DISCLAIMER: The information below relating to Portuguese legal requirements is provided for general information only and may not be totally accurate in a particular case. Questions involving current Portuguese requirements or interpretations of specific legal provisions or application to a specific case should be addressed to Portuguese government officials or to a Portuguese attorney. The Embassy is not in a position to intercede with Portuguese authorities on behalf of U.S citizens seeking exceptions from Portuguese marriage requirements.
Under U.S. law, U.S. diplomats and consular officers are NOT permitted to perform marriages. Also, marriages are not performed on the premises of a U.S. embassy or consulate. In general, legal and valid marriages contracted abroad are also valid in the United States. Should you have any questions about the validity of your marriage performed abroad, you should contact the Attorney General’s Office of the U.S. state where you are domiciled (either the state of last residence or the one which you consider home, where you vote and have a driver’s license).
LEGAL REQUIREMENTS TO MARRY IN PORTUGAL
Getting a marriage license
It usually takes a minimum of four weeks to process each application and once approval is granted, the marriage must occur within six months.
Whether it is a civil marriage or any type of religious marriage, you must request a license, which can be obtained from any Portuguese Civil Registrar Office across the country.
Spouses, their attorneys-in-fact holding a power of attorney to that effect, or the ministers of the religious communities that are fully accredited to perform marriages, may initiate the process
Spouses must indicate whether the marriage shall be performed under civil or other religious beliefs.
List of documentary requirements
- Birth Certificate: The original certified birth certificate is mandatory for both spouses. It must be issued within the past six months and translated into Portuguese. To obtain a birth certificate from your state please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w.htm.
- Passport and/or Resident permit (autorização de residência): You must show your passport and your resident card if you are a resident in Portugal. Please note that being a resident is not a requirement to marry. These two documents are not required when you are represented by an attorney-in-fact holding a power of attorney empowering him/her to request the marriage license on your behalf.
- Divorce Certificate: If you have been divorced you must present a certified copy of the final divorce papers, issued within the last six months and translated into Portuguese. Please access the following link for instructions on how to obtain vital records: Where to Write for Vital Records – Homepage
- Death Certificate: If you are widowed, you must present a certified copy of the death certificate of your previous spouse. It must be issued within the last six months and translated into Portuguese.
- Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage (Certificado de Capacidade Matrimonial): This document WILL NOT be issued by the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon because no such document or governmental authority exists to issue it. However, you can execute a statement of eligibility to marry at the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon before a consular officer and present it to the Civil Registry Office. Please follow the link to schedule an appointment under notarial services HERE
Cost of the Service: $50 or euro equivalent for each notarization. You must pay in cash (dollars or Euros) or credit card. Multibanco cards are not accepted.
How to certify the documents
The U.S. Embassy CANNOT certify state-issued documents. State issued documents are certified with the “Apostille Certificate” by the Competent Authority in the state where the document was issued. Please contact the Apostille Service of the Secretary of State from the state where the record was issued. To obtain certification with the “ Apostille Certificate” please visit: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/travel-legal-considerations/internl-judicial-asst/authentications-and-apostilles/office-of-authentications.html. Naturalized citizens should check with the embassy/consulate of their native country for guidance on authentication of birth certificates, as the Apostille is not available in certain countries.
Portuguese authorities may require a translation of your original birth certificate. For a list of translators please visit the Embassy website https://pt.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/additional-resources-of-u-s-citizens/translators/
Certificates of marriages performed in Portugal
After marriage, couples receive a marriage certificate issued by the Portuguese Civil Registry. This certificate is the official record of the marriage.