Requirements for a Legally Binding Marriage in Mexico
When planning a wedding, it’s so fun to outline every aesthetic detail and create a memorable, unique event. However, something often overlooked by couples is the requirement of a legally binding union. When getting hitched in your home country, it’s a quick trip to the courthouse and an easy-to-follow familiar process.
But if you want your destination wedding to be more than symbolic, you will have to learn about the requirements of your chosen location for your wedding to be official. The requirements for a legal marriage in Mexico might be a little more stringent than you would think.
In order for your marriage to be legal in Mexico (and for your marriage to transfer to your home country) you will have to meet these requirements:
Requirement #1: Blood Tests and Medical Certificates
In order to get married legally in Mexico, you’ll need to present the results of a premarital blood test and a medical certificate to the registry office. These should be done locally the week leading up to the wedding day, either by visiting a local clinic or having a physician travel to where you’re staying. The first option is more efficient and economical. This service usually costs around $150 per person.
Requirement #2: Witnesses
Four witnesses are required to sign a marriage certificate in Mexico. These witnesses will need a valid passport and tourist cards (if they are not Mexican).
Requirement #3: Paperwork
To begin the civil marriage process, the Civil Registry Office requires the submission of (a) a fully completed marriage application form (b) copies of the couples’ passports and (c) copies of their witnesses passports. You do NOT need to submit this information in person, so a planner (like myself) can assist you in taking the appropriate information to the registry office.
Three days before your wedding day, you will be required to drop by the Civil Registry office with the original documents, the results of your medical tests, and the payment. The cost to issue an official Marriage Certificate is around $300, and additional certified copies of your certificate will cost around $10 (I recommend purchasing one or two for safe keeping.)
If you want your parents’ names to appear on your marriage certificate, you will also need to submit certified copies of your birth certificates. Those birth certificates will have to be translated and notarized in Mexico (which costs around $80).
Requirement #4: Marriage by Local Judge
Civil weddings are usually performed by a recognised judge at the local registry office during official work hours: between 9am and 4pm. If you would prefer not to be married at the registry office, the judge will charge an “off-site” fee to travel to the wedding venue. This fee ranges between $80 and $160 depending on the time of the ceremony.
Requirement #5: Notarization
Finally, in order for a couple’s civil union to be legal overseas, their marriage certificate will need to be notarized in Mexico. The registry office can take care of this and will require a copy of the marriage certificate which will then be officially apostilled. This process takes roughly 30 days and costs around $70. The apostilled document will then be shipped to the couple and they will be able to present it to local registry office for legalization in their home country.
It is so important to understand the difference between a symbolic ceremony and a legally-binding marriage. For ease, many couples choose to marry in their hometown prior to or directly after they travel abroad for their ceremony. But with prior planning and communication between you and your planner, a truly legally-binding destination wedding takes a bit more time and effort.
Do you have questions about making your marriage legal? Reach out to me!