Marriage in Venezuela
Marriage in Venezuela must comply with the laws set forth in the Civil Code Código Civil (PDF 1.22 MB) of Venezuela. Even though the marriage requirements in the country of citizenship of the parties may differ from the Venezuelan Civil Code, no marriage can be conducted in Venezuelan territory unless it complies with the laws of Venezuela.
The Civil Code states that a civil marriage can only be contracted between a woman and a man, and it must be performed in the municipality where either the man or the woman resides.
Once the civil marriage ceremony is performed, the couple may have a religious marriage ceremony. The religious ceremony may not be performed until the minister or priest has received the marriage certificate issued by the Venezuelan government.
According to Venezuelan law, the following requirements must be met before a marriage can be contracted:
- In order to be legally married, females must be at least fourteen (14) years of age, and males must be at least sixteen (16) years of age.
- Parties under 18 years of age cannot contract a marriage without the written consent of their parents.
- Both parties must enter the marriage voluntarily and of their own free will.
- Both parties must be legally free to marry. If either party’s prior marriage, religious or civil, has not been legally terminated (i.e. death or divorce) they cannot be married.
- Marriage between immediate relatives, or ancestors and descendants is not permitted or valid (exceptions must be approved by a judge).
The civil official in the municipality where the marriage will be performed is required to create a file a minimum of eight days prior to the marriage with the following documents:
- Marriage License prepared by the official.
- An affidavit (fijación de carteles) prepared by the official, where the couple express their desire to marry.
- A certified copy of the birth certificates of the future spouses, which should not be issued more than six months before the date in which the marriage will be conducted.
- Documents confirming the legal termination of any prior marriages, by either death or divorce, if applicable.
A U.S. citizen can only be married in Venezuela before the appropriate Venezuelan government official and by complying with all of the formalities set forth by Venezuelan law.
In addition to all other requirements, American citizens desiring to marry in Venezuela must also present the following:
- Certified Copy of their birth certificate with an apostille from the U.S. State of issuance.
- A Notarized Affidavit stating Proof of Marital Status (Carta de Soltería), translated into Spanish by an official Interpreter. This Affidavit must contain the U.S. citizen’s full name, date of birth, place of birth, identification number, and state that they are not married, or no longer married, i.e. divorce or death.
- Current Passport and Venezuelan Visa (if applicable) as well as a copy of the biographical page of the passport and of the current visa.
- Venezuelan identification card (original and copy) if applicable
- Two to four witnesses, depending on the local requirements where the ceremony takes place.
Since the legal requirements vary amongst the municipalities, it is recommended that all interested persons consult the Juzgado or Concejo Municipal of the municipality in which they plan to marry prior to setting the date of the marriage. Each municipality has discretionary power to require other kinds of documents proving a U.S. citizen is free to marry.