On 26 November 2015, the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus passed the Law on Civil Partnerships,(1) conferring the possibility to "two heterosexual or homosexual persons" to conclude a "written agreement", known as a "civil partnership agreement".
Same-sex couples can also celebrate their marriage in Cyprus without any discrimination. The procedure is simple, meaning that even tourists on holiday in Cyprus can celebrate their marriage.
What documents are required?
The following documents are needed to complete a marriage application:
- a valid identity card or passport or other equivalent travel document;
- a valid visa or residence permit in the Republic of Cyprus; and
- an affidavit stating that: the individuals have not entered into marriage or any other civil partnership in force; the individuals are not aware of the existence of any legal impediment to the conclusion of a political cohabitation; and any necessary consent required for the conclusion of a political cohabitation has been obtained, or that no such consent is required.
What is the procedure for the conclusion of a civil partnership?
The parties must sign in person the relevant agreement before the registrar in the district where one of them resides or, if they do not live permanently in Cyprus, in the district of their choice. Two witnesses of at least 18 years old and of sound mind must also co-sign the relevant agreement. The civil partnership enters into force on the date of its submission and as stated on the relevant certificate.
When is a civil partnership considered to be void?
A civil partnership becomes void:
- in the case of another pre-existing and still valid marriage or civil partnership;
- if it takes place between relatives within the prohibited degrees of a relationship;
- if it takes place between an adopted person and their adopter;
- if it takes place with a minor (ie, an individual under 18 years old);
- if the relevant procedure has not been respected (as described in article 5 and 6 of the 2015 law); or
- in the absence of consent by one or both partners.
Only the court can issue an annulation order. A deadline of three years from the conclusion of the civil partnership applies.
What is the procedure for the dissolution of a civil partnership?
A civil partnership can be dissolved if:
- the partners submit a common declaration in writing and in the presence of two witnesses, who should be at least 18 years old and of sound mind;
- one of the partners applies for the relevant court order, which will be served to the other party;
- the partners marry, upon which the dissolution of the partnership automatically applies; or
- one or both partners pass away.
What is the difference between a civil marriage and a civil partnership?
According to article 4 of the 2015 law, a civil partnership confers the same rights as marriage, unless otherwise specified in the law. Generally speaking, in Cyprus, the term "spouse" will be considered equivalent to "partner" with the exception of the law on adoption.
A civil partnership certificate will be recognised in Cyprus and in specific countries that have similar laws. The couple will have the same rights that married couples have, and will be able to live and work in Cyprus freely.
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