Wedding protocol & procedures

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Posted by GRANGER HOPSON on May 14, 1999

My fiancée and I are planning a wedding in Puerto Morelos on September 4,1999. We are having a difficult time finding information on:

1. Blood test info
2. How long do we have to reside in Mexico before the wedding
3. Marriage license info

If anyone has access to this information or other pertinent marriage info in Mexico we would greatly appreciate your help.


PS. We’re also interested in Mexican wedding tradition.

Posted by Warren on May 16, 1999

My daughter and son-in-law were recently married in Ajijic. It proved to be quite simple.

There was a mandatory blood test and physical given by Government doctors (total cost less than $10). There was a three-day wait between the submission of the application for the license (after blood tests et al), however our local agent found a way to short-circuit the time somewhat. The application had to be accompanied by translated copies of the couple’s birth certificates along with ID’s of two witnesses (passports). Wedding cost 100 pesos at town hall or 400 pesos at location of choice.


Posted by jennifer rose on May 16, 1999

Dreaming of that wedding against the rhythm of peaceful ocean waves slapping against a Mexican sunset? Or amid bougainvillaed stone arches? Mariachis and margaritas at your reception? Few places on earth offer up as many romantic, storybook venues as Mexico. After all, there’s the Mexican wedding cookie. And the Mexican wedding shirt.

Getting married in Mexico involves more preparation than simply ordering up a scenic backdrop from a travel agent. A blissfully betrothed pair might sally into a Las Vegas wedding chapel and arrange a wedding while-U-wait. Rarely does applying for a marriage license north of the Rio Grande call for much more than a 3-day wait. In Mexico, be prepared to add red tape to the nuptial color scheme.

Plan ahead, and bring plenty of papers.

Just as in the United States or Canada, marriage laws vary from state to state. In Mexico only civil marriage is recognized as legal. Persons wishing to get married in Mexico may also have a religious ceremony, but it will have no legal implications. A civil wedding in Mexico is fully valid for legal purposes worldwide. However, a religious wedding without a civil ceremony is not.

Foreigners are not subject to a residence requirement, but will have to identify themselves by presenting their tourist cards and/or visas as well as a copy of their passports.

Marriages are performed for a small fee at the “Oficina del Registro Civil” (Civil Register Office), but they may be performed elsewhere for an additional fee, which should be ascertained from the Civil Register. There are offices of the Civil Register in each city or small town in Mexico.

Divorced persons cannot marry in Mexico until one year after the divorce has been pronounced. Persons under 18 years of age cannot be married without a parent or legal guardian’s consent.

Foreigners must present the following:

O An application, including a statement as to whether they wish to marry under joint or separate property (forms available at the Civil Register). In some states, there is a “none of the above” option.

O A certified copy of their birth certificate.

O Passports and tourist cards.

O If necessary, a certified copy of the divorce decree with an apostille attached. If the prior marriage ended in death, a certified copy of the prior spouse’s death certificate.

O Two legally qualified witnesses (over 18 years of age, who must be present at the ceremony). The witnesses must be accompanied by their passports and tourist cards or other appropriate forms of identification.

O Blood tests and, in some states, additional tests. To be certain the test meets with the approval of the local civil register, have these tests performed in Mexico.

Copies of marriage certificates will be available at the corresponding Civil Register Office. Obtain several certified copies before leaving Mexico for future use.

Foreigners wishing to marry a Mexican citizen must obtain authorization from the National Institute for Migration (Instituto Nacional de Migración). There is a fee and a waiting period for this authorization.

Posted by Elliott Moore on May 17, 1999

My wife and I were married in Mexico City, after bringing guests and ourselves down from the U.S. To add to the “Rose List” we also needed chest X-Rays, in addition to the blood tests. Different states have somewhat different requirements. We found it quite helpful to come down to the wedding site some months in advance of the ceremony and make all the detailed arrangements. Our marriage certificate states, in archaic Spanish, that she has to worship me and keep the evil side of my nature from erupting (no kidding!); in a total lack of reciprocity, I only have to feed her. People are most friendly and helpful in planning your wedding; I hope you enjoy yours as much as we did ours. Elliott Moore

Posted by Renee on May 19, 1999

Re: a US citizen marrying a Mexican citizen in Mexico (boda civil/civil wedding). Foreigners wishing to marry a Mexican citizen must obtain authorization from the National Institute for Migration (Instituto Nacional de Migración). There is a fee and a waiting period for this authorization.

Here are some tips based upon personal observations –

1) Stop by the nearest Mexican consulate (when you are still in the states). They often have a handout which lists the requirements & needed documents. Be prepared to check up on these requirements occasionally during the process of obtaining your legal docs, etc. Things change without warning.

2) Yes, you and your fiance will need to obtain permission (permisa) from the office of migracion – probably best to do it in the city you intend to marry in. The US citizen will need the following:

a. valid US passport

b. current tourist (FMT) visa – note, the Mexican government is going to start charging a $15.00US fee for these visas as of July 1, 1999.

c. official birth certificate

d. if divorced, official divorce decree (and know that you cannot marry unless it has been at least a year since the divorce).

e. apostilles – these are official documents, obtained from the Secretary of State of whatever state your birth certificate & other documents are from) which certify the validity of your official documents. I found the websites of many Secretaries of State offices to be great starting places for obtaining contact info and fee information.

f. translations of c., d., and e. into Spanish. I found neither the Mexican Consulate nor the US Consulate here in los dos Laredos (Laredo/Nuevo Laredo) less than useful in obtaining a recommendation for who in this area could provide OFFICIAL translations.

After talking with a number of translators in Monterrey, MX (via phone), we were able to ascertain that you’d better make sure your translator is considered “official” by the Office of Migracion. (This meant we could *not* make our own translations and have them notarized by a Mexican notary.) I found I received the best response from the Office of Migracion in Nuevo Laredo. City College of N.L. has an EXCELLENT service, and very reasonably priced (we had them translated in April ’99; for 3 apostilles and 7 pages of documents, we paid 1360.00 pesos (at that time, about $136.00US).

This is where we are at this time (May 1999).

3) blood tests done in Mexico (for both parties)

4) all the above will need to be submitted to the Office of Migracion ALONG WITH–

5) your fiance’s official birth certificate AND $120.00 US (though when I tried to verify this amount with the Mexican Consulate here – to see if it could be paid in pesos and what the peso fee would be, the woman assisting me was unable to provide or obtain any information at that time).

Submit all of these items and [supposedly] within 2 or 3 working days the permisa will be granted. How long the permisa is good for, and whether it is limited geographically (meaning you have to get married in that jurisdiction) is something I have not yet confirmed, though I suspect the 2nd is probably true.

A Civil Wedding (Boda Civil) in Nuevo Laredo currently runs 178.00 pesos if you want it performed in the Registro Civil, and (if I remember correctly) around 500 to 600 pesos if you want the boda/marriage performed elsewhere.

As I am able, I will try to update this information.

Published or Updated on: March 1, 1999
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