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Civil Marriages

Civil Marriage : We have performed many civil marriages over the years here in Costa Rica. We specialize in small intimate weddings at the location of your choice and have a broad range of services available to fit your budget. Please e-mail with a description of what you wish and we will gladly reply with a quote. 


Requirements and Processes for marriage in Costa Rica 


To legally marry in Costa Rica is a fairly simple process.Weddings must be conducted by a lawyer.  Who then files all of the papers with the civil registry as well as your embassy, thus ensuring your marriage is legal and recognized internationally. We will send you a questionnaire before you come via email, asking for specific information about yourself, your spouse-to-be and witnesses. During the ceremony, the lawyer will have all the necessary information in a judicial declaration that the both of you plus the witnesses will sign. 


The following is a list of requirements for civil marriage of non-residents in Costa Rica. 


1. ID  Required? 

Costa Rica requires a valid passport for foreigners who wish to marry. No other type of identification is accepted. 

A Birth Certificate is not required. 


2. Does anything need to be certified by a CR consulate before your arrival? 



3. Sending of Required Information 

All information should be sent with a minimum of 14 days prior to arrival. Everything may be sent by fax or e-mail. 


4. Required Witnesses ? 

Two (2) people are required to bear witness. Those who are not allowed to bear witness are (related to the bride and groom): mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, uncle, aunt, sister, half sister, brother, half brother, cousin, nephew, niece, all in-laws, etc. 

All information for your witnesses must be provided. Best for witness duties are friends or local Costa Ricans. 


5. How long do they need to be in Costa Rica to be married ? 

No required minimum stay (permanence) in Costa Rica exists for a valid marriage. 


6. Were one of you previously Divorced ? 

A judicial declaration will attest to when, where and from whom you are divorced. You must send the date, place, name and address of court that decreed the divorce, along with full name of ex-spouse, so that it may be included in the declaration. 


7. For women divorced less than 300 days ? 

An archaic law designed to avoid children from a previous marriage being born into the next marriage. 

It requires the divorced bride to have a minimum 300 days between the date of the divorce decree and date of the upcoming marriage. If this is not possible, the bride must undergo two pregnancy tests by two different doctors, have them certify the negative results, have the certification translated by an official translator, and run through the required chain of signatures ending in the Secretary of State (or equivalent, depending on the country), and the Costa Rican Consulate. This must be presented to the officiating notary prior to the ceremony. 

We really suggest you wait the 300 days. 


8. Marriage certificate: How long does it take, what is the legal process in Costa Rica and what do you do with it upon receiving the certification . 

a) The Certificate of Marriage takes app. 3 (three) months to process. The Costa Rican Civil Registry requires approximately 11 (eleven) weeks to register the marriage and issue the certification. This is a requisite for validity abroad. 


b) The Certificate will be sent via Fed Ex or other express mail service.  Translated and authenticated by the Consulate of the country of residence of the couple. 


c) Once you receive the Certificate, it must be registered in the city of residence of the couple. Call your local city hall, town hall, municipality or other equivalent to inquire where marriages are registered, and take the Certificate as proof of marriage. Costa Rican marriages are recognized all over the world. 



You will not need to bring any notarized legal documents. 


Requisites for getting married- Kindly email the following information for both bride and groom: 


1) Full name - (first, middle and last; no initials, please). 


2) Profession/Occupation 


3) Current address - (complete street address, please, No P.O. Boxes Accepted). This should be your home address. 


4) Passport number and nationality - please make sure each passport is signed by the bearer. Fax a preliminary copy of photo/information page only of each passport to the Lawyer. A clear set of photocopies of each passport will be required here in Costa Rica. 


5) Marital status - if divorced, please indicate the date, city and state, name of Court that decreed the divorce, and the full name of ex-spouse, no initials, please. Note: If the bride is divorced, her divorce date must be at least 300 days prior the date of the upcoming wedding. 


6) Date and place of birth - (city, state or province, country). 


7) Full name of Father and Mother and current citizenship - (no initials, please; Mother's maiden name, please). 


8) Mailing address - (No P.O. Box, please) This is the address where the final documentation will be sent. Courier Companies requires a street address. Package containing the Certificate of Marriage will require a "received" signature. 


9) Phone number - Required by the courier company. 


10) E-mail address - or Fax number for notification upon sending documents with trace numbers included. 


After the wedding, we will file the paperwork with your Embassy if located in Costa Rica. Once everything is processed, your Embassy will forward it to you in your hometown. Lawyer's fees are $450 plus transportation (if you are marrying in a more remote area). We also offer a bilingual, non-denominational minister if you'd like a spiritual component. Please note that the Catholic Church will not allow weddings outside of a Church.. We can assist you with all the paperwork if you would like a Church wedding.

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