Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Getting married in Costa Rica is not difficult, but there are some things you should know. Here is a list of frequently asked questions that I have answered over the years. If you have specific questions not answered here, please let me know and I’ll answer them to the best of my knowledge.
Yes. Marriages made in Costa Rica are recognized by almost all countries. Following the legal process, a certification of marriage is issued by the Civil Registry of Costa Rica, translated by an Official Translator, and apostilled by our own Foreign Ministry, or authenticated by the Consulate (or Consular Offices) of the country you reside in. This procedure is done strictly following Costa Rican as well as international laws that regulate these matters, thus ensuring full validity of your marriage back home.
Although other websites may tell you another story by providing you with an endless list of paperwork you have to send, that’s just the “hard way” of doing things (equally as valid, yes, but unnecessary). I make it as simple as possible for you and at the same time ensuring that the marriage is done correctly and completely legal. All you need is to simply fill out the “Requisites for Costa Rica weddings” attachment I will send you on an email, and scan or photograph an image of the Bride and Groom’s passports. If you are divorced, just jot down you divorce information on an email (item 5 on the Requisites).
No need for notarizations nor divorce decrees. No need for blood tests, nor police records. No need for apostilles. It’s as simple as that. If anyone tells you otherwise, they are either wrong and/or inexperienced (or a Consular officer that wants you to spend on stamps and translations!).
No. Neither a driver’s license or social security number is accepted according to local marriage laws. If you are a non-Costa Rican, a valid passport is the only accepted form of identification for marriage.
It takes 2 weeks to process locally, after which I translate, apostille or notarize (depending on your country’s laws), and send it to you. The whole process takes normally 30 days, and another 2 weeks to arrive to you (unless you order FedEx at an additional charge and skip those last 2 weeks).
Only upon request. I can gladly provide you with a Notary Certification if you so request it. Just let me know and I’ll have a hardcopy ready for you when we
meet on Ceremony Day. Be advised, though, that the Notary Certification is only useful for private sector, such as insurance or simply proving that you are married at your workplace.
I understand your concern. I worry a lot as well about some of the bad work done by lawyers that are new to the process. There’s nothing wrong with learning, but messing up or -even worse- negligence is another matter. References are an officiant’s best friend, and I trust couples the most on this, since hotels and planners might have some biases when recommending. Online message boards where you can ask newlyweds that used my services for their opinions are most helpful. Also, ordinary lawyers don’t have a reputation to live up to. I have a reputation with an extensive list of reputable venues, and I can’t afford one bad review.
Absolutely nothing. He just knows how to do it “by the book” (yikes!). The only way he can learn is through practice and observation. Even with an experienced “bridal consultant” tipping him off, he won’t be able to convey the sensitivity, or have the tact and social skills required for you and your guests. He may even be a little “off” concerning attire. Just look at some photos on the Internet. With many lawyers, you can see their inexperience in these matters – or how they’ve just done it “their way” for a long time- when they ask you to “raise your arms, look up to the sky and seize the moment!”.
I’ve been working as an Costa Rica Wedding Officiant since 1998 and have trained through observation, lots of practice and investigation to become the best in this business.
Many local “beach” lawyers from rural locales are not seasoned in international matters. This can create situations like the following for example: a local lawyer from a beach jungle region thought he was supposed to sign a Texas marriage license, because the couple urged him to. They took the license back home and the judge informed them that foreign lawyers can’t sign Texas marriage licenses!
Their marriage was null! Luckily, I was called for advice by the planner who hired this lawyer. The lawyer was briefed by the planner with the information I provided and finally sent the correct paperwork. The couple ripped the invalid Texas license, used the paperwork furnished by the lawyer and then the marriage was still on.