Costa RicaCosta Rica

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  - Costa Rica

Getting Married

Getting Married

Getting married in Costa Rica requires very little paperwork. There are no waiting periods, no blood tests, and no required documents other than your valid passport. You will complete a questionnaire that includes necessary data, and your Costa Rican lawyer will submit this as a sworn statement.

Costa Rican law stipulates that two witnesses (non-family members) attend the wedding. They must provide copies of their passports and a statement of civil status, nationality, address and occupation. On the day of the ceremony, two documents will be signed by bride/groom and witnesses: a sworn statement attesting marital status, and the marriage document itself.

Required Documents 

If you are not a Costa Rican citizen, you are required to present the following documents:

  •  A passport valid for at least six months

If you are marrying a Costa Rican citizen, your future spouse will need the following documents:

  •  A Costa Rican identity card (Cedula de Identidad)

  •  A Certificate of Single Status (Certificado de Solteria) issued by the Civil Registry 

Special Requirements for Women

If a woman has been divorced or is a widow, she can only remarry after 300 days have elapsed from the official issuance date of her divorce decree or her former husband's death certificate. She can waive this requirement if she proves that she is not pregnant before her marriage ceremony. To do so, she must take a pregnancy test administered by the Supreme Court of Costa Rica at the Forensic Medicine Office (Medicatura Forense de la Corte Suprema de Justicia) in San Joaquin de Flores in Heredia, Costa Rica. The telephone number is 2295-3000. If her pregnancy test is negative, she may marry immediately.

Validity of Marriages

In Costa Rica, only priests, judges and lawyers are legally authorized to perform a marriage ceremony. If you wish to have a religious, but non-Catholic, wedding ceremony, a judge or lawyer must also be present to make the marriage official. Civil marriages legally conducted in Costa Rica are valid worldwide. It takes about three months for the Costa Rica Civil Registry to issue your marriage certificate, which your lawyer will have translated and then sent to your closest consulate or embassy to be authenticated. Be sure to stop by your local city hall or equivalent government office, and request the requirements for registering a marriage conducted abroad.

To be legally recognized in the United States, your Costa Rican marriage certificate must be:

  •  Translated into English by an official translator

  •  Authenticated by the Costa Rican Ministry of Foreign Relations

  •  Notarized by a Public Notary

  •  Certified and signed by the U.S. Embassy's Consular Section

To be legally recognized in Canada, your Costa Rican marriage certificate must be:

  •  Translated into English by an official translator

  •  Authenticated by the Costa Rican Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  •  Authenticated by the Canadian Embassy in Costa Rica

  •  All documents must be presented to your Province’s Vital Statistics Offices for appropriate registration in Canada.

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