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Published: Tuesday, Aug. 10th, 2021

How to Get Married in Puerto Rico - Planning a wedding on the Island of Enchantment

Planning a Puerto Rico wedding? This short guide will help - from finding an officiant to completing the marriage license. 

 


If you’re planning an island wedding in Puerto Rico, you already know: This place truly is paradise. 

 

Applying for a marriage license in this enchanted archipelago is easy for U.S. citizens, but requires a little more paperwork than it would stateside -- so it’s important to get a head start on the planning process to avoid unnecessary stress. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a short guide to help you begin. 

 

(If you’ve been asked to officiate a wedding in Puerto Rico, scroll down for helpful links.)

 

 


1. Get yourself a sweetheart! 


Got one? Whew! There will be a few more boxes to check, but the hardest part’s over.
 

 

2. Find a wedding officiant in Puerto Rico.


A wedding officiant is the person who conducts your ceremony and signs the marriage license, making things legal. In Puerto Rico, a friend or relative can perform your wedding ceremony, if they’ve been ordained and register locally. (Get ordained online for free with AMM.) 

 

If you want to hire a professional, the state has many qualified independent officiants to choose from. Spanish and English are both official languages in Puerto Rico, so you’ll have no trouble finding an officiant to perform your ceremony in either language. 

 

The following people are authorized to solemnize marriage in Puerto Rico: All regularly licensed or ordained priests or other ministers of the Gospel, Jewish rabbis, and various judges. (For a full list, visit Puerto Rico Marriage Laws.)

 


3. Choose a date and a venue...


Puerto Rico is home to pristine beaches and diving sites, colorful plants and wildlife, a thriving live music and arts scene, and rich history… including pirate lore, colonial architecture, and indigenious ruins and mythology. Destinations like San Juan, Vieques, Culebra, Ponce, and Rincon make it a favorite for romantic weddings. Whether you’re dreaming of a big to-do or a romantic elopement for two -- there’s something for everyone!

 

Popular dates, venues, and officiants book up fast, so start your planning early. And remember you’ll need permission (and possibly a permit) to hold your ceremony on a beach, or in a fort or national park. Permits can take days to process, so factor this into your timeline, too. 

 

 


Marriage License Quick Facts

No Waiting Period
No Expiration Period 
10 Day Return Period

 

 

 

4. The marriage license. 


Alright, time to make sure your wedding’s legal! We’ll break down each part of the marriage license process, one step at a time: 


Applying for your license


You’ll apply for your marriage license through the Demographic Registry office (Registro Demografico). To download and print a copy ahead of time, head here. You don’t need to be a Puerto Rican resident to marry there. 

 

You must be 21 years old to apply for a license in PR without consent from a parent. Individuals between18 and 21 years old can marry if they are accompanied by both parents. (Learn more here.)

 

All couples will need to bring:

 

  • valid government-issued photo IDs (such as a state issued driver’s license or a passport) 
  • copies of their official birth certificates
  • any divorce decrees or death records of previous spouses (if this applies)
  • an Internal Revenue Stamp (which can be purchased at the office)

 

If you’re a Puerto Rico resident, you’ll also need a medical certificate showing you were tested for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HIV, and VDRL in order to apply. Once the laboratory results are obtained, you’ll have up to 14 days to visit your doctor, who will sign the medical certificate. After your doctor signs the certificate you’ll have 10 calendar days before it expires to visit a Demographic Registry office and obtain your license to marry.

 

Non-Puerto Rico residents can skip the medical exam, but you’ll need to bring a letter from your doctor with you, stating that health testing prior to marriage isn’t required in your state.

 

Non-Puerto Rico residents must also provide a signed affidavit stating that they live elsewhere, and that the purpose of their visit is to get married. This affidavit must be notarized and include the length (in days) of the visit.

 

During COVID, you might be required to schedule an appointment to visit the office. Contact the Demographic Registry office to ask about scheduling.

 

If you’re planning a wedding anywhere in Puerto Rico, we recommend contacting the Demographic Registry directly to make sure that all of your documents are ready to go before you travel. The phone number for Registro Demografico Customer Service is (787) 765-2929. 

 

 

Cost 


The cost of a license is around $10, and an Internal Revenue Stamp is an additional $30 to $150 (for non-residents). Medical examinations and certificates of health are approximately $70 to $80 for residents. There’s no fee to register your marriage after the ceremony.

 

Payment is most often accepted by U.S. credit card.  

 


Waiting period


There is no waiting period between the time an application is completed and when a marriage license is released. 

 


Using and returning the license


A Puerto Rico marriage license can be used anywhere in the commonwealth. The license does not expire, but the medical certificate expires 10 days after it has been issued.

 

The license must be signed by each party to the marriage, two witnesses over the age of 21, and the marriage officiant following the ceremony. It must be returned to the Demographic Registry office within 10 days by the officiant / celebrant who performs the wedding. (We’ll cover this more below.) 

 

If you don’t have two witnesses to bring to the ceremony, some officiants on the island offer witness services for an additional fee. 

 

The license must be returned by the officiant within 10 days of the ceremony.

 

 

Two people run down the beach in Puerto Rico after their wedding ceremony. In the distance, palm trees and rocks line the sandy shore, and the waves meet the shore gently in a mix of white and blue.

 

 

5. Meet with your wedding officiant...


If this is a destination wedding, it’s a good idea to find an officiant before your trip, or ask a friend or family member to get ordained and come with you. Remember that a new officiant will need to register with the local government in Puerto Rico. And good officiants book up fast!  

 

Once you have an officiant, find time to talk about which elements you’d like to include in the ceremony. Talk about the tone of your ceremony, the ‘vibe’ you want to create for guests, and any special elements and unity rituals you want to include. Set aside a time to fine-tune the script, or rehearse the ceremony leading up to the wedding day. 

 

AMM’s website is full of resources to help you decide what kind of ceremony you want, tips on working well with your officiant, and advice on keeping your ceremony authentic and on budget. Visit articles tagged for couples on our American Weddings blog, or browse general articles by category or keyword. 

 


6. The wedding day! 


Aside from yourselves, the most important thing you’ll bring with you on the wedding day is your marriage license -- because no license means no marriage. Your officiant won’t be able to perform the wedding without having a license present (even if you have it at home), so make sure it’s with you. It’s also a good idea to bring a photo ID and copy of your birth certificate with you, because your minister / officiant will need to verify your identity when signing your license.

 

After the ceremony, you, your officiant, and two witnesses over the age of 21 will sign the license. For tips on how to complete the license, head here. Once it’s signed, your officiant must record it with the Demographic Registry office within 10 days.

 

Once it’s been recorded, you’re officially married! 

 

 

a photo of Vieques Island at sunset, there is a beautiful sandy coastline and palm trees, with the ocean stretching into the distance

 


Are you officiating a wedding in Puerto Rico? 

 

Visit our Weddings by State: Puerto Rico pages. 

 

We’ve got everything you need to understand the island’s licensing and registration requirements, any ministry credentials and paperwork you might need, and helpful tips for weddings in San Juan.

 


 

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