It is possible to marry legally in Portugal without being a resident of this country. We help you to apply for the wedding via a power of attorney document. You marry under the Portuguese law in front of a Portuguese registrar even so the law of the country of your nationality and the country of your residency are relevant to some legal aspects of the marriage. In Portugal marriage is defined as a contract between two people same or opposite sex, who want to build a family by a full communion of live. Which documents do you need to provide: These are the basic documents you need to provide, see details below. We will send you the detailed list for your paperwork according to your nationality and civil status.
Marriage capacity certificate (also called: no Impediment certificate/certificate de coutume, Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage)
Power of attorney
Death certificate (if widowed)
Divorce Papers / Marriage certificate of previous marriage which states divorce (if divorced)
Photocopy of your Passports or ID card
- Birth certificate – from the registry office where the birth was registered or in many cases through online request forms. You will need to get a recent copy of your birth certificate, issued not more than 6 month before the wedding date- long version with the parents’ name, either an international version (only for the countries listed here), or a national version which needs to have an authentication from a governmental body of country where it got issued, to proof that it is a valid document of this country. In many countries this would be an Apostille, see member countries of apostille here. (costs vary from country to country Birth Certificates cost around 5 – 20 €, the cost of an apostille is around 20 – 40 €)
- Marriage capacity certificate – issued not more than 6 month before the wedding date. In most countries you will need to contact your local registry office and give notice of your intend to marry in order to get the certificate of No Impediment. The office will also tell you how long it takes and what you need to do in order to get the certificate. Some countries issue an international version of the marriage capacity certificate others may need an apostille or other international certification.
- Power of attorney with notary stamp and signature and apostille (or other authentication if not member country of the Hague convention for the apostille) – issued not more than 6 month before the wedding date, costs approx 50 € + 30 € (for the apostille) – we send you the power of attorney and you need to sign in front of a notary public.
- Death certificate (if either bride or groom are widowed)- either an international version (only for the countries listed here) or a national version which needs to have an authentication from a governmental body of country where it got issued, to proof that it is a valid document of this country. In many countries this would be an Apostille, see member countries of apostille here. (costs vary from country to country Death Certificates cost around 5 – 20 €, the cost of an Apostille is around 20 – 40 €)
- Divorce Papers / Marriage certificate of previous marriage which states divorce (if bride or groom are divorced. If there was more than one previous marriage, we only need the last divorce paper). We need the decree absolute and it needs to get an Apostille or other authentication from a governmental body of country where it got issued.
- Apostilles/ international authentication for documents: the documents that are not in the international form require Authentication from a governmental body. Countries that are members to the Hague convention for the Apostile can use this method of authentication, it is the easiest method. If your country is not a member you need to get the authentication for documents that your country offers, plus the document may have to be certified by the portuguese consulate in your country.
How long does it take to apply for a civil wedding.
We work with a recommended minimal time frame of 1 month. Meaning we would need your paperwork at least 1 month prior to the wedding. We are able to find faster options if necessary, if it is a small wedding and not on a weekend in the high season. The earliest date to organize the wedding process is approximately 6 months prior to the wedding, because of the validity of the paper work. Best however is as early as possible is best.
Can the wedding request be denied? The registrar can ask for further papers if he/she has any doubts about the legality of your wedding request.
When do you get confirmation of booking of the registrar? Once the wedding request is approved we can book the registrar for the requested time and date. In general the time and date will be as requested. If ,as in rare cases possible, the registry office should not have availability for the requested time and date there are two options:
- Time and/or date get changed
- We find you a registrar from a different registry office that is willing to travel to your wedding district. Extra travel costs for the registrar apply (average 10 € – 30 €) and extra planning Fees of 50 €
Where will the ceremony take place? The ceremony can take place at the registry office or at a location of your choice. This does not have to be a location that is licensed for weddings. Hotels, restaurants, quintas or holiday apartments are some options. Beach weddings are also possible, a license from the maritime police is required. More info under Beach weddings.
How long is the actual ceremony?: A civil ceremony is between 10 – 20 minutes long depending on the registrar.
How do things go on the wedding day? In general your wedding attendant, who is also your translator will be at the location approx. 30 minutes before the wedding. The registrar usually arrives at the apointed hour of ceremony +/- 5 – 10 minutes and leaves straight after the ceremony. If for some reason you will be late, we can not guarantee that the registrar will wait, however, so far they always did 😉 The registrar will read out the data of the application for the wedding and read the final decision that has been made, followed by the legal explanation of marriage and the important question which is: Is it your free will to marry … After that you may exchange personal vows and rings. Than the wedding register is being read out. In general the civil ceremony is very simple and therefore we generally suggest to add a celebration ceremony, in which you have a celebrant leading through the ceremony, as well as translating the parts of the registrar. Please ask your wedding planner for further info if you are interested or read here: http://www.weddingportugal.com/en_GB/ceremony-requirements/celebration-ceremonies/
Property Regime: The property regime defines the legal rights of possession during the marriage. For example in Portugal any marriage without a prenuptial contract will be subject to the regime of shared goods, meaning everything acquired during the time of marriage belongs to both. Heritage or personal gifts stay private possession. If neither of bride or groom has the pt nationality or a residency in Portugal the pt law does not apply to the property regime. What defines the property regime applied is the first common residency after the marriage. This is a general information and for more detail on this matter we advise to consult a lawyer who specializes in international law. This may be of particular importance if you are planning to marry with a pre-nuptial contract.
Outdoor weddings: The registrar may ask for a shade or rain shelter in order to agree to your chosen wedding location. In case there is bad weather and no alternative for a location the civil wedding will take place in the registry office. Last minute changes of time and date to accommodate your wish for an outdoor wedding can be attempted without guarantee, depending on the availability of the registrar.
Witnesses: It is not necessary to have witnesses, but in case of doubt the registrar has the power to insist on witnesses. By law the witnesses would need to speak Portuguese, however many times we had witnesses that did not speak Portuguese. We suggest to only have “official” witnesses if the registrar insists. You can have “unofficial” witnesses if you choose to also have the celebration ceremony.
Name changing options: The name changing options have to be in accordance with your personal law, law of your nationality. If you are Portuguese you may change your name during the wedding with the options of adding one or two surnames to your own surname. If you are not Portuguese you should request the name change when you register your wedding in your country of nationality.
See info for British nationals here: http://www.ukdps.co.uk/AWomansRightsUponMarriage.html
Translator: if you do not speak Portuguese you are obliged to have a translator, we include this service in our planning package.
International Wedding certificate: After the marriage we will send you an international Wedding certificate. You may need a national document with an apostille that then has to be translated in your country. Please ask at your registry office and let us know if you require a national version with apostille or an international version wedding certificate. Countries that accept the international version: US, UK, Germany, France, Austria, Canada, Poland, Norway, Sweden, …. Countries that don’t accept the international version: Czech Republic, Russia ….
Signatures: There will be no signing during the wedding. The wedding is a verbal contract in front of the official authorized person and will after be digitalized. If you also would like to book a celebration ceremony we can supply a symbolic wedding certificate to be signed at the end. This certificate has no legal validity. Please see photos here: http://www.weddingportugal.com/en_GB/wedding_certificate/
All above information is given to the best of our knowledge, we are not liable for errors or changes in the current legal regulations.