How to Marry a Brazilian

to Marry a Brazilian

    an American citizen the road to marry a Brazilian can be
    rugged and intimidating. In Brazil, religious wedding ceremonies are
    not legally recognized. You need to present among other documents your

    birth certificate and evidence that you are single. And remember that
    your intent to marry is different from registering the actual marriage.

    by: Kim
    Rachell Lainhart Lira

    I traveled to Brazil
    January 2003 to go on a missionary trip with my boyfriend who is Brazilian
    and lives in Campo Grande, in the state of Rio de Janeiro. On January
    12, the day we would be leaving for Goiânia on our 20-day mission
    trip, he asked me to marry him. Because of my visa issues we knew we needed
    to be married quickly and we started to research what was needed for us
    to get married as soon as we arrived back from the mission trip on February

    I have the standard
    tourist visa for Brazil, and my 180 days would be up April 2. So, my fiancé
    Everton went to the local Civil Registry Office to get the needed info.
    While he was there, I stayed at home calm thinking that the marriage process
    in Brazil would be very similar to the process in California where I’m
    from. Wow was I in for a big surprise!

    He came back with
    a list of requirements and waiting periods, waiting periods we didn’t
    have time to wait for. The marriage process in Brazil can be complicated
    and time consuming, a process that reads more like a nightmare. The instructions
    required that I have my birth certificate and passport authenticated and
    translated into Portuguese, and that I obtain from the United States consulate
    in Rio de Janeiro a permission certificate and a certificate proving that
    I’m single.

    It was also required
    that my translator be certified competent to translate the English language
    into Portuguese. After doing this I had to get the documents authenticated
    at a separate office yet paying another fee. At the end, I had to give
    them the original of the document plus an additional copy that had been

    So the following day
    we went to the US consulate in Rio to get the needed documents. There
    we spent R$ 135.00 (US$ 45) for the certificates and another $30.00 (US$
    10) for the notarization. Here is what I found out. I hope this can make
    the process a little less painful for you and your bride or groom to be,
    than it was for me and my husband.

    All individuals regardless
    of nationality, who desire to be married in Brazil, must comply with the
    Brazilian law. There are no provisions for American Diplomatic or Consular
    Officers to perform marriages in Brazil. In addition, marriages may not
    be performed at the U.S. Embassy or Consulates.

    In Brazil, a civil
    process is required in order to legalize the marriage. Religious ceremonies
    may also be performed, but they are not legally recognized. Religious
    ceremonies alone are not considered legally binding. Civil ceremonies
    may be performed at Civil Registry Offices (Registros Civis). Marriages
    are normally performed at the Civil Registry Office that has jurisdiction
    over the resident or the registration of the party. In addition to performing
    marriages, this office also contains all the required forms and pertinent
    procedural information necessary to be married in Brazil.

    U.S. citizens intending
    to marry in Brazil should visit the Civil Registry Office where they live
    to obtain a list of the documents required for the marriage to be legally
    registered. If neither the groom nor the bride lives in Brazil, you may
    visit the Civil Registry Office closest to where you would like to get

    The following information
    and document requirements will help guide you in the marriage process.
    Please make sure to obtain the most up to date information from the civil
    Registry Office since requirements, procedures, and costs are subject
    to change.

    General Information

    1. The minimum age
    for marriages is 18 years for men and 16 years for women.

    2. Parental authorization,
    or that of a guardian, is required if the bride or groom is a minor (under
    21 years old)

    Registering Intention
    to Marry

    In order to register
    your intention to marry, you and your fiancé(e) should go in person
    to the Civil Registry Office (Cartório de Registro Civil) accompanied
    by two witnesses. The witnesses should be at least 21 years old, have
    their Brazilian I.D. card and C.P.F. (Cadastro de Pessoa Física).
    All signatures must be certified by the "Registro de Notas".
    The following forms will also be necessary for registration as well as
    a fee of approximately R$ 72 (US$ 25).

    Please note that
    registering your intent to marry is different from registering the actual
    You will be required to submit all original documents as
    well as another copy when registering your intent to marry. If the documents
    are in English, you should provide a translation by a sworn public translator.
    Please check with the appropriate Civil Registry Office for current fee

    Forms Involving
    the Brazilian Consulate

    a. Birth Certificate:
    U.S. birth certificates must be authenticated by a Brazilian Consulate
    in the U.S. and translated into Portuguese by a sworn public translator.
    The U.S. Embassy and Consulates do not provide translation services. However,
    they can provide a list of sworn public translators at their Website
    you may also be required to have
    the translation authenticated by a local notary public (Tabelião).

    b. Evidence of
    termination of prior marriage:
    (if applicable) If you are divorced
    or widowed, you may be required to present previous marriage, divorce
    or death certificates as applicable. If the documents are not from Brazil,
    they must be authenticated by the Brazilian Embassy or Consulate in the
    country of origin and translated into Portuguese by a sworn public translator.
    The Supreme Tribunal Federal in Brasília must also legalize divorce
    decrees from countries other than Brazil. This procedure generally requires
    the assistance of a Brazilian attorney. A list of attorneys is available
    at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate (

    Forms Involving
    the U.S. Consulate

    c. Evidence of
    single marital status:
    Generally the Civil Registry Office will accept
    evidence in the form of an affidavit sworn at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate
    in which you declare your marital status as "single." The service
    fee is US$ 55 payable in cash and you must present your U.S. passport.

    d. "Certidão
    de inscrição consular":
    This document is normally
    requested if your birth certificate does not show your parents’ full names.
    You may request this document from the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The
    document will state your full legal name, birth date, place of birth,
    and your parents’ names. Please bring your U.S. passport and a recent
    photograph (2 by 2 inches). There is a fee of US$ 20 for this service.

    Forms Involving
    the Civil Registry Office

    e. Application
    To register intention to marry

    f. U.S. Passport:
    Copy of your U.S. passport, including the biographical data page and
    any other pages containing information, certified by a Registry Office


    g. Brazilian identity
    : (if applicable) Photocopy of your Brazilian identity card if
    you are a temporary or permanent resident of Brazil, authenticated by
    a local notary public.

    Note: If you
    are in Brazil on a permanent resident visa (Carteira de Residente Permanente)
    or as a temporary worker (Carteira de Temporário), some of the
    above documents may be waived.

    Registering the

    A second fee is required
    to register the marriage at the Civil Registry Office (Registro de Titulos
    e documentos.) This registration also takes place before you can get married.
    The fee is about R$18 (US$ 6) for each page of the documents listed above.
    Please check with the appropriate Civil Registry Office for current fee

    Marriage License

    Once the required
    documents have been filed and the fee paid, there is a waiting period
    of about 30 days before the marriage license is approved. At this point,
    the marriage license is valid for three months during which time you may
    legally get married.

    Kim Rachell
    Lainhart Lira is a free lance writer and author of the anti-gang violence
    book for youth entitled Gang War. She has spent the last seven
    months in poor areas of Brazil as a Baptist missionary, and has traveled
    to Brazil at least once a year for the past 4 years. She can be reached




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