Legal Requirements for Getting Married in Costa Rica
Allow least 10 days from arrival in Costa Rica to wedding date to process paperwork (it is possible to send documents ahead and cut this number of days down). We recommend giving yourself more time due to preparation, weekends, holidays or unexpected delays.
Necessary legal documents:
- Valid Passports and photocopies of photo/details page.
- Costa Rican Fiance: A Costa Rican identity card/cédula de identidad, if applicable
- Costa Rican Fiance: A Certificate of Single Status (certificado de soltería del Registro Civil-obtained from the Civil Registry)
- Divorce decree or death certificates, if applicable. You may decide to bring the certificate, but a sworn statement is all that is required including the certificate date, place, name of court, and the full name of the ex-spouse. Note that the bride must wait 300 days proceeding the date on either certificate before she plans to remarry. It is possible to bypass this requirement with two negative pregnancy tests and signatures (from the Secretary of State, Costa Rican Consulate and Notary).
Legal requirements to get married:
- Ceremony (Civil/Religious)
Civil and religious ceremonies are legally recognized weddings preformed in Costa Rica.
- Age and Relation
The bride and groom must be at least 18 years of age. They cannot be related by blood, marriage or adoption.
Two witnesses over 18 years of age must be present for the ceremony and provide their passports. They cannot be related to the bride and/or groom, by 3 degrees, including grandparents to nieces and nephews. We recommend having friends witness.
The couple will need to send all paperwork and photocopies to a chosen wedding planner or lawyer 10 days prior to the wedding date. This can be done in person or via email, fax or snail mail.
The day of the ceremony, signatures of witnesses and sworn statements will be taken. Two documents will be filled out, the sworn statement and the marriage license.
- The Certificate of Marriage takes 3 months to process from the date of the wedding. There is a possibility to expedite the certificate, for a fee. You should expect an expedited certificate to take approximately 12 days to process. The certificate will be sent to your current address in your home country.
- Once the Marriage Certificate arrives, you will need to register your marriage in your home country. A marriage is Costa Rica is recognized in most countries, but check with your Embassy to make sure.
Note: This information can change at any given moment. For up-to-date information, contact your embassy in the country in which you plan to marry.
We invite you to contact us with any new information. Be sure to note, “Update Marriage Requirements in Costa Rica” in the subject line.