How to Get Married in Mexico: A complete guide for nuptials.
Legal Requirements for a Marriage in Mexico
Two Marriages: Civil and Religious
Document Legalization / Apostille
The Marriage Process
Marrying a Mexican National (In Mexico)
Wedding Planners and Useful Contacts
Mexico has some excellent places to get married alongside some picture perfect scenarios. From golden beaches with turquoise waters, to old colonial cities with their charm, old buildings, cobbled streets domes and archways.
Mexico is becoming increasingly popular as a destination for American and Canadians to get married, and given the opportunity to get married surrounded by stunning scenery, it’s not hard to see why!
If you want to get married in Mexico, there is nothing legal or technical stopping you from doing so; but you will need to plan ahead and get a few documents together, fill in a few forms and pay a few fees. This guide will steer you through the maze.
If after having read through this guide you wonder if you can face the paperwork and admin, don’t panic! You can hire Wedding Planners to take care of the detail and paperwork on your behalf in return for a modest fee.
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.
Foreigners Getting Married to Foreigners
You don’t need to be resident in Mexico in order to get married here, you’ll just need a passport and your tourist permit, plus some other paperwork (see below). If you plan to get married to a Mexican in Mexico, you will need additional documentation – read the section just ahead…
Chest X-rays and Blood Tests
These must be done locally in Mexico, as the results of the blood tests and the X-ray documentation must be in Spanish and the tests need to be done within a certain time frame of the Marriage Application Form being completed. Not all Mexican States require the Chest X-rays: Check locally or ask your wedding planner.
You will need to have 4 witnesses present at the legal ceremony, and they must have valid identification: usually a valid Passport is used, but other forms of government-issued identification are valid too.
Validity Outside of Mexico
Your Marriage Certificate will be valid world-wide, BUT you should get your certificate ‘legalized’ in Mexico to ensure it is legally accepted when you get back home. The process is the reverse of getting your native documentation legalized by the necessary authorities (e.g. Foreign Office / State Department) for marriage in Mexico (see below); The registry office in Mexico will tell you where this can be done locally or if you hire a wedding planner, he/she will advise.
The Civil Marriage
Only a civil marriage is recognized as legal in Mexico. You don’t need to engage in a religious ceremony but if you omit the civil ceremony, the marriage will not be legal. Most Mexicans have two marriages: the civil (legal) marriage and the church (religious) one.
The Religious Marriage
If you would like to get married in a church in Mexico, this can be arranged, although additional planning and fees will be required. A good wedding planner will be able to make these arrangements on your behalf.
Each State in Mexico has slightly different laws in regard to when previously married couples may re-marry. Most places require that BOTH the bride and groom are to be are divorced (starting from the date of final divorce decree) at least one full calendar year before re-marrying.
For example, in Quintana Roo, the State where Cancun is located (one of the most popular venues), only women (not men) who have been previously married, may not re-marry there for 300 calendar days following the the date of the final decree of divorce unless during that time they have given birth or can prove “by medical dictate” that they are not pregnant.
You’ll need to check with the local authorities in the State where you plan to get re-married if you have not been divorced for at least a year. Alternatively, hire the services of a wedding planner who will check this for you as part of their service.
If either party is widowed, the death certificate of the deceased spouse will be needed as part of the documentation requirements (see below)…
The couple getting married will be required to present the following documentation and requisites.
Some requirements differ from State to State; check locally, but be prepared to gather together all of the documents listed below.
Important! Foreign documents listed below (with the exception of your passport and travel permit) will need to be:
- Translated into Spanish;
- Notarized by your nearest Mexican Consulate and;
- Be ‘Apostilled’ in the country where you live by the appropriate organization / authorities (see next section about Apostilles)
Marriage Application Forms
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.
Full Passport; we recommend that it’s valid for at least 6 months, and a copy of same (both the bride and groom).
Travel or Resident Visas
Original and copies of Your Visitor’s Permit (FMM) which was completed at the port of entry or, if you are resident in Mexico, a copy of your resident permit.
These will need to be Apostilled and translated by an approved translator (see Apostille, below)
Divorce Decree / Death Certificate
If either spouse was previously married, or either partner is widowed, copies of the Divorce Decree or Death Certificate, if applicable, (see section above: Previously Married) will be required for presentation.
The Plates from the Chest X-rays (get these in Mexico).
Blood Test Results
Written results of the blood test, written in Spanish (get blood test done in Mexico).
Before the Mexican authorities will receive foreign-issued legal documents for processing, it’s necessary to get these Apostilled.
See Article: Getting Your Documents Apostilled for Mexico
In the USA, this service is undertaken by the Office of Authentication at the State Department, although every State has its own requirements and you need to Apostille documents in the State that they were issued in.
US Documents: If the documents that you need to get Apostilled emanated in the United States, Apostille.net offers a useful guide of procedures for all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, and if you need help, you can get the firm to take care of it for you.
Note for Canadians: Canada is not signatory to the international Apostille convention, and the procedures do not apply there. Canada has instead a notarization procedure for legal documents.
In the UK, the Foreign Office undertakes this task; connect to the Legalization page the on the Foreign Office’s web site for details about obtaining this service.
In Australia, the Authentication and Apostilles section of the Department of Foreign Affairs takes care of legalization of documents.
Once you have gathered this merry medley of paperwork and official documents together, 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 in Mexico where you get married), and then the ceremony may 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 a local 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 recognized just about everywhere in the world where it can be, including the USA, Canada, United Kingdom / European Union, Australia, et al.
Important! You should get your Mexican marriage certificate Apostilled in Mexico to ensure that it will be accepted as a genuine document back in your home country. This is the reverse process of having your home-country documents legalized by your home country; ask the local registry office or your wedding planner for details about how you can go about this.
*The price varies depending on the State and exact location where you get married. Marriage licenses in Mexico’s most popular resort locations generally cost more (sometimes considerably more) than those in lesser known resorts/places. Check with the local state authorities for details or ask your wedding planner.
So far, the above requirements have assumed that a foreigner is marrying a foreigner in Mexico. If you plan to marry a Mexican national in Mexico, you may need to apply for a permit to marry a Mexican national.
Some states and districts have done away with the requirement for a foreign marriage permit, but it might still be necessary in the state where you are planning to get married—check with the local municipality where you plan to get married for the latest policy in force (or ask your local wedding planner).
In addition to all of the documentation listed above, you will need to obtain permission from Mexico’s Interior Ministry – “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”.
The office issuing this permit must be the same office that has jurisdiction over the area where the marriage is to take place; i.e. you cannot get the permit from one state, e.g. Mexico City, and then go to e.g. Acapulco (in the State of Guerrero) to get married.
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! Your wedding planner (see below), if you hire one, will be able to advise you about this in detail and take care of necessary paperwork on your behalf.
Find A Wedding Planner in Mexico
If you want to get married in Mexico, but want someone else to do all of the running around for you to gather the necessary legal forms and paperwork, schedule your X-rays and blood test with local clinics, and make any arrangements with local hotels, churches and other venues for your marriage, you can hire a Wedding Planner to do this for you.
For matters in relation to certification and legalization of documents required for the marriage, as well as any general inquiries in regard to marriage in Mexico, contact your nearest Mexican Consulate.