How Do US Citizens Get Married in Costa Rica?

Are you excited to say the big “I do” in paradise, but feeling a bit overwhelmed about how to legally marry in Costa Rica? Have you been wondering what paperwork has to be done when you need to file, who to contact, or any other questions about how do U.S. citizens can get married in Costa Rica? Believe it or not, the legal process for being married in Costa Rica is very simple!

Signing Legal Marriage Documents

What Do I Need to Prepare?

First, a local lawyer is needed to have a legal marriage in Costa Rica. Not sure where to look? We can help you! Just let us know. During the planning leading up to the wedding, the lawyer will have you fill out a simple 1 to 2 page document to provide personal information. Don’t worry, it is very easy with basic information like names, birthdates, jobs, parents’ names, etc… along with a few more questions such as if you have been married previously and if so, the date of divorce. Lastly, you will provide copies of your passports.

boho barefoot beach wedding langosta beach

What Happens on the Wedding Day?

On the wedding day, after the big “I do”, you will sign the marriage document with witnesses present. There will need to be 2 witnesses and you can select guests to honor with this role. You will also need to provide a copy of the witnesses’ passports in advance and they will sign the marriage document on the wedding day, along with you and your new spouse. If you are eloping, we provide the witnesses. Don’t worry, there won’t be random strangers there to witness the ceremony. We often have our coordinator and photographer serve in this role, and keep the wedding an intimate experience.

signing of the legal docs in cr wedding

What About the Legal Part?

Following the wedding day, the lawyer will file the signed documents with the Civil Registry of Costa Rica (the government institution which records marriages in Costa Rica). The official documents will be translated and mailed to you approximately 4 to 8 weeks following the wedding.

signing the marriage documents

Is the Marriage Recognized in My Country?

After you receive these documents, you will be able to submit this document to your Marriages Record Office and have your marriage recognized in your own country. These documents are valid for the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, and many other countries. Some countries may require additional paperwork in order to legally recognize the marriage but we can help with those requirements. A legal wedding in Costa Rica and the marriage certificate will be recognized in most countries.

la fortuna elopement ceremony

Are Same Sex Weddings Legal in Costa Rica?

We are so excited to say YES! As of May 2020, same sex couples can legally marry in Costa Rica! Read all about it on this blog.

Let us know if you have any other questions!

We hope this blog helps you with any questions you may have about legally marrying in Costa Rica. If you have any questions or need help with the next steps, please connect with us or leave us a comment below! We will be in touch shortly to help you with every detail.

signing of the wedding documents

Kerry Charlotte

Kerry Charlotte

My favorite thing about destination weddings is watching all of the guests explore a new place! I, myself, love learning more about this tropical paradise. I also really enjoy how every single event is completely different and really reflects the couple and their love story.

9 thoughts on “How Do US Citizens Get Married in Costa Rica?”

  1. I’m planning to get married October 1 in coastal Rica please update me with the information and fee. I’m looking forward hearing from you.

    • Hi Benjamin, thank you for reaching out! We have sent over general budgeting information for elopements for you to check out. If you don’t see that, please check your spam/junk folder as it may have been directed there. We look forward to hearing more about what you envision for your wedding!


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