Documentation and Requirements for Marriage

Find out the legal requirements for getting married in Costa Rica...

People who wish to marry must state their intention to the Public Notary at the Civil Registry (Registro Civil), and provide the necessary information by filling out and signing a form which is supplied. The registry is part of the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones (the supreme electoral authority of Costa Rica).

Required documents

The following information and documents are required for each person:

  • Identification documents: passport or national identity card (cédula de identidad)
  • Profession
  • Place of birth
  • Place(s) of residency during previous three months (for residents)
  • Names and nationality of parents
  • Details of two witnesses who will attend the ceremony

Once the couple have provided all the necessary information they can be married. Two independent witnesses must be present at the marriage ceremony. They must not be related by blood to the bride or groom up to the third degree of kinship.

Following the ceremony, the couple sign a marriage certificate.

Additional requirements

  • Where required, a document must be provided by the parents or guardians, giving permission for their son or daughter to marry.
  • The names of any children conceived prior to the wedding must also be provided
  • Confirmation that both parties are single and eligible to marry must be provided. If one person is a foreigner, proof can be given in whatever form is deemed sufficient by the presiding official. A sworn statement issued by the relevant consulate is usually sufficient
  • If applicable, proof of the annulment of any previous marriage must be provided in the form of a certificate

A formal marriage certificate is issued within three months following the marriage.

For validating a marriage which was performed outside the country, the marriage certificate and any accompanying translations should be sent from the civil registry office in the country of origin, and should match the documentation supplied by the couple.

In Costa Rica, if a woman has been previously married, there must either be a waiting period of 300 days or a pregnancy test must be done.