how to marry a peruvian


I married my wife, Pilar, in 2005 in Lima, Peru and to my surprise there was not a whole lot of information available on the web about how a US Citizen goes about getting married to a Peruvian citizen in Peru.  Still today, there seems to be a steady stream of people asking advice on where to start when getting married in Peru, so I’ve created this page…maybe it will help you. Feel free to leave any comments or questions below.


I have received many letters from very thankful people for this page since I put it up five years ago and some have asked what they can do to thank me for this information.  While this page is free to view (and always will be) please feel free to help offset some of the hosting costs for my website by donating any amount you wish:





First and foremost, this is a personal account of what my wife and I had to do in order to get married, so ymmv (your millage may vary).  In other words, your local government may be slightly different as may be the local government in the part of Peru in which you are getting married.  In our situation, I was living in the US while my wife was still in Peru (though this should still be useful for those living outside of the US), so this will be most helpful for couples where the person marrying the Peruvian is currently living in the US, UK or Canada.  If you are both living in Peru, this process will be much quicker and easier and a lot of this information may not apply.  I was fortunate enough to live within a half hour of the Peruvian consulate in Washington, DC and went there in person to complete all of this.  If it is not practical for you to travel to a consulate office, this will all have to be done by mail which will add a few weeks to your time line.   The whole process took us about three months in total.  Looking back, it was not as easy as it could have been, mainly due to lack of information available in 2005…but it could have been a lot worse, I suppose.

What to expect:

In Peru, you will have at least one wedding and probably two.  There is the “official” wedding which is done by a judge and there is the religious wedding which is done by a priest.  Some people choose to do both on the same day, sometimes within minutes of each other.  We did ours about eight months apart so that we could get a head start on the immigration process.  The legal wedding (civil ceremony) can be done in the courthouse or at the church.  If you do the civil ceremony at a courthouse before the wedding, your immediate family is usually present and you’ll need at least four witnesses to the wedding.  We had a small dinner at my wife’s house after the civil wedding with just our immediate family and close friends attending.  This page is only regarding the civil wedding and has no bearing whatsoever on the religious ceremony, which is completely unrelated to this.Note:  There have been a few reports since I created this page that certain couples have had to pay “extra fees” for this or that form.  To the best of my knowledge, what is written here is all you, me and and anyone else getting married to a Peruvian needs in order to do so.  However, this being Peru, you may encounter certain officials from time to time who will convince you that you need to pay an extra 50 or 100 Soles for another form that is “required” (i.e. – a form in order to be able to sign contracts while in Peru as a tourist).  While rare, in these cases, it is probably easiest to just pay what they are asking and be done with it.


What you’ll need:

To get married in Peru, you will need (at a minimum):
  • Affidavit of Single Status (Certificado de solteria) with official translation. You are probably asking yourself what this is and where you get it.  I didn’t know either and Googled it to death until I was told by Arlington county that there is no such official form and you need to make it yourself.   This affidavit is just a sworn statement saying that you are single and that any divorce in your past is final and that you are eligible to marry.   Feel free to use my home made affidavit: Microsoft Word version is here, or plain text here.  Do not pay a lawyer or any legal service one cent to do a Single Status Affidavit!  There is no “official” form and anyone who tries to sell you one or charge you to type one up is simply taking advantage of you and taking your money!!!  Use mine or any other one you find on the internet for free.  Note: if you are divorced, you will also need an official copy of your divorce papers to submit with your paperwork.  Also of note, no one ever checked that I was never married – they basically verified that I agreed that what I said on the affidavit was true, but they never actually looked into it to verify that it was true.
  • Original copy (not a photocopy) of your Birth Certificate, with official translation. You’ll need to contact the Office of Vital Records of the state in which you were born to order an official copy of your birth certificate.  Search Google for “[your state of birth] birth certificates” (i.e. “California birth certificates”) to find the website of your birth state’s vital records office.  I ordered two just in case something happened to the one I mailed to Peru.  These copies only cost me about $15 total, including postage, beware of private companies that charge much more for this same service.  Note: a photocopy of your birth certificate is not acceptable.
  • A notarized photocopy of your passport. Make a black and white photocopy of the biographical page of your passport, then take it and the passport to a notary, have them compare them and notarize that the photocopy contains the same information and is an unaltered copy. Again, I had two copies made and notarized, just in case.
  • The “Carta poder fuera de registro”. This is a form that the Peruvian consulate will give you.  It is a power of attorney form that you sign that gives your spouse-to-be the authority to do all the necessary paperwork in Peru on your behalf.
  • Your fiance’s information. Their name, address, date of birth, occupation and DNI number
  • Witnesses. You’ll need four people to witness your wedding.  These are usually friends and/or family, but can be anyone who witnessed the wedding.

How to do it:

  • To start, you’ll need to print and fill out the Affidavit of Single Status with your information.
  • Take this to your local county courthouse records department to have it notarized. I was told to do this at my courthouse because I thought that they would check their records to see if I was ever married, but they never did.
  • Get the notarized Affidavit notarized. For some reason, I had to go to a different floor of the courthouse and have another person notarize the fact that the person who notarized my Affidavit was legally able to notarize it and current on their license.  This was done by attaching a small piece of paper to my notarized Affidavit with its own stamp on it.
  • Legalize your documents at the consulate. The next step is to take your papers (affidavit and copy of passport) to the Peruvian consulate to have them put their stamps on it.  This process is called “legalization” and is basically a way of the consulate getting paid for their services.  You do not need an appointment, but waiting times can be quite long if you catch them on a busy day.  The cost of everything came to under $100.  Tip: Bring everything, even if you don’t think you’ll need it. I thought I brought everything I needed to the consulate and didn’t bring my passport which I didn’t think I’d need – I needed it.  At this point, you can pick up the Carta poder fuera de registro.  Also, you’ll probably make an appointment for an interview to be seen by someone who asks you about the marriage and your fiancee.
  • The interview. I went back to the consulate about a week later and leagalized the completed Carta poder fuera de registro.  I was also interviewed for about 15 minutes as they want to be sure that the marriage is legitimate.
  • Send the documents to Peru. Send the Carta poder fuera de registro, copy of your passport, copy of your birth certificate and the affidavit.  I used DHL and sent them overnight, which cost about $70, just to be safe.  I made copies (front and back) of everything that I sent and luckily they arrived intact the next afternoon!  Make sure you do not send these via regular mail and use a service that provides a tracking number.
  • Translate the documents from English to Spanish. The affidavit and the copy of your birth certificate will need to be translated by a certified translator. Luckily, the documents can be translated in Peru.  This is good as using a professional translator for even small, one page documents here in the US is not cheap and can cost several hundred dollars. Have this done in Peru, where it costs much less.  Here is a recomendation for a translator from an American in Lima who’s had to do this. Note: according to the translator, the documents will need to go the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Lima to have them stamped again befrore they can be translated.
  • Fill out some forms in Peru. The good news: your part is done (for now), and you can relax and practice making your pisco sours.  The bad news: the person you are marrying has many long lines at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Lima, local courthouses and cashiers offices to look forward to over the next few weeks while he/she sorts everything out in Peru.
  • Announce your marriage. A wedding announcement with both parties names must be made in a newspaper two weeks before the wedding (save this as the entire page of the newspaper with your announcement must be brought to the courthouse).
  • Travel to Peru. You’ll need to be in the city you plan on being married in at least three business days before your planned wedding date to take care of the paperwork.
  • Get a blood test. There is a mandatory HIV and blood type test for both parties, which can be done at any clinic a few days before the wedding.  Bring the results to the courthouse.
  • Fill out some more forms in Peru. A few days before the civil wedding, you’ll need to complete a few forms as a couple and get fingerprinted at the courthouse.
  • Get hitched! The day of the wedding should go smoothly if you’ve done everything correctly.  Our ceremony was about half an hour long and was very nicely done.  The judge was bilingual and the court even gave us a small present at the end!


Resources:

There are now several other helpful resources for you to use that have been published in the last few years. Here are a few:
Helpful websites

Living in Peru.com – The premiere Peruvian expat website, their forums are filled with knowledgeable people…like me! Also, be sure to join their free, weekly newsletter or their Facebook page.

The Ultimate Peru List – Great resource for foreigners preparing to move to, or living in, Peru.  The section on marriage can be found here.

Streets of Lima – Ben is an American who has lived in Lima, Peru and writes a daily blog about his experiences there.  Check out How to Get Married in Peru for an account of what he had to do to get married.  This will be helpful for those of you who are living in Peru currently.

Forums

Expat Peru – A great site for foreigners living in Peru which also offers free, basic legal advice on topics such as marriage here.

Immigrate2us.net –  A good resource for people who, like us, are unfortunate enough to also have legal/visa problems along with the wedding planning.

Visa Journey.com –  Another forum that deals with immigration issues, as well as issues such as international marriages. The Latin American forum can be found here.

Consulates

Peruvian consulates in the US –  The official site of Peruvian consulates spread throughout the United States, you’ll need to use the office that is assigned to your state.  The site is in Spanish, but there is a list of the consulates with phone numbers and addresses here.  Don’t be affraid to call, the person answering the phone will be able to speak English!

Peruvian consulate in England – Peruvian consulate in England, also in Spanish.

Peruvian consulates in Canada – Peruvian consulates in Canada, also in Spanish.

(A common misconception is that you go to embassies to do this type of stuff, when you’ll actually be dealing with your local Peruvian consulate.)

Embassies in Peru

United States Embassy, Lima – For people from the US wanting to marry in Peru.  Unfortunately, not a lot of useful information.

British Embassy, Lima – For people from the UK wanting to marry in Peru. Again, not a whole lot of info, but more than the US Embassy site.  Also if you’re a Briton, you’ll want to check out this post on Streets of Lima.

Canadian Embassy, Lima – For people from Canada wanting to marry in Peru.  Some good info there, eh?

last updated: Apr. 6, 2011

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23 Responses

  1. leonardo francia

    hey nice web 1st at all
    well my situation is this im a peruvian and my fiance is from england we wanna get marry but we are thinking where its gonna be easier and about the nationality cause we wanna live in england and coming back to peru without any problems she is being here before cause she doesnt need visa well can u give us some advise so cause we are really in love and we wanna marry cause we wanna be together and we can no have problems as i told about our documents about me so i cna travel to england without problems

    May 14, 2011 at 8:55 am

    • Alan

      Hi Leonardo,

      Thanks for the comments. Most couples find it easier to marry in Peru, then travel to where they will live for residency and immigration purposes. If you can both travel freely to both countries, then it really comes down to where it would be more convenient to have the wedding, in terms of your families traveling and costs.

      Alan

      June 1, 2011 at 6:38 am

  2. Amber Pariona

    Thank you so much for this information! I have a few questions that I’m hoping you could help me with. If not, I understand.

    We are planning a civil wedding in Peru from the US. We were married here but would like to have a ceremony in Lima with his family as well (we will also be moving there).

    I’m having an extremely hard time finding an outdoor, affordable venue for the civil ceremony and was wondering if you could help? Do you know of a nice place?

    I also noticed that the civil ceremony can be done in the church. Do you happen to know if that is possible for non-catholics (like myself)?

    And one final question. We will be in Lima only 2 wks before the planned wedding date, should we send some of my documents to his father to have translated and legalized?

    And if we completely miss our deadline but have an entire wedding/reception planned, would it be possible to hire somebody to conduct a ceremony (with the intent to go to the “courthouse” at a later date)? And if so, any suggestions?

    I’m so sorry for so many questions, I’ve just reached wit’s end with logistics and really need some advice from a fellow “foreigner” who has been through the process.

    Thanks again,
    Amber

    May 28, 2011 at 3:38 am

    • Alan

      Hi Amber,

      If you want to do just a small outdoor wedding, there is an area right outside of Lima that is very popular for this called Cieneguilla. Cieneguilla is just outside of Lima, and is known for its good climate, year-round blue skies many outdoor restaurants with facilities for groups. As for the civil wedding being done in the church, the only time I’ve seen that done is on the same day of the religious wedding, in a small room at the church. This is done as a matter of convenience so that the couple can do both weddings at the same time. I don’t think it’s possible to do a civil wedding in the main church, but you could look into it. It sounds like you’ve already been married legally in the US, so the civil wedding will be more for the benefit of his family in Peru. In this case, I’m not sure how much you will need the documents legalized because you wouldn’t need to do the wedding again from a legal standpoint. Unless there is a reason you need to do the legal wedding over again in Peru, it