How to Get Married in Brazil as a Foreigner

Created: Apr 2, 2024 | Updated: Apr 2, 2024

Marriage isn't just a union; it's an adventure. It's sailing into unknown waters with your best friend, your partner in crime, and sometimes, your biggest challenger. You have come to the right place if you are looking for answers on how marriage is done in Brazil, especially from the perspective of a foreign national. We’ve done the research and covered all the steps concerning how to tie the knot in Brazil, from the legal requirements to the necessary documentation, up to the planning process, so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

Brazilian Wedding Traditions

A Brazilian wedding is usually vibrant and elaborate. It starts with the bride soaking up some serious pampering, including facials and massages, provided by her family to ensure she is glowing on her big day. Then comes the ceremony, often in a church because the Christian faith is a big deal to the Brazilians. Both the bride and groom make grand entrances at Brazilian weddings. Unlike in many cultures where the bride's arrival is the highlight, Brazilian grooms also make a grand entrance accompanied by their mothers. Madrinhas and Padrinhos, the Brazilian counterparts to bridesmaids and groomsmen, stand as witnesses to the couple’s commitment, however, they are often dressed in a variety of bright colours rather than the uniform attire.

The reception is where the party starts. It is always a wonderful celebration that lasts way into the early hours of the next day, fueled by delicious food and endless music. An interesting highlight of the party is when the groom's tie gets cut into pieces and auctioned off to the guests. It's all in good fun and helps fund their dream honeymoon. At some point in the reception, bem casados are distributed among the guests. It is a sweet treat that symbolises good luck and prosperity for the couple. Expect to be served “dawn snacks” when it’s getting late to keep your energy up so you can party for much longer. 

Brazilian weddings also feature traditions like; Bumba-Meu-Boi (a unique tradition where the groom attempts to tame a donkey to prove his worthiness to the bride's family) and Finger Switching (where the bride switches her engagement ring from her right to her left hand during the ceremony to signify her married status​). 

What happens at a Brazilian wedding?


Types of Marriages in Brazil

  1. Civil Marriages: Most wedding ceremonies in Brazil are either civil or religious. Before a marriage can be deemed legal, it has to be civil. In a Brazilian civil marriage, the first thing that happens is habilitaço (habilitation). Here, you have to gather all the required documents for marriage and present them to the local Cartório de Registro Civil (Civil Registrar). You can either submit these documents in person or send a representative, as long as you have good reasons why you cannot appear yourselves. The Habilitaço process takes about 45 to 90 days before the wedding can be held. 
  2. Religious Marriages in Brazil: The main religion or faith of the people in Brazil is the Catholic faith. Religious marriages are recognised but are not considered legally binding. Religious marriages are done in the Catholic church by a priest and it involves joining two baptised Christians who are not Catholic or a Catholic Christian and a non-Catholic Christian. During the ceremony, the priest says a prayer and proceeds to ask the audience if anyone has any objections to the marriage. If there are no objections, the priest pronounces you husband and wife.

The Legal Requirements for Marriage in Brazil 

The first thing you need to do is understand what the legal requirements for getting married in Brazil are. Here are the criteria you need to meet before getting married in Brazil: 

  • You both must be at least 21 years old (parental consent is needed if you are younger than 21).
  • You both must either be single, widowed or divorced with proof such as a civil status certificate, death certificate, divorce certificate, dissolution of civil partnership certificate, etc.
  • You cannot marry or enter into a civil partnership with someone whom you are related to by blood to a degree that legally prohibits you from marrying them. Such relationships include:
    • Mother or father
    • Father’s sister or brother (aunt or uncle)
    • Mother’s sister or brother (aunt or uncle)
    • Sister or brother
    • Father’s daughter or son (half-sister or brother)
    • Mother’s daughter or son (half-sister or brother)
    • Daughter or son
    • Son’s daughter or son (granddaughter or grandson)
    • Daughter’s daughter or son (granddaughter or grandson)
    • Brother’s daughter or son (niece or nephew)
    • Sister’s daughter or son (niece or nephew)
    • Grandmother or grandfather
Documentation Requirements

For Marriage Registration at a Cartório::

  • An international passport.
  • Your Brazilian partner’s ID.
  • Birth certificate (for both of you).
  • Proof of residence (for both of you).
  • A certificate of singlehood certified by Itamaraty (Ministry of Foreign Affairs). 
  • Final divorce, dissolution and nullity decrees as well as death certificates in respect of all previous marriages and civil partnerships.
  • Your Brazilian partner’s taxpayer’s card.
  • Location of your Brazilian partner’s parents' birth.
  • A Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage (CNI).
  • Declaration of your civil status, issued by the Brazilian embassy or local consulate.

After the ceremony, if you're considering applying for a permanent residency visa (RNE) with the Polícia Federal, you will need:

  • A completed visa application form, signed by you.
  • A certified copy of your international passport.
  • A certified copy of your Entry Card.
  • A Criminal Record Check, legalised by the Brazilian consulate in your home country.
  • Two recent coloured photographs.
  • An international certificate of vaccination, if requested.
  • A certified copy of your Birth Certificate or Marriage Certificate.
  • Proof of address in Brazil.
  • Receipt for the visa fee payment.

