Marrying Abroad: Portugal Marriage Requirements 101

Created: Nov 26, 2020 | Updated: Dec 1, 2020

When most people think of Portugal as a travel destination, they think of the long sandy beaches of the Algarve, winding, narrow streets in atmospheric towns and villages and plenty of sunshine together with exquisite cuisine and wine. Together with an easy going attitude towards relationships in modern Portugal, what more could you want in a wedding destination?

This article outlines the requirements for UK citizens looking to get married in Mexico, the documents and procedures required, and guidance on how to obtain translations or legalisations if any are required.


Getting Married in Portugal

When most people think of Portugal as a travel destination, they think of the long sandy beaches of the Algarve, winding, narrow streets in atmospheric towns and villages and plenty of sunshine together with exquisite cuisine and wine. Together with an easy going attitude towards relationships in modern Portugal, what more could you want in a wedding destination?

Portugal is an easy country to travel to or from the U.K. and organising a wedding there that will be accepted when you return home is also quite easy with only the minimum of paperwork. Like any wedding destination outside of the U.K., however, it’s important to plan the wedding and any legal requirements well before you travel and not leave it too late. 

 

Civil Unions

You can have a ceremony for a civil union which is perfectly legal in Portugal since the law changed in June 2010. Civil unions performed in Portugal will be recognised in the U.K. 

 

Portugal Marriage Requirements for Same-Sex Couples 

If you were planning a same-sex marriage, this is certainly possible in Portugal. Portugal in fact has become one of the more liberal of E.U. countries for gay or LGBTI individuals, making a ceremony establishing a relationship a relaxed and enjoyable experience.

Note that if you are not Catholic and wish to be married in Portugal, whether of opposite or same sex, you need to have a civil ceremony first. Anglican or Presbyterian Church weddings are not recognised in Portugal, for instance.

Civil unions are normally performed by a registrar at a Portuguese Civil Registry Office, or Conservatória do Registo Civil. They can be performed elsewhere, but must be officiated by a recognised registrar or camara.

At least one or other partner must also be resident in Portugal for a minimum of 30 days before a wedding or civil union ceremony.

 

What documents do I need to get married in Portugal?

The two documents you will need to take to the registrar you have chosen in your Portuguese wedding or civil partnership destination will be:

  • a Certificate of No Impediment (CNI); and
  • a statutory declaration.

CNIs are issued to show that you are free to marry (e.g. you are not married to anyone else). You can get the CNI before you leave the U.K. and should have it translated into Italian. CNIs cost 35 pounds from your local registry office. You have to wait for 28 days while the intention to marry is posted at the registry office. You will then get the certificate as long as there have been no objections. 

The statutory declaration is a legal document which affirms that the information in the CNI you hold is true. If you get your CNI in the U.K. before you go to your wedding (the preferred option), you should get a statutory declaration by making an appointment with a solicitor who will sign and stamp your declaration.  

Both the CNI and the statutory declaration should be legalised before they are valid, as part of your Portugal marriage requirements. You can get them legalised by sending the documents to the UK Legalisation office who will confirm that the details are correct and provide an apostille, which is a separate certificate with a stamp and signature that is valid in Portugal and any country that recognises the Hague Convention. The apostille should also be translated into Portuguese by a certified translator. 

For all other documents needed to obtain the CNI and statutory declaration please check our general destination wedding document information here.

Your civil partnership or marriage will be recognized in the UK as long as:

  • you follow the correct process according to the law in Portugal;
  • it would be allowed under UK law.

 

Summary

  • Civil Partnership: Equivalent civil unions recognised;
  • Same-Sex Marriage: Legal;
  • There are no additional documents that you will need to marry in Portugal, unless your wedding is a religious ceremony in a catholic church;
  • It’s worth noting that your statutory declaration and Certificate of No Impediment (CNI) will both need to be legalised;
  • You will need to be resident for 30 days in Portugal before you can marry.

Click here for more information about getting married in Portugal.

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