Mexico Legal Wedding Requirements – I Do Mexico

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Mexico Legal Wedding Requirements

Mexico Legal Wedding

Legal Ceremony 2

To have a Mexico Legal Wedding requires paperwork, blood tests and a legal officiant.  Many couples marry in their home country and then have a symbolic ceremony in Mexico.  If you do opt for a legal Mexican wedding, we recommend hiring a local wedding coordinator to help you through the process. Getting married in an all inclusive resort will often have an on site wedding coordinator who will organize everything for you. If your hotel cannot put you in touch with one, you are probably staying at the wrong hotel!  In order to meet all the legal requirements and take care of all the paperwork, plan on arriving at least three days before the ceremony (not counting weekends and Mexican holidays).  Some resorts request that you arrive four days in advance because of the blood test. After all, we want to make sure you’re not marring a long lost brother or sister!

In order for a Mexico Legal Wedding to be recognized as LEGAL, both in Mexico and elsewhere, the Civil Ceremony must be performed by a Mexican civil registry official. Civil ceremonies are typically not performed on Sunday or on a Mexican Holiday (or Saturdays in some locations). A religious ceremony can be done in addition to a civil ceremony, but has no legal status.

Although similar, marriage requirements a Mexico Legal Wedding are set by each state, and can differ in important details. The exact requirements are available from the registry office (Oficinia del Registro Civil) in the state you plan to marry. This is just one more reason to rely on the help of a local wedding coordinator.

By the time you are done, getting the necessary paperwork can cost $800-$900USD. A typical fee for medical tests is $250USD per couple and the fees involved with “legalizing” various documents can run into the hundreds as well.

Residency requirement: None for a Mexico Legal Wedding

Consent – For anyone under 18, consent of parents or guardian is required. Even with consent, males must be at least 16, and females 14.

Medical requirements – A blood test is necessary for a blood type, V.D.R.L., HIV, and Rh factor. It must be done within 14 days of getting married. The tests must be done in Mexico, with the results in Spanish. Tests from outside of Mexico are not acceptable. If you stay in an all inclusive resort, the blood test is often made there.

Witnesses – You’ll need four witnesses, two for the bride and two for the groom, all at least 18 years of age.

  • A Civil Ceremony Form filled out (available through your Wedding Coordinator) indicating witnesses name, age, nationality, home address and occupation.
  • Valid passport
  • Tourist Card
  • Witnesses must arrive at the hotel three business days prior to the legal wedding ceremony date in order to complete the legal document process.

Mexico Legal Wedding


Family members are permitted to be witnesses. If you don’t have witnesses, the weeding coordinator will provide them for an extra cost of aprox $20USD per person.

Previous marriages – Most states require that the bride and groom can not remarry until they have been divorced for at least a year. This varies, so please check with your wedding coordinator. If either bride or groom is widowed, a death certificate is needed.




Required Documents for Mexico Legal Wedding

U.S. and Canadian citizens need  a passport to enter Mexico and to legally marry.

UK citizens need a passport and tourist permit, but not a visa. With the exception of your passport and tourist permit, all necessary documents must be legalized, which is another way of saying authenticated by the appropriate jurisdiction in your home country. Legalization is done by the nearest Mexican consulate in your home country and translated into Spanish by a certified Spanish translator.

Bring an original and certified copy of all your documents, but give up only the copies. They will not be returned. If you are using a local wedding coordinator, send the copies to them at least 30 days before you arrive in Mexico.


Required documents for a Mexico Legal Wedding

  • Passports – Must be good for at least six months after you enter Mexico.
  • Tourist Permit – Called an FFM, you’ll get this upon arrival. The names on your passport and the permit must be identical.
  • Birth certificate.  Must be a certified copy.
  • Divorce decree/death certificate, if either applies.
  • Affidavit of Single Marital Status – A few states require this. It has to be in English, and notarized.


Along with the above documentation, you will need a Formato de Estancia.  This gives you permission to marry a Mexican national. It is issued by the Secretaria de Gobernacion and must come from an office in the same state you are getting married. You will also need to submit a letter to the National Institute of Migration, signed by both of you, stating that there is no legal reason why you can’t be married. You must include the details of when and where the ceremony will take place. It must be accompanied by proof of payment of fees. The process should take only a few days, but may take up to two weeks.

All documents, except the passport, must be apostatized by the authorities of the country where they were issued if not Mexico. Birth certificates must be translated into Spanish by a certified translator.

Your wedding coordinator will usually arrange a copy of the marriage license for you immediately after the ceremony. The translated final license, that is valid as legal internationally, would be mailed to you within one and a half to four months after the wedding.

Your marriage certificate, which will be in Spanish, validates your marriage worldwide. You need to have it legalized in Mexico. For Americans and British people, this means a certified copy needs to be appended with an apostle from the Mexican government. If you don’t have a wedding coordinator assisting you , the local Registro Civil can help. They may not be ready until after you depart Mexico, but arrangements can be made to have it sent by Fedex. After returning home, register your marriage certificate with your local governing jurisdiction.

Please note that if you have been divorced you will need to wait at least one year before remarrying.

Please also consider that if time is too limited to comply with formalities, you can have a beautiful symbolic wedding and marry legally when you get back home!


The ceremony

The ceremony will be conducted in Spanish, and may be translated into English by your wedding coordinator, someone you know, or, for a fee, a professional translator.



Symbolic Ceremony

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This ceremony is not recognized as a Mexico Legal Wedding in Mexico or your home country. Preferred by couples already married and wishing to have a wedding ceremony, those thinking of a legal ceremony at a later date or those wishing to renew vows with their loved one.

It is typically performed by a non-denominational officiant, but can also be performed, for an additional fee, by a Religious Officiant. (Not valid for the Catholic Church) Some ministers speak English and for those that do not, the service is translated into English by professional Wedding Coordinators.

There is no waiting period for a Symbolic Wedding Ceremony. No rules or limited days of the week as these are not considered a Mexico Legal Wedding.



Mexico Legal Wedding  & Catholic Ceremonies

Catholic CeremonyCatholic ceremonies must take place in a catholic church. All the chapels including in this website are authorized for a Mexico Legal Wedding.

For Catholics, documents required of both the bride and groom include birth, baptism, and confirmation certificates. Documentation from your home diocese to the priest performing your ceremony in Mexico confirming that you have taken all the usual steps necessary for couples planning to marry in the church. Permission has been granted by your home diocese for you to marry in Mexico. An affidavit of freedom to marry, a per-nuptial investigation form, and color photos of the bride and groom have been included; notice of any dispensations, etc., that may be applicable. All this should be in the hands of the officiating priest at least 30 days before the ceremony.

The Prelature of Cancún-Chetumal Catholic Community remembers that the Sacrament of Marriage is to be held in the Parish Temples.

In order to have a control sacramental marriages performed in the state and prevent fraud by false priests, the Catholic Church of the Prelature of Cancún-Chetumal has determined that it can only be held in the Sacrament of Marriage Chapels authorized to do so.

The marriage couple must complete the Pre-Cana classes, required pre-marriage courses and the Pre-Cana certificate is required prior to the wedding.

In some parishes, the Catholic Wedding and Mass are held in Spanish only. In the Riviera Maya, there are two priests who can perform a Catholic wedding and mass in English.

Requirements for Couples marrying outside of their Parish Requesting to Be Married in the Diocese of Cancun-Chetumal, Quintana Roo

The Permission of your parish priest will assist you with obtaining the necessary documents, permissions and dispensations (if needed).

Catholic Ceremony 2

A Determination of Readiness and Freedom to Marry In order to determine that a couple is ready and free to marry in the Catholic Church, the couple must to do the following:

a. Complete a “Pre-Nuptial Questionnaire” which will provide basic information that will help determine if the couple is ready and free to marry in the Catholic Church. This questionnaire is completed in the parish office.

b. Obtain a recent copy of baptismal certificate, issued within six months of the marriage.

c. Have two witnesses for the bride and two witnesses for the groom complete and have notarized a questionnaire in order to prove the freedom of the couple to marry.

d. If necessary, obtain necessary annulments of previous marriages (civil, non-Catholic religious, Catholic Church).

e. If necessary, obtain necessary other dispensations permissions, if applicable:

  • dispensation for disparity of worship
  • dispensation from canonical form
  • permission for Mixed Religion
  • decree of nullity of a former marriage(If either party was previously married, a declaration of nullity for a lack of form or formal annulment must be obtained.)

Once you are married, your official marriage certificate and papers will be forwarded to your parish and recorded in your parish records. If you wish these to be sent by Fed EX, an extra charge would apply. If not, it normally takes about six weeks for your papers to arrive at your parish.

State and province regulations vary.

A Catholic wedding in Mexico is an official Catholic wedding in the United States under Catholic Canon Law. It is your responsibility to see if your official Catholic wedding in Mexico will be recognized under the laws of your state, as a civil marriage. It is your responsibility to verify your state’s requirements and if this would be valid under your state

For Jewish ceremonies, finding a rabbi locally can be difficult, so couples will often bring their own from home, although wedding coordinators can sometimes arrange that.

As requirements are subject to change, do not consider any of this legal advice, and verify all information from local wedding coordinators and other sources before arriving.



Same Sex Mexico Legal Wedding

Mexico Cancun Wedding Photographer


Same sex marriages can be legally performed only in Mexico City and Quintana Roo, which includes Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum  and Riviera Maya area!

Once you are married

  • Mexico Legal Wedding Marriage Certificate (Acta de Matrimonio)
  • Religious Ceremony


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