Wedding

Essential Legal Requirements to Consider Before Getting Married in Costa Rica

March 27, 2023
Bex Smith Bex Smith
Essential Legal Requirements to Consider Before Getting Married in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a fantastic place for destination weddings. From gorgeous beaches to exotic rainforests, this Central American country offers spectacular vistas to make your wedding day even more special.  

Not only will you find it perfect for you and your partner, but it also makes for an exciting place for you and your guests. With the country’s well-maintained and organized infrastructure, your guests can enjoy helicopter tours to visit some of the most beautiful places in this Costa Rica.  

If you are considering getting married in Costa Rica, look no further! One of the unique things about this country is its natural diversity. You will find volcanoes, rain forests, cloud forests, dry forests, tropical gardens, hot springs, mangroves, rivers, plains, lakes, and beaches on the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.   

Costa Rica is the place where wedding dreams become a reality. However, planning a wedding in a different country comes with its own set of challenges.  

Before getting deep into how to plan your destination wedding in Costa Rica, ensure you understand the legal requirements for marriage in Costa Rica. 

Costa Rican Wedding

Are Costa Rican weddings legal around the world? 

Yes. Marriages in Costa Rica are recognized across the globe. Getting married in Costa Rica requires significantly less paperwork. The country allows you to have a church wedding, a civil marriage, or Costa Rica elopement that will be legal in your home country. All you need to possess is a valid passport and an authorized notary or wedding officiant. 

Legal Requirements for Getting Married in Costa Rica 

Most travelers who decide to get married in Costa Rica exchange vows in a civil ceremony, usually officiated by a local lawyer.  

Costa Rican law stipulates that two witnesses outside your family must attend the wedding. They must produce copies of their passports and a statement of civil status, nationality, permanent address, and occupation.   

On your wedding day, you, your partner, and the witnesses must sign two documents: a sworn statement attesting marital status and the marriage document itself. 

After the ceremony, the lawyer will register the marriage with Costa Rica’s National Registry. Following the legal process, a marriage certificate will be issued by the Civil Registry of Costa Rica and translated by an official translator. This will take around 4 to 6 weeks. You will also receive an affidavit from your own Foreign Ministry, authenticated by your country’s Consulate.  

The entire procedure strictly follows Costa Rican and international laws regulating these matters. All you must do from here is carry your document to your local or religious authorities if required.  

Regardless of whether you are a local or foreigner, you must meet the following requirements: 

  • The minimum age of marriage in Costa Rica is 18 years. In January 2017, a new law– Ley de Relaciones Impropias, Act No. 9406, was adopted. This new law prohibits civil marriages when a person is under 18 years.  
  • A passport that is valid for at least six months. 
  • Marital status should be single. 
  • Both partners should be in a healthy and sound mental state and can express their consent to marry. 
  • There should be two witnesses who are outside the family and can testify under oath about the freedom of the state and the legal capacity of the spouses. 

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

  • Cedula de Identidad, which is a Costa Rican identity card. 
  • A certificate of single status issued by the Civil Registry. 

Exchange Vows in a Beautiful Church Wedding 

Although you can find many gorgeous luxury wedding venues in Costa Rica, you can also opt for a wedding in the church, as the country is predominantly Roman Catholic. A church wedding does not require much and can be easily arranged. However, it mostly takes place in the most isolated and remote locations. You can find priests and pastors often available to host the ceremony. The only religious officiants recognized in Costa Rica are priests in the Catholic church.  

However, if you follow another faith or religion, it is better to bring your officiant. In a non-Catholic ceremony, a judge or lawyer must be present to officiate the wedding. 

No matter your choice, you must contact a Costa Rican lawyer to handle all the legalities and paperwork.  

Celebrating love in All Forms: Same-Gender Marriage is Legal in Costa Rica 

On May 26, 2020, Costa Rica legalized same-gender marriage due to a Supreme Court of Justice ruling. The country became the first in Central America to recognize same-sex marriages legally.  

Special Provisions for Women Seeking Remarriage 

A woman who is a divorcee can remarry only after 300 days have elapsed from the official date on which the divorce was granted. The same rule applies to widows. One can waive this requirement if she submits proof that she is not pregnant before her marriage ceremony.  

To proceed ahead, she will have to undergo a pregnancy test. The Supreme Court of Costa Rica will administer the test at the Forensic Medicine Office (Medicatura Forense de la Corte Suprema de Justicia) in San Joaquin de Flores in Heredia, Costa Rica. Once the result is negative, she can marry immediately. 

Conclusion 

Marrying and obtaining a legal certificate in this country is very simple. This is the easiest part of your exotic destination wedding to arrange. We advise you to reach Costa Rica at least a few days before your wedding to ensure everything gets done on time. You can book some of the most beautiful luxury villas in Costa Rica for your destination weddings. 

You can have a beach wedding, a ceremony amid the lush rainforest, or an intimate wedding surrounded by the people you love.  

If you are still getting familiar with this beautiful country, you can select a wedding planner who can assist you in making beautiful arrangements. We at Villa Firenze offer a personal concierge to assist, plan and execute everything with you to make your wedding day memorable. Our customized services that handle all aspects of wedding planning are perfectly tailored to your needs. Our luxury villa is an excellent choice for couples who want an intimate wedding in a tropical wonderland with an elegant setting!  

Make your wedding day truly memorable by choosing Villa Firenze as your destination wedding venue in Costa Rica.

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