American citizen getting married in Turkey: Step-by-step instructions
This is a totally random post, but the process to get married in Turkey was pretty extensive. I was already making lists of what I needed to do, so I figured I would share the data here. Who knows? Maybe it'll help somebody.
Probably the most difficult part of this whole process is the fact that we were getting married in Istanbul. You need to go to a lot of different places and they are all pretty spread out. If you are getting married in a smaller town, the process should be a bit easier. However, the American citizen will likely have to get the Affidavit of eligibility to marry form from Istanbul or Ankara. Each step requires some cash and some patience, so be armed with both.
For more detailed information (with addresses and approximate costs), check out the American consulate web site in Istanbul and the American embassy web site in Ankara. Also, here are the "Getting married in Turkey" info pages for Ankara and for Istanbul.
Step One: American Embassy
NOTE: In Ankara, you will need to make an appointment first, which you can do online. In Istanbul, no appointment is required.
1a. The American party will first need to visit the American embassy or consulate in Turkey. Fill out the Affidavit for Eligibility to Marry form, which you can get at the American embassy. If you have been previously married, you will need your divorce decree or death certificate of your spouse (The document needs to be the original or a certified copy. They will not keep this document, they just need to see it.)
1b. Pay $30 USD, by cash, check or credit card. No other currency will be accepted.
1c. After you pay, the official will make you swear that everything you have written on the affidavit is true, and your affidavit will be notarized.
Step Two: Turkish government office (Valiliği)
2. The Turkish authorities will then need to certify, stamp and sign your notarized affidavit. I read in several places that you needed to make copies of the affidavit before you head to get it certified. However, they just stamped the original notarized document and did not want the copy, so making photocopies at this point is probably not necessary.
Step Three: Document copying, translations, notarizations and photos
• Translate the American citizen's passport by a certified translator. Then take the translation to get notarized. This step is pretty pricey.
• 1 copy of the American citizen's passport photo and information pages (all pages containing Visa stamps)
• 1 copy of the Turkish citizen's id card, front and back
• Three copies of the notarized and certified eligibility to marry document
• 1 copy of the translated and notarized American passport
3c. ID photos...
• Get at least 10 of the passport-type photos taken. Each person will need at least six for the marriage report and two for the health report, so it's better to have more photos than not enough.
Step Four: Medical Report (Sağlik Ocaği)
4a. Go to any government health clinic (Sağlik Ocaği), pick up the marriage health report paperwork, which will require two passport-type photos of each party as well as blood tests (AIDS, syphillus, the normal drill) and lung X-rays.
4b. Most likely, you will have to get your blood tests taken somewhere other than the health clinic (because they don't have labs). At this point, you'll hope there is a hospital nearby and you'll navigate getting your blood drawn at the hospital. You'll have to pick up the blood test results the following day.
4c. Lung X-ray... Um, who knows why. Anyway, this is another location altogether, and you'll just have to ask around to find out where to go. Normally the lung X-ray results are ready within a few hours, so if you arrive before lunchtime, you can pick them up the same day. The results come in the form of a signature on the medical report form, which you leave with the front desk.
4d. After you have the blood test lab results and the lung X-ray results, head back to the health clinic to get the forms stamped.
Step Five: Marriage Bureau & setting the date!
5a. Document requirements change, so you may actually want to visit the marriage bureau before you do all your document gathering, just to know exactly what the most up-to-date requirements are. Either go to the marriage bureau where your Turkish spouse-to-be is registered to live or see if the municipality web site has posted the information.
5b. Make sure you go to the correct marriage bureau: the one that serves the registered residence of your future spouse. Every town has its own marriage bureau and couples are only allowed to marry at the marriage bureau that serves the Turkish citizen's registered address. If you choose to marry someplace other than where your spouse-to-be is registered, you will both have to travel to that locale and get permission to marry elsewhere. This can obviously be a problem if you are far away from where your spouse is registered.
5c. What's needed by the Turkish citizen
• Photocopy of Turkish ID & the ID itself
• Proof of where s/he is registered to live, stamped by the village alderman
• Six passport-type photos
• Completed health report
5d. What's needed by the American citizen
• Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry, notarized by USA and certified by the Turkish governor's office + copies
• Photocopy of the passport photo and information pages (all pages containing Visa stamps) & the passport itself
• Translation of the passport primary info page, notarized and stamped a million times
• Six passport-type photos
• Completed health report
5e. If you have all the papers you need, the office will fill everything out for you in their system. You'll check the info and sign a couple of times. Then all you have to do is choose the wedding date. Hooray! If the American citizen doesn't speak Turkish, you may need to hire a certified translator for the ceremony.
5f. If the woman wants to keep her last name, this should be mentioned when you sign the papers at the marriage bureau.
More info at http://turkey.usembassy.gov/getting_married.html & http://istanbul.usconsulate.gov/getting_married.html