If you have a permanent residence visa or a temporary work visa, then some of the documents mentioned above can be overlooked.

All of the above documents that are not in Portuguese need to be translated by a certified translator or a certified translation service in Brazil. Brazillian authorities will not accept translations done by anyone other than a certified Portuguese translator. Translayte is a language service provider that provides you with highly skilled Portuguese-certified translators who work to accurately convey the message of your documents. You can get Portuguese translations to or from a large variety of languages like English to Portuguese translations and vice versa. Moreover, your foreign documents must be legalised or bear an apostille stamp from the country of issuance to be valid in Brazil. 


Get Married in Brazil in Four Steps

So, we’ve looked at all we need to put in place before marrying in Brazil. Now, let’s simplify the entire process for you into four steps. 

Declare Intent to Marry 

To declare your intent to marry, you need to visit your local Cartório. Each has a different set of rules on what you should do and what documents to take along for your registration. You both must complete the application and register the marriage document that states that you want to be joined together as husband and wife of your own free will. You also have to bring two witnesses who are at least 21 years old and have valid means of identification like a national ID card or a Cadastro de Pessoa Fsica (CPF)

It costs 72 reals to declare your intent to marry in Brazil and after you are finished, you both have to make a publication of your intention to marry in a newspaper with your legal names. In the publication, you have to include you and your parent’s addresses. If you are having a religious ceremony, you can also have your public announcements made in the church. After you are done with the marriage registration and you have paid the required fees, you will be issued a marriage license. The license is valid for three months, and you are expected to get married within that time.

Register Your Marriage 

After you have registered your intent to marry, you have to register your marriage at the Civil Registry or Notary Office, and this must happen before the civil marriage ceremony in 30 days. You will be informed what documents to take along with you. 

Can a foreigner get married in Brazil?


Plan Your Ceremony

After you have finished with all the major paperwork and payments, you can now get into the real fun. Let’s give you a few tips on how to plan the ceremony. 

  1. Set a Budget: Choose your type of ceremony and determine your budget. Determining your budget will guide many of your decisions, from the venue to the number of guests and the style of the event. Make sure to account for any potential costs like the venue, attire, officiant fees, decorations, and any additional services you might want.
  2. Select a Venue: The venue sets the tone for your wedding. Popular options in Brazil include:

When choosing a venue, consider its location, capacity, availability, cost, and the logistics of getting married there (some venues have their own rules about catering, decoration, and music).


  1. Choose a Date and Time: When selecting your wedding date, consider factors like the weather, special dates for you and your partner, and the availability of your desired venue and key vendors. Saturdays are a popular choice for weddings, but a weekday wedding might offer more flexibility and cost savings.
  2. Hire Vendors: Depending on the complexity of your ceremony, you may need to hire various vendors, such as:
  • Wedding Planner: This is especially helpful if you're organising a destination wedding or need help with local customs and logistics.

  • An officiant: Ensure they are legally recognised to perform weddings in your city.

  • A Photographer/Videographer: Book early, as the best ones often have their schedules filled months in advance.

  • Hair and Makeup Artists: To ensure you look your best, consider hiring professionals who can provide hair and makeup services on your wedding day.

  • Music: Whether you want live music, a DJ, or a simple playlist, plan how music will be integrated into your ceremony.

  • A Florist: For bouquets, boutonnieres, and any venue decorations.

  • A Caterer: If your venue doesn’t provide food, you’ll need to hire a caterer.

  1. Plan the Ceremony Details: Decide if you want to write your vows or stick with the traditional ones. Select your wedding party, including bridesmaids, groomsmen, ring-bearers, and flower girls. Don’t forget to decide on how you want the ceremony to unfold, from start to finish.

  2. Have a Dress Rehearsal: A rehearsal is typically held the day before the wedding, especially for complex ceremonies or large wedding parties. This helps ensure everyone knows their roles and the event runs smoothly.
  3. Personalise Your Ceremony: Incorporate elements that reflect your personalities and relationships. This could include unique music choices, a special reading, or a ritual that has personal significance.


What Documents do I Need to Get Married in Brazil?

To get married in Brazil, you need the following documents:

  • An international passport.
  • Your Brazilian partner’s ID.
  • Birth certificate (for both of you).
  • Proof of residence (for both of you).
  • A certificate of singlehood certified by Itamaraty (Ministry of Foreign Affairs). 
  • Final divorce, dissolution and nullity decrees as well as death certificates in respect of all previous marriages and civil partnerships.
  • Your Brazilian partner’s taxpayer’s card.
  • Location of your Brazilian partner’s parents' birth.
  • A Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage (CNI).
  • Declaration of your civil status, issued by the Brazilian embassy or local consulate.

Are Foreign Marriages Recognized in Brazil?

Foreign marriages must be registered at the Brazilian Consulate in the country where it took place, and later at the Brazilian Civil Registry Office before they can be recognised in Brazil. 

Do you Need a Visa to Get Married in Brazil?

There is no specific visa for marriage in Brazil. You can get married in Brazil as long as you have a valid visa that allows you to stay in the country for some time.  

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