be legalized by attaching a Foreign and Commonwealth Office certificate, also called a "Apostille," according to the Way To Russia website. The number of days the certificate is valid upon issue varies by country. Applying for a martial status paper through the Russian embassy might take longer to receive the paper, as the embassy will have to mail it to your country.

Apply to Zapis Aktov Grazhdanskogo Sostoyaniya (ZAGS), Russia's registry office, which processes international marriages. No prior booking is required, you may simply walk in with your future spouse during office hours. A ZAGS official will inform you about required documents needed (passport, visa) as well as a bank account number where the wedding registration fee should be transferred. Once all proper documents have been prepared and the fee is paid, you will be given an application to fill out. The application is an official request to process the wedding and needs to be signed by both spouses. After the application is complete, the ZAGS official will book a wedding day for you. By Russian law, weddings take place 32 to 60 days after the application form is processed by ZAGS. You will be given a government wedding certificate on the day of your ceremony.

Make your Russian marriage certificate legal abroad by putting the Apostille on it, which can be done at the ZAGS Central Archive in Moscow. After documents are checked, you will be given a bank account number for transferring the Apostille fee. Get a transfer proof at the bank and present it to ZAGS, which will accept your documents in three to seven working days. Bring the documents to your embassy to have them recognized internationally.

Become a Russian citizen after three years of marriage. According to the publication, "Acquiring Russian Citizenship," a person must be married to a member of the Russian Federation for at least three years and pass a Russian language test to become a citizen.


  • Depending on your country's embassy, other documents might be required. For example, the French Embassy requires a translated copy of your future spouse's birth certificate as well as testimony that he sincerely wants to marry you. This can be done in any Russian notary office.

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