Documentation and Requirements for Marriage

Find out about the legal requirements for getting married in Brazil...

Marriage in Brazil may take place between two people of the opposite sex who are at least 18 years old. Minors over the age of sixteen may be married with the consent of their parents or legal representatives. Same-sex marriages are not legal and same-sex cohabitation agreements are not recognized by law. However, as of May 2011, there have been changes to the recognition of same-sex unions: see the section on 'Same-sex Unions' for more detailed information.

There are instances where people are prohibited from marrying, including:

  • marriage of a person whose previous marriage is not annulled or ended
  • marriage between siblings or other close relations

Documentation (Documentação) and Procedure (Procedimento)

There are three main steps before a marriage can go ahead:

  1. Registration of the intent to marry and presentation of the documents.
  2. Publication of the banns.
  3. Issue of marriage license.

1. Registration of the intent to marry: This is made at the Civil Registry Office (Cartório de Regístro Civil) responsible for the district or municipality where either one of the couple is resident. Every region, district or municipality in Brazil has a registry office which is responsible for the registration and documentation of the general public’s civil affairs.

Presentation of the documents: It is recommended that a couple intending to marry should register their intent to do so at least 30 days prior to the intended date of the marriage ceremony. The registration process can take a minimum of 20 days and a maximum of 60 days.

Foreigners must fill in an application form and present the following documents at the registry office to begin the marriage process:

  • Original copies of passport or Foreigner's identity card (Cédula de Identidade para Estrangeiro - CIE which contains the Registro National De Estrangeiro - RNE the identity number for non-nationals)
  • Original birth certificate - certified by a Brazilian Consulate in the issuing country
  • Declaration of Civil Status issued by the local Consulate or Embassy (the declaration of civil status is valid for ninety days)

Brazilian nationals provide:

  • Original identity document
  • Individual taxpayer's card (Cadastro de Pessoa Física, CPF)
  • Birth certificate
  • Proof of address
  • Proof of the date and location of the births of their parents

If either party has previously been married, they must provide a copy of the final divorce decree (or death certificate of the former spouse if widowed).

The names and identification numbers of the intended witnesses to the marriage should also be registered, although the witnesses themselves do not have to be present at this registration.

All documents that are not in Portuguese must be translated by a certified translator and authenticated by a local public notary (Tabelião). A local home country Consulate can provide contact details for these official translators.

There is a small fee to register the intent to marry; it varies from state to state.

2. Publication of the banns: The registry office displays the statement of the intention of marriage on its walls for a period of 15 days and publishes banns in the local press. Following a 15 day waiting period, the couple are free to marry.

3. Issue of marriage license: Once all the documents have been presented to the registry office, approved by the notary officials and no valid objections have been received from members of the public, the registry official issues a marriage license (Certidao de Habilitação de Casamento), which is a permit to marry, valid for 90 days.

Marriage for Non-residents

Couples that wish to travel to Brazil to marry will need to have the following documents certified at the Brazilian Consulate in their home country:

  • Birth certificates
  • Proof that they are single
  • Proof of residence in the foreign country (utility bills)

If either party has previously been married, they must provide a copy of the final divorce decree (or death certificate of the former spouse if widowed).

They must present these documents themselves (or somebody may do so on their behalf) at the Civil Registry Office in the state where they will marry. This must be done at least one month before they intend to marry. It is not possible to arrange the marriage by post with the Civil Registry Office.

Visa Status

A foreigner marrying a Brazilian national does not automatically gain citizenship. Following the marriage ceremony, the foreigner is entitled to start the process that will lead to the issue of a Permanent Resident visa. This may take as long as three years and involves the couple having to attend interviews with the Civil Police: expect police representatives to pay unannounced visits to the couple’s home in order to verify that the marriage is legitimate and not "for convenience".

Once a foreigner has been married to a Brazilian for five years they may apply for Brazilian citizenship.

Further Information