Destination weddings are very popular and getting married in Puerto Rico is a nice options for those who want a destination wedding. We actually got married in Puerto Rico, and there are several things that you need to know if you are considering getting married in Puerto Rico. I must admit that some of the things required are pretty…well…dumb, but it’s like packing and getting ready for a vacation, just think of the fun you are going to have and how beautiful it will all be! =)
Having said that…This step by step process I’m about to write will be difficult as some things don’t make a lot of logical sense! LOL
First of all, if you are having a civil wedding (by a Judge), rest assured that Judges are allowed to marry people inside or outside the courthouse, I got married at a beach! The cost will typically range between $150 and $250 for a private party outside of the courthouse. If you were to get married during normal business hours and in the courthouse, there is no fee for the judge. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you start the coordination process months in advance!
Things you will need (for most weddings):
–Blood-work: You will need a V.D.R.L. test done within 10 days of your wedding, the results will have to be certified by a doctor in Puerto Rico.
–Registro Demografico (Demographic Registry): Locate the nearest “Registro Demografico” and ask for the marriage license form which they will give you along with a medical certification form for a doctor (physician) to certify the results of your blood-work.
–Doctor and blood-work: Once you have the marriage license form (Form RD-12), take the form along with the results of your V.D.R.L. results to doctor to certify. You have only 10 days from the blood sample is taken to when the certification must be made. I personally had the blood-work done in the states 2 days before I flew to Puerto Rico. The doctor may charge you for this certification, normally around $20.
–Colecturía en el Departamento de Hacienda (Collections office at the Department of Hacienda): You need to buy a “sello” (Stamp) for $20 which you will take back to the Demographic Registry with the certified medical form and the marriage license form.
–Registro Demografico (again): Once you get the $20 stamp, have filled out the marriage license form, and the V.D.R.L. results have been certified by the doctor, take them back to a Demographic Registry office within the district where you will get married. They will then take that and seal the medical certification plus give you yet another form, which is the marriage certificate form.
You now have 3 documents, the Marriage license form, the medical certification form, and the marriage certificate form; you will take these to the courthouse or the judge who will be performing the ceremony.
*Note: You will need 2 witnesses over the age of 21 at the time of the wedding.
-Gay marriages: Puerto Rico now allows same-sex couples to marry.
-People under the age of 21 must bring birth certificate. Their parents or guardians must bring a valid ID with picture.
-Divorced Persons: If either party is divorced, you must bring a certified copy of the divorce certificate or divorce certificates if they have been divorced more than once. If the divorce certificate was issued in any State of the United States, you must bring a certificate issued by an authorized officer or the “County Clerk”.
-Divorced Woman: If you want to get married before 301 days have elapsed since the divorce, you must bring a certificate from a gynecologist certifying whether you are or not in a state of pregnancy.
-Widowers: If either party is widowed, present the corresponding Death Certificate.
-A couple that has a common child or children prior to marriage must bring the child(ren) birth certificate(s).
*Note to divorced persons:
If either party or both were recently divorced, you may not marry within thirty (30) days of notification of the divorce becoming final and binding. The only exception is renounced to the term of 30 days at the time of divorce and a waiver is recorded in the divorce certificate. This exception does not apply when it comes to divorce by mutual consent, then, in that case the 30 day period cannot be waived.
*Note in case that the parties are related:
They can not marry the ascending and descending blood (grandparents and parents, children and grandchildren) and affinity (grandparents and parents, sons and daughters). They can not marry collaterals within the fourth degree (uncles and nephews, cousins).
When the parties are first cousins may marry only if the Court of First Instance signs a waiver with just cause. For this purpose the parties shall file a sworn petition the Court for exempting them from the prohibition.
When cousins have lived together and as a result of that union they have children, or if one or both of them are in imminent danger of death, they may marry without dispensation from the Court of First Instance, giving the facts of the case to the Superior Court of First Instance by affidavit explaining the events.
Special provisions relating to minors:
-The men over 18 and women over 16, but are under 21, require parent’s permission.
-All women under 16 and over 14 who have been seduced, with the consent of their parents or guardian, and if they denied it, with the consent of the Superior Court.
-All male under 18 and over 16 who were accused of having seduced a woman over 14 and under 16 years, with the consent of their parents or guardian, and if they deny, with the permission of the Superior Court. It is necessary to prove the prosecution for the crime of seduction through the prosecution or the Sex Crimes Division of the Department of Justice.
-The minors of both sexes between 18 and 20 years of age if it is proved that the woman has been raped or is in a state of pregnancy. In this case, parental consent for marriage is not required. It is necessary to prove the fact of the violation by the prosecution or the Sex Crimes Division of the Department of Justice.
-Persons of 18 years and have been emancipated from their parents, or by order of a court against the will of their parents.
If either party is a foreigner:
The Court will require a document proving their identity. This can be a passport, visa or other document issued by the Immigration Department. In the event that the person is illegally in Puerto Rico, the Court shall contact the Department of Immigration.
Wedding Schedule and Fees:
Weddings in the courthouse are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 pm, to which must be coordinated in advance. There is no fee for the weddings held in the courthouse during the aforementioned hours. If the parties wish to marry outside of the courthouse, it should be coordinated with the judge. In that case the court or judge may charge reasonable fees agreed by the parties.
Sources: Personal experience and the Puerto Rico Judicial Branch www.Tribunalpr.org