Civil Wedding in Mexico

In Mexico, only civil marriage is recognized as legal. Persons wishing to do so may also have a religious ceremony, but it has no legal effect and does not replace in any way the legal binding civil marriage. A civil wedding in Mexico is fully valid for legal purpose in the U.S.

Civil marriages are performed without charge at the premises of the “Registro Civil” ( Civil Registry). They may also be performed elsewhere, but in this case a fee is charged which should be ascertained from the “Registro Civil”.

Consent: People under the age of 18 may not get married in Mexico without parental consent. With parental consent, boys have to be at least 16 and girls need to be at least 14 years of age.

If the Bride and Groom are not Mexican:

All your documents will need to be:

Translated into Spanish;

Notarized by your nearest Mexican Consulate and;

Be Legalized in the country where you live by the appropriate organization or authorities.

Application for Wedding License Application fully completed. These forms are attained from the local registry office in Mexico. You will need to specify whether you will get married under joint or separate property on this form.

Original and copy of your birth certificates with apostilles.

Full Passport, valid for at least 6 months and a copy of same (both the bride and groom).

Original copies of the tourist permit which was completed at the port of entry or other resident permit (visa, FM3, FM2, etc)

Death certificate of spouse, if applicable, with apostille. If you are widowed, one full year must elapse from date of the death of previous spouse and a certified copy of spouse’s death certificate must be presented

Divorce papers, if applicable, with apostille. If you are divorced, one full year must elapse from date of the divorce from the previous spouse, and the final dissolution of marriage must be verified with a certified copy of the divorce decree.

Blood Tests including STDs, blood type, and Rh factor.: you will need Spanish written results of the blood test, (you have to take the test in Mexico and no more than 14 days before the wedding date.).

Four witnesses, age 18 or older. Foreign citizens must bring valid passport and original as well as copies of their valid tourist card/visa. In the case of Mexican citizen, IFE card. The parents of the couple may not serve as witnesses to the marriage.

Fulfilling these requirements (excepting the Apostille) will take you about 2 to 4 days.

The apostille must be acquired from the Secretary of State’s Office in the state where you were born. Canadians must have these documents certified at the Mexican Consulate’s Office in Canada. The marriage cannot be celebrated without fulfilling these requirements. This can be a lengthy process, so we recommend you start the apostille procedure as early as possible.

In addition to all of the above documentation, you will need to obtain permission from the “Secretaria de Gobernacion – Oficina de Migracion” where for a fee of around US$200 you’ll need to acquire a permit to marry a Mexican national. The document is known as “Permiso para contraer matrimonio con un nacional”. If permission is granted, the wedding must take place within 30 days. The papers you will need there are:

Completed permission form

Original and copy of your valid tourist card (FMT) or visa

Original and copies of each page of your valid passport

Original and two copies of the payment for processing (see the IMS for paperwork needed to place the payment)

Letter signed by both bride and groom, stating their intention to marry.

Original and copy of identification of the Mexican citizen, accrediting his/her nationality as such.

The office issuing this permit must be the same office that has jurisdiction over the area where the marriage is to take place – so check beforehand!

This process can take from two days to two weeks, depending on the State and the people at the local government office: be prepared to be patient if you have to! Foreigners wishing to marry a Mexican citizen must first obtain permission to do so from the “Instituto Nacional de Migración” Secretaria de Gobernación (Ministry of Interior).

You will need to pay your Marriage License fee (approx US$30 ), allow the waiting period to go by (anything from 30 minutes to a few days, depending on the State), and then the ceremony can take place and the marriage will be legal.

The least expensive option is to have the ceremony performed at the Local Registry Office. For a further fee, you can arrange for the ceremony to take place elsewhere (hotel, beach, colonial mansion, etc). You will need to make further arrangements with all parties involved, or instruct your Wedding Planner to arrange this on your behalf.

Once the civil ceremony has been completed, you will need to obtain a certified copy of the marriage certificate (Acta de Matrimonio). This will prove that you have been legally wed in accordance with Mexican law, and the marriage will be recognised just about everywhere in the world where it can be, including the USA, Canada, United Kingdom / EU.

Deborah van der Vlist