- ID: Costa Rica requires a valid passport for foreigners who want to marry and also it is required for the witnesses of the marriage. Neither social security nor driver’s license of any country is considered proper identification for marriage purposes.Visa is a migratory requirement. For marriage purposes, this is not required. For most visitors to Costa Rica, Visas are not required.
A Birth Certificate is not required since a sworn statement attesting to your date and place of birth covers that requirement.
- No certifications or authentications are necessary, since the sworn statement covers items that need to be authenticated or notarized.
- Required data sent along with passport scans 10 days before the ceremony date is recommended and normally sufficient.
Two (2) people are required to bear witness. They cannot be family up to the third degree. This means that those who are not allowed to bear witness are (relation to the bride and groom): mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, uncle, aunt, sister, half sister, brother, half brother, cousin, nephew, niece, all in-laws, etc. Best for witness duties are friends.
- No required stay (permanence) in Costa Rica exists for a valid marriage.
- Divorces copies are not required since the sworn statement will attest to when, where and from whom you are divorced. All you need to do is send the date, place, name of court that decreed the divorce, and full name of ex-spouse, so that it can be included it in the sworn statement.
- Woman divorced less than 300 days law: this is an archaic law that is designed to avoid children from a previous marriage to be born in the next marriage, with the consequences for the child that might entail. It basically requires the divorced bride to wait 300 days between the date of the divorce decree and the date of the upcoming marriage.
- If this is not possible, the bride must undergo two pregnancy tests by two different doctors, have them certify the negative results, have the certification translated by an official translator, and run through the required chain of signatures ending in the Secretary of State (or equivalent, depending on the country), and the Costa Rican Consulate. This must be presented to the officiating notary prior to the ceremony.
- The Certificate of Marriage takes approximately 3 (three) months to process. It is slow due to the sluggishness of the Costa Rican Civil Registry, which takes roughly 11 (eleven) weeks to register the marriage in its books. This is a requirement for validity abroad.
- The Certificate will be sent via courier authenticated by the Consulate of the country to the residence of the couple.
- Once the Certificate is received, it must be registered in the city of residence of the couple. It is best to call city hall, town hall, municipality or equivalent to inquire where marriages are registered, and take the Certificate as proof of marriage. Costa Rican marriages are recognized all over the world.
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