Oct 25

Getting Married in Colombia: Everything you need to know

Weddings in Colombia are a big deal. A culture that relishes everything fiesta-orientated, the celebration is extravagent and lasts well into the morning. Unfortunately, this doesn’t come without planning, and for your wedding in Colombia there’s a lot you need to know before you can exchange your rings.

A marriage in Colombia

Here’s the skinny on what you will need:

Civil Wedding in Colombia
(You’ll need the following even in a church)

Colombian law doesn’t require you to get a special visa to get married in the country. The happy couple have to identify themselves with a current passport and their tourist visas (locals need their cedula) and the following documents:

1. Authenticated passport/cedula de ciudadania photocopy.
2. Authenticated birth cerificate with a validity no longer than 30 days for Colombian naionals and 90 days for foreigners. If the certificat was issued in a language different from Spanish, it should be translated by an official translator and legalised before the local Foregin Ministery (apostilized)
3. Certificate of no impediment (AU) or Unmarried state certificate if any or both are foreigners.

Special documents for exceptional circumstances:

1. Cerified copy of marriage annulment when applicable
2. If widow/widower, certified marriaged certificate and spouse’s death certificate
3. If divorced, certified copy of previous marriage certificate with divorce clause

Our man Paul leads a gringo salsa chain

Catholic wedding in Colombia

If it’s a Catholic wedding you’re after with your Colombian partner, you’ll need all the documents above as well as the following:

1. Certified baptism certificate issued no more than 90 days before the marriage date
2. Certified confirmation certificate. If it is issued in a language different from Spanish, it should be translated by an official  translator and legalised before the local Foregin Ministery (apostilized)

If any of the two is a non catholic:

1. Certificate from her/his own church. Again, if the document was issued in a language different from Spanish, it should be translated by an official  translator and legalised before the local Foregin Ministery (apostilized)
2. Certificate of no impediment writen by two members of the family before a priest and certified by a member of the church specifying:
a) How long the couple have known each other
b) That non of them have been married before or if any has been married before, the reason why they got divorced

If any of the two is Catholic and has a previous marriage you should also have:

1. Annulment certificate
2. Divorce certificate
3. And/or death certificate of previous spouse

Unfortunately if either of the couple has been married under the Catholic Church previously and the ex-partner is still alive, you will not be able to re-marry unless your previous marriage was invalidated by the Catholic Church.

Remember that all your documents should be translated by an official translator before being legalised by the local Foreign Ministry.

 

So, once you’ve got your documents you’re ready for the next stage: presenting the documents.

If you are having a civil wedding is not necessary for both to be present when handing the documents in. The foreigner should send a ‘power of attorney’ (again translated and certified) giving power to present his/her documents and to fill and sign the required form on his/her behalf.

The local Colombian, burdened as they are with responsibility, should take all these documents to a Notaria  (here is a list of notarias in Bogota ). Here they will fill in a form and pay the fee, which is roughly COL$140.000 (US$80) and wait for confirmation that all documents are in order.

If everything is going according to plan, they will publish an “edicto”. This means the Notaria will let the community know that you intend to marry, and publish something in a local newspaper (in small print) to see if anyone has an objection or legal reason for it not to happen. Obviously, this is highly unlikely.

 

Marriage in Cartagena, Colombia

After 15 days they should contact you to set a date for the wedding. Here you’ll have to pay a litte extra and fil in a form stating the date and location you want to get married (unless you want to get married in the notaria).

After that all that’s left is for you to wait until your special day: your marriage in Colombia.

If you’re looking to get married in Colombia (and we know many of you are) then don’t worry about the pressure of organising it all alone. See Colombia Travel offer tours specifically designed to help your organise everything, from honeymoons to guest’s tours to the big day itself. Check out the link here.

Ryan

47 thoughts on “Getting Married in Colombia: Everything you need to know

  1. Yosef on

    Can 2 gay people from 2 different countries get married in Colombia? Where can I find the legal documentation required? Is there a consular website?

    Reply

    Raymond Lee Bailey on

    Do anyone one know of any English speaking notary Offices here in Medellin? Also, I have updated my deceased wife’s death, and my birth certificates because the of the 90 day expiration. They both have been re translated and notarized also, but did not get them apostilled and need to know if it would be necessary? The apostilled was dated in June of this year.

    Reply

    Louise on

    Hello,
    I’m marrying a Colombian in Bogota early next year – I’ll bring my required documents, all originals issued by the Australian Government – does anyone know if I need to get my documents apostatised by the Australian authorities, or by Colombian officials by showing them my originals when I’m in the country? Or both (when I get my documents translated)?
    Thanks for any help!

