Frequently Asked Questions

Is my Costa Rica marriage legal outside of Costa Rica?

Yes. Your Costa Rica wedding will be registered with the civil registry and with the embassy of your home country. Costa Rica marriages are legal all over the world and are internationally recognized.

What information do I need to provide for a Costa Rica marriage?

There is not a lot of information that is required by the Costa Rica wedding planner; just the basics. The full and complete name of the bride and groom, as well as their occupations, current address, passport number and nationality, date and place of birth, marital status, a mailing address, phone number, and e-mail address, and the full names and nationalities of both mothers and fathers. If the marital status of either party is divorced it is important to include the date of the divorce, as well as the city, state, and court that decreed the divorce, plus the full and complete name of the ex-spouse. If the bride is divorced, the date of the wedding must be at least three hundred days since she was divorced, or else other certain procedures must be followed according to Costa Rica marriage requirements. For the name of the mothers of the couple, please use their maiden name. The mailing address that you provide will be the address where the final documents will be sent, and this must be a street address. P.O. Boxes can not be used as there needs to be a signature showing the package was received.

What type of identification will I need for a Costa Rica wedding?

Foreign visitors who come to Costa Rica for a tropical wedding will need a passport for identification. Foreign driver's licenses, state or other country identification cards, and social security cards are not acceptable forms of identification. A passport is the only form of identification that is needed or accepted for the Costa Rica marriage requirements. Neither a birth certificate nor a visa is required for marriage in Costa Rica. This means that you do not need to supply any notarized documents, which makes it much easier.

How far in advance do I need to contact the Costa Rica wedding planner before the big day?

It is a good idea to give at least ten days notice to the Costa Rica wedding planner, and usually more time is preferred to guarantee the correct documents are prepared or acquired. Normally it is ideal to start working with your Costa Rica wedding planner at least two weeks ahead of time, preferably three weeks in advance.

Who performs the Costa Rica wedding ceremony?

In the country of Costa Rica, anyone who is not married in the Catholic Church must have an attorney present to facilitate the tropical wedding and file the necessary documentation with the Civil Service Registry and your home embassy.

Who provides the two witnesses in the Costa Rica marriage ceremony?

Normally the couple will provide two friends to act as the witnesses, but our law office can supply witnesses if you choose not to have friends as witnesses. There are some specific requirements as to who can be a witness under Costa Rica marriage laws. Family members up to the third degree are barred from being a witness at the ceremony. This group includes parents and siblings, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, and cousins, whether they are related by blood or marriage.

Why do women have to wait three hundred days after a divorce to have a Costa Rica wedding?

This law dates back some time, and it is intended for the protection of any children conceived in the first marriage. If there has not been a time period of at least three hundred days since the divorce was decreed, then alternate precautions must be taken. This involves two negative pregnancy tests by two different doctors to ensure that there is no pregnancy involved. This entails getting certifications as to the results from both doctors, having these documents translated by an official translator, and then getting a required signature from several people, including the Secretary of State and the Costa Rican Consulate.

How long do I have to stay in the country for a Costa Rica wedding?

There is no length of stay requirement before you can have a Costa Rica marriage.

How will I receive my documents after the Costa Rica wedding ceremony and how long will it take?

It takes approximately three months before the Certificate of Marriage is processed. The Costa Rica marriage must be registered with the Costa Rican Civil Registry to be internationally recognized, and it takes eleven to twelve weeks for the marriage to be registered on their books. There is a rush option for an additional fee that can reduce this time frame to about two or three weeks. Then the certificate must be translated and authenticated by the Consulate of the home country of the couple. The certificate is then sent to the couple by courier or certified mail. The last step is for the couple to register the Certificate of marriage with their city, town, or municipality.

If you have questions that have not been answered please contact us at and we will be happy to help you. If you prefer to contact us by phone please call 1-800-378-7542 in the United States or Canada, and +(506) 2224-2800 in all other countries. To contact us by fax please send your inquiry to +(506) 2225-2909. The Meléndez and Bonilla Law Firm has helped numerous clients make their dream of a tropical wedding come true. We are available to answer any questions you may have, and to help make this memorable day a very special time without any hassles. Why wait. Contact us and let us make your tropical wedding an event to remember.