Weddings in Colombia are a big deal. A culture that relishes everything fiesta-orientated, the celebration is extravagent and lasts sometimes into the morning. Unfortunately, this doesnâ€™t come without planning, and for your wedding in Colombia thereâ€™s a lot you need to know before you can exchange your rings.
Civil Wedding in Colombia
(Youâ€™ll need the following even in a church)
Colombian law doesnâ€™t require you to get a special visa to get married in the country. The happy couple have to identify themselves with a current passport and their tourist visas (locals need their cedula) and the following documents:
1. Authenticated passport/cedula de ciudadania photocopy.
2. Authenticated birth cerificate with a validity no longer than 30 days for Colombian naionals and 90 days for foreigners. If the certificat was issued in a language different from Spanish, it should be translated by an official translator and legalised before the local Foregin Ministery (apostilized)
3. Certificate of no impediment (AU) or Unmarried state certificate if any or both are foreigners.
Special documents for exceptional circumstances:
1. Cerified copy of marriage annulment when applicable
2. If widow/widower, certified marriaged certificate and spouseâ€™s death certificate
3. If divorced, certified copy of previous marriage certificate with divorce clause
Catholic wedding in Colombia
If itâ€™s a Catholic wedding youâ€™re after with your Colombian partner, youâ€™ll need all the documents above as well as the following:
1. Certified baptism certificate issued no more than 90 days before the marriage date
2. Certified confirmation certificate. If it is issued in a language different from Spanish, it should be translated by an official translator and legalised before the local Foregin Ministery (apostilized)
If any of the two is a non catholic:
1. Certificate from her/his own church. Again, if the document was issued in a language different from Spanish, it should be translated by an official translator and legalised before the local Foregin Ministery (apostilized)
2. Certificate of no impediment writen by two members of the family before a priest and certified by a member of the church specifying:
a) How long the couple have known each other
b) That non of them have been married before or if any has been married before, the reason why they got divorced
If any of the two is Catholic and has a previous marriage you should also have:
1. Annulment certificate
2. Divorce certificate
3. And/or death certificate of previous spouse
Unfortunately if either of the couple has been married under the Catholic Church previously and the ex-partner is still alive, you will not be able to re-marry unless your previous marriage was invalidated by the Catholic Church.
Remember that all your documents should be translated by an official translator before being legalised by the local Foreign Ministry.
So, once youâ€™ve got your documents youâ€™re ready for the next stage: presenting the documents.
If you are having a civil wedding is not necessary for both to be present when handing the documents in. The foreigner should send a â€˜power of attorneyâ€™ (again translated and certified) giving power to present his/her documents and to fill and sign the required form on his/her behalf.
The local Colombian, burdened as they are with responsibility, should take all these documents to a Notaria . Here they will fill in a form and pay the fee, which is roughly COL$140.000 (US$80) and wait for confirmation that all documents are in order.
If everything is going according to plan, they will publish an â€œedictoâ€. This means the Notaria will let the community know that you intend to marry, and publish something in a local newspaper (in small print) to see if anyone has an objection or legal reason for it not to happen. Obviously, this is highly unlikely.
After 15 days they should contact you to set a date for the wedding. Here youâ€™ll have to pay a litte extra and fill in a form stating the date and location you want to get married (unless you want to get married in the notaria).
After that all thatâ€™s left is for you to wait until your special day: your marriage in Colombia.
If youâ€™re looking to get married in Colombia (and we know many of you are) then donâ€™t worry about the pressure of organising it all alone. We will help you to help your organise everything, from honeymoons to guestâ€™s tours to the big day itself.
by Alexander Kloble
Your mycolombianwife team