    Reply

    Hannah Zapala on

    Hi there, great blog really informative and i wonder if you can help me further. We are travelling south america from January for 6 months and want to get married whilst in Colombia – kind of off the cuff if possible. Small affair (maybe 4 of us) and just a gorgeous rooftop dinner afterwards (my plan!). I just wanted some further clarity on the below –

    2. Authenticated birth cerificate with a validity no longer than 30 days for Colombian naionals and 90 days for foreigners. If the certificat was issued in a language different from Spanish, it should be translated by an official translator and legalised before the local Foregin Ministery (apostilized)

    You state the above, the certificate is to be valid for 90 days – if it is apostilled I unferstand there is no expiry? I am just concerned as I am looking to action the certificates now and get translated, but will they be accepted, as we will not be in Colombia until March?

    Any help is truly truly welcome as I am a little stuck!!

    Thanks so much

    Reply

      JL on

      Hi Hanna, apostillized documents have different validity periods depending on a number of factors. The best thing is to ask about it directly at the local Foregin Ministery.

      Reply

    JR on

    Hello, can someone please tell me if there’s anything you can do to expedite a marriage for me & my partner to get things ready before we arrive in Bogata, were flying in from 2 different countries & we don’t want a wedding to save time & we can’t afford it & only want a fast minimum requirements simple marriage as possible with a Notary, so please advice me what if anything you can do for us, thank you PS Do I have to bring a document proving I have never been married? or will they take my word on this? because we have never been married ever before

    Hola, alguien puede decirme por favor si hay algo que usted puede hacer para acelerar un matrimonio para mí y mi pareja para hacer las cosas listas antes de llegar a Bogata, estaban volando desde 2 países diferentes y no queremos una boda para ahorrar tiempo Y no podemos permitirlo y solo queremos un matrimonio simple de requisitos mínimos rápidos como sea posible con un Notario, así que por favor, consejo mí qué si cualquier cosa que usted puede hacer por nosotros, gracias PS ¿Tengo que traer un documento que demuestra que nunca he sido ¿casado? ¿O aceptarán mi palabra sobre esto? Porque nunca hemos estado casados antes

    Reply

    Rick Wilson on

    I was told that I need a bachelor document to get married here. I have never been married before and how do I get one? Thanks

    Reply

      Anna on

      Hi Rick, I think you need to go to the local registry office in your home town or the place where you are registered to request the certificate that you are not married, normally they charge a small fee for that.

      Reply

    Kieran Shirey on

    Hi. I would like to hire a celebrant to do a surprise wedding ceremony while we’re in bogota in December. My fiance is Colombian. Is there a nice little church and padre you can recommend that I can coordinate with and get every ready on short notice?

    Reply

      Hannah Zapala on

      Hi Kieran, this sounds like the kind of thing I am after – did you have any luck at all?
      Thanks, Hannah

      Reply

    David on

    Hello, I am Jewish but my fiancé isn’t and we are having trouble finding a rabbi willing to marry us in Medellin Colombia. Do you know of anyone the can preform a Jewish ceremony or another viable option. Much thanks

    Reply

      mario on

      Hi David, i live in Medellin, i can help you.

      Reply

    Javier on

    JL question I live in florida with my girlfriend we both are American citizens, im a Cuban American and my girlfriend is Colombian American we both would like to get married in Colombia where she has family there, I guess the question there should be no problem getting married there and then come back to the us.

    Reply

      JL on

      Hi Javier, I see absolutely no problem with that! You should probably check the legal validity of a Colombian marriage in the States though to see if you’re required to get married there as well. !SALUDOS!

      Reply

    zane on

    Hi .. do i have to have my baptism certificate apositled?

    Thanks

    Reply

    Matt on

    Colombian women are great!! But you need to understand the cultural difference . Most Colombians want to live in florida . Why? Because it’s closer to the way they have lived. Everyone speaks spanish in florida.
    And yes,,,,I live in florida an have been married for 9 years to a bogota woman. We lived in Tennessee and she hated it. Now she is happy in florida!!

    Reply

    sergio on

    Hi, just need to know if i need to get my passport photocopy and power of attorney apostilled too , getting married this august 2014, my fiance says i need too , just need to make sure.

    Sergio

    Reply

      JL on

      That’s absolutely right sergio, hope you had a great wedding!

      Reply

    ryan on

    hi thank you for the reply I have one problem I don’t have my birthcertificate its in Fiji island it takes long time to get here im Canadian wht other option do I hv I have my old Fiji passport will it work pls reply thx

    Reply

      JL on

      Hi Ryan , as far as we know you r birth certificate is mandatory in order to start the paperwork…. good luck!

      Reply

    James on

    just wanted to say, if you’re planning to move to the US after the wedding, good luck! Been waiting 10 months already, with no end in sight–Immigration couldn’t care less about you or your spouse, or even your kids.

    Reply

      JL on

      That’s quiet an important fact James, thank! We’re talking about the U.S , right? Abrazo

      Reply

      Leo on

      Eres ciudadano Americano?

      Reply

    Becky Castano LAc on

    I was married by a Notary in Bogota, Colombia 8/11/12. when we moved to Texas in September i submitted my documents for a marriage license and they wouldnt validate it. they told me that any marriage outside the United states is not Valid or able to receive a Marriage license in Harris county. it costs an extra $85 for Texas Marriage license. I just cant except that that is true. any thoughts, advice?
    please help

    Reply

      Steve on

      How much did the notary charge you for the civil marriage? Thanks!

      Reply

    Jody on

    Hi guys,

    In your list of documents needed you mention a “Certificate of no impediment (AU) or Unmarried state certificate.” I am from Canada and we have nothing like that. There is literally no certificate to prove you are not married. Is there anything I can do to get by this?

    Jody

    Reply

    JL on

    Hi Andrew, yes you have to have it apoxtiled regardless of your place of birth.

    Reply

    Andrew on

    “Authenticated birth cerificate with a validity no longer than 30 days for Colombian naionals and 90 days for foreigners. If the certificat was issued in a language different from Spanish, it should be translated by an official translator and legalised before the local Foregin Ministery (apostilized)”

    So my birth certificate is from Puerto Rico, so do I have to have it apoxtilized?

    Reply

    tigerbee on

    Hi, thanks for the information, very clearly written, but I’m an aethist so how might that affect me?

    Cheers

    Tigerbee

    Reply

      Paul on

      It shouldn’t affect you in any serious way, apart from the fact that you’ll find it difficult to get married in a Catholic Church. As an aetheist I’m sure that shouldn’t be too much of a problem

      Hope this helps!

      Reply

    sergio gomez on

    hi, i been with my girlfriend and now fiance , for five years, been going to colombia every year, now were getting married in november 26, 2012, just need help with my paper work, i read up that i need a powe of attorney, for her sign my signature for our wedding, can u help me with this..

    Reply

    JUNIOR on

    HI THERE I WANT TO KNOW WHAT I HAVE TO DO AFTER WE GET MARRIED IN COLOMBIA I CAME BACK TO THE STATES AND SHES STILL THERE WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP PLEASE EMAIL ME ANSWERS I LIVE IN THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA

    Reply

      JL on

      Hi Junior, thanks for writing.. the next step, we think, would be to start processing her visa , you can find more information here: http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_1315.html Cheers.

      Reply

    greg on

    I went through a fiancee visa and she came her and she had to leave due to family emergency in colombia and we did not get married here ,now I am wanting to go there and get married while I am on my one week vacation how can I make this possible or is it even possible to do ????? sincerly greg

    Reply

      Paul on

      I believe if you can get to a Notaria it might be possible to get it organised, but I’m not 100% sure. I recommend getting in touch with mmariscal [at] seecolombia [dot] travel, she’ll know all the details!

      Paul

      Reply

      JL on

      Hi Greg,

      Yes, is possible but you have to plan in advance and send your fiancee all the documents mentioned in our post so she can legalize them at the notaria and askk them to set the wedding during the week in which you’re coming. If you have any further questions please let us know.

      Cheers

      JL

      Reply

    richard on

    You make it sound so easy! Not at all what I experienced earlier this year. And you’ve even forgotten the dreaded “wedding course” that takes two days and costs aroun $100,000COP. You might want to see my comments on it all on the Staggered Blog http://www.iamstaggered.com/thingstodo/im-not-a-bigamist-are-you

    Reply

      Paul on

      Thanks Richard, I’ll take a look and make some changes to Ryan’s post. The things you do for love, eh?

      Paul

      Reply

      JL on

      Hi Richard,

      Tx for your comment …. in my case it was quite quick and easy actually ( I got married on March ), just a matter of getting the right notaria and an efficient lawyer, but I guess it can differ depending on each specific situation 🙂

      Un Abrazo

      JL

      Reply

        Hannah Zapala on

        Hi JL, do you know how we can contact a Notary now in advance of a wedding early next year in Colombia?
        Is there a large fee to pay? And can I ask why you also need a lawyer – sorry this is all new to me so trying to gain as much information as physically possible!

        Thanks

        Reply

          JL on

          Hi Hannah … try searching for one that suits you here: http://www.unioncolegiadadelnotariadocolombiano.com/sitio/content/Directorio-Notar%C3%ADas-0. Regarding the lawyer… I can´t remember needing one ( I know I mentioned it in one of my answers but this was a long time ago and I don´t recall exactly what was I referring to, but I definitely didn`t need a lawyer back then.

          Reply

      Hannah Zapala on

      Hi Richard, I dont seem to be able to follow your link – it states page not found. This is the first ive heard of these courses – are they expensive? Not ideal i can imagine!

      Any help would be amazing.

      Thanks

      Reply

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