Tips for a civil wedding ceremony in Mexico City

My now wife and I celebrated a civil marriage in Mexico City the first days on November 2014, and although the experience was easy and painless most of the information we found online is outdated or incorrect (yes all the main wedding tips webpages and even the official mexican civil marriage page!) so hopefully you’ll find this useful and saves you time and money. Note that your experience may vary if you’re getting married outside Mexico City or the law changes since I wrote this! And please double check all the information here by contacting the Civil Registry Office (Registro Civil) in which your wedding will be celebrated.

I am from Mexico City and my wife is from England, I haven’t permanently lived in Mexico for the past 10 years but we spend a few weeks every year in Mexico so we decided to do our civil marriage here.

What you’ll need:

  • Birth certificates: Be aware that they keep the original documents! (In case of the non mexican person the birth certificate needs to be certified or apostilled, check with the registry office in your country of origin, get 2 certified copies if possible since they keep one) If the birth certificate is not in Spanish it will need to be translated by an official translator, my advice is to do this in Mexico, after a quick Google search we found a dozen or more, most of them deliver the translated document in 24 hrs and prices go from $400 to $800 mexican pesos, some even return the document by courier mail but we preferred to pick everything in person.

  • Official ID documents: The mexican partner can use the voting card or passport, the non mexican partner will use a valid passport.

  • Immigration form: You will get this stamped by the immigration officers when you enter Mexico as a tourist, if you live in Mexico you will need your FM3 or other immigration document stating that you legally entered Mexico.

  • Marriage license fee: This is close to $1000 pesos and you can even pay online (do a Google search in case the link doesn’t work anymore) The price varies if you get married in the Registry office or the Judge goest to a ceremony. Make sure you print the receipt and have it with you!

  • Marriage application form: You will get this form from the Registry office in which you’ll get married, do not use the version you can download from the official mexican civil marriage page since it’s outdated, however you can use that for reference. In this application form you will decide wether you will be married under join or separate property.

  • Utility bill or telephone bill: Basically any recent document that shows an address in Mexico, in my case I used my parents phone bill. If you don’t have any you will have to bring one from the country that you live in and has to be certified and translated (way too much hassle!) I really advice the parent’s (friend’s or anybody’s) utility bill option.

  • Photocopies of all the documents: Have some peace of mind and have copies of everything! For some things they will ask you for photocopies for some don’t, my advice do them all. If you forget to do this outside most registry offices in Mexico City you will find a place to photocopy.

  • You will need to attend a short talk: Apparently this is new, is given by the Judge that will marry you, this will happen on the Registry office usually a few days before the ceremony, ours was with other 15 couples that were getting married the same week as us. It was about raising awareness on equality, violence, sex, family, etc. It was around 30 minutes and my wife understood only a bit. You both have to attend and sign an attendance list.

  • If any of the partners is divorced or widowed you need the original documents legalized/apostilled and translated in to spanish, this was not our case so my advice again is to double check things since every state has it’s laws and in some you have to wait a year after the divorce to get married again.

What you don’t need:

  • Blood tests: Almost every website out there mentions blood tests or some kind of medical tests. In Mexico City this is not necessary at all.

  • Permit from Mexico’s Interior Ministry (Secretaria de Gobernacion): This was a permit that had to be requested before going to Mexico to get married but you don’t need this anymore.

  • A non impediment certificate for marriage: Or an official document that proves that one/both of the partners is not currently married. I was told I needed this over the phone by a secretary in the registry office and then told it was not necessary.

  • Witnesses to sign the marriage certificate durning the ceremony: It’s nice to have family and friends but legally you don’t need anybody else but the 2 people getting married and the judge.

  • Notarized documents by a mexican consulate in your country of origin: As long as your documents are legalized/apostilled by your own country and translated to spanish those are valid.

  • Bribes or payoffs: Trust me in all countries you can have things your way if you bribe officials or people to make things “easier or faster”, this is not necessary if you do things the proper way from the start, do what you have to do with enough time and prepare things, at the end of the day if you don’t care enough to make things right for your wedding just hire a wedding planner and pay a professional to organize everything for you.

Documents ready

So you are in Mexico City with your documents ready, go to the registry office and fill a form provided there, make sure you have all your documents (I forgot a few things and had to return the next day oops!) depending on the time of the year the registry office may be really busy with other weddings so call in advance. They will check that all your documents are in order and there you will decide wether you’ll be married under join or separate property so discuss this with your partner beforehand. Once all your documents are checked they will keep some of the documents and they will give you a date for the talk with the judge and a date and time for your ceremony. Ours was smooth, we went on a Thursday and our talk with the judge was the following Monday and the wedding was on that Wednesday.

The wedding day (Our experience)

Originally we were told to go at noon so we got there 15 minutes before, other weddings were being celebrated before so they had a delay and we didn’t go inside the office until 1:20 pm! So patience is a good thing to have that day. A secretary checked the documents again and asked a few basic questions, make sure you bring the same ID documents you used before (passport and/or mexican voting card). After a few minutes they called us again so we went in to the Judge’s office, the Judge started the marriage ceremony and after a few minutes of legal reading he asked us if we were getting married by our own will, then we signed and stamped thumb prints into a temporary marriage certificate. He asked us to say a few words to each other so be prepared and that was it! The hole thing lasted around 15 minutes, after you can take some photos and bam! You’re married.

As I’ve mentioned before all this information applies just for Mexico City, if you’re getting married somewhere else ask in that Registry office.

Happy wedding!


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