Get Married in Brazil – How to guide for Foreigners

Get Married in Brazil - How to guide for Foreigners


Get Married in Brazil - Let’s cut to the chase, it’s not that easy at all to get married in Brazil if you are not a Brazilian citizen. In order to do so, you need to comply with Brazilian law, adhere to the existing procedures, and follow the requirements.

The bad news is to Get Married in Brazil non-citizens cannot register their marriage in their native country’s embassy or consulate. Everyone who wishes to get married on the Brazilian territory should go to one of the Civil Registry Offices (Registros Civis) that have jurisdiction over the place of their residence. The tough part here is that each of the Civil Registry Offices might have its specific set of documents required for a marriage registration, as the requirements vary across Brazilian states. Your country’s representatives will still be useful to you during the registration process.

It would be wise, before you register you intent to marry (the initial step), to get a translator — most of the Civil Registry Offices have information available only in Portuguese. It is also common that the Offices have their requirements posted online — also in Portuguese.

Also, before you start collecting the documents, you should pay attention that there are three types of marriage-related ceremonies in Brazil: Civil, Religious, And Civil out of Office. The first one is the only ceremony which is legally recognized. In Brazil, people who intend to get married should be at least 18 (for men) and 16 (for women) years old. If one party of the couple is a minor, then authorization from a parent or guardian is required.

The beginning. Collecting documents - Get Married in Brazil

Before arriving in Brazil, make sure you have the following documents with you:

– Your birth certificate (long form).

– Declaration of single marital status. If you were married before, you should have a final divorce decree at hand (or a death certificate, if you are a widower).

Get Married in Brazil - It would be the best if these two documents were certified beforehand at the Brazilian Consulate in your home country — you will just have less fuss to deal with later. Just note, that in some cases the Civil Registry Office may accept the papers only if they were issued less than six month ago.

In case, you don’t have your birth certificate and evidence of your civil status by the moment of your arrival in Brazil, it is possible to obtain these documents at your home country’s consulate or embassy. Also, if your birth certificate doesn’t show the full names of your parents, you will need to request a “Certidão de Inscrição Consular” at the embassy or a consulate. All this usually costs money (at the U.S. Embassy, for example, you will be charged $50 for each paper). Don’t forget to bring your passport with you and also bring a couple of document-sized photographs just in case.

After you have your native documents ready, you need to go to a sworn public translator (you could also do it in Brazilian Embassy in your home country) to make the translations. Don’t forget about your passport and your entry card (a document that permits your stay in Brazil). The original documents and translations should be taken to a Brazilian notarial office for authentication.

Registration of the intent to marry  - Get Married in Brazil

You take the following documents to the Civil Registry Office (it is called Cartório de Registro Civil in Portuguese), in the presence of two witnesses who are at least 21 years old:

  1. Your passport.
  2. Birth certificate containing full names of both parents (and a Certidão de Inscrição Consular acquired in the embassy).
  3. Document of a single marital status.
  4. In case if you were married before: Divorce final decree or spouse’s death certificate.
  5. A filled in application form to register the intention to marry.
  6. The Brazilian ID Card or a document confirming your residence in Brazil (if applicable).

Note that you should submit copies along with the original documents. Any document that is not in Portuguese language should be translated by a sworn translator and certified by a notary.

Another important thing is that the documents should be issued within the past 6 months to be considered valid by the Registration Officer, and the declaration of the civil status (a single marital status) is valid only for 90 days.

The documents should be presented at least one month before you intend to get married. Reviewing of the intent may last from 20 to 60 days. This means that you can select the day of your marriage registration within that period of time.

Get Married in Brazil - What’s next?

After you have registered your intent to get married, the Civil Registry Office publishes your intent to get married on its walls and sends ads to be published in the local newspaper. This is done in order to see whether anyone of the public has any objections for the couple to get married. Once no objection has been received by the Office, you receive a marriage license, a permit to marry (Certidao de Habilitação de Casamento) and are free to hold a ceremony on the selected date.

For the marriage registration itself, you should have your IDs with you and two witnesses who might differ from the ones you had when registering the intent. Please note that marriage ceremonies are held not every day, in most cases three times a week, in the morning and afternoon.

If you are willing to have a festive ceremony, you can order the Civil out of Office ceremony, for which you will pay additional cost. Everything that is left is up to you and your budget.

Visa status

Foreigners who marry in Brazil do not acquire the citizenship status automatically. Once you are married, you may start your application process for a Permanent Resident visa. After that, you may have occasional visits from the Civil Police during the period of three years, in order to verify that your marriage is not fictitious. After five years of your marriage to a Brazilian citizen, you may apply for the citizenship.

Costs - Get Married in Brazil

The entire procedure of a civil marriage will cost you about R$359 (which is approximately $120), excluding the out-of-office ceremony and religious ceremony, but including publication of newspaper ads. You can also add to this sum the amount you need to pay for the translation, and the sum you pay in case you have requested documents from your home country’s embassy or consulate. The additional cost to Get Married in Brazil will depend on the prices in your home country (or your country’s embassy) or in a particular Brazilian state.

Further information:

The requirements (in Portuguese) for foreigners provided by the Notary in Catete (a neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro): http://www.cartoriocatete.com.br/docs/documentosEstrangeirosV2012.pdf

US citizens may find useful information on the following page: http://brazil.usembassy.gov/marriage-info.html

A helpful thread on a forum: http://www.expat-blog.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=150290

The following website (in Portuguese) will provide some information on different wedding-related issues in Brazil: http://www.casamentorj.com.br/

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