How is a civil ceremony different from a religious one?
A civil ceremony is essentially a one-stop shop because we take care of everything. It is legally binding, thus there is no need for two ceremonies. Religious ceremonies are not legally binding in Costa Rica (unless the local Catholic Church administrates them). In Costa Rica, a civil ceremony is required either before or after your religious ceremony.
The legal formalities and signing of the paperwork take around 30 minutes at civil weddings. In addition we can hold the ceremonies at your home or at the office of the Notary Public.
Marriages that are legal in Costa Rica are usually valid in other countries. The Government Registry (Registro Civil) will issue your marriage certificate three months after the marriage registration.
After you provide all required certificates to the Canadian or US embassies in Costa Rica, both countries will recognize your marriage.
To be legal in the US or Canada, your marriage certificate must be:
- Translated into English by an Official Translator approved and verified by the Ministry of Foreign Relations
- Notarized by a Notary Public (we can do this for you)
- Certified and signed by your Embassy’s Consular Section.
Choosing the Location
Not everyone wants to attend a huge, traditional church wedding. The location of your wedding ceremony is your choice. Do you prefer it in a lawyer’s office? No problem! You don’t want a ceremony at a lawyer’s office? No problem! Your backyard, a public park, a beach, or a nature preserve can also be a perfect location for your civil ceremony.
The average cost for a civil ceremony is $700 (+ tax).
The average cost for a sworn declaration required for civil ceremonies (if needed) is $240 (per person).
At CRIE we work with you to make sure your marriage is stress free!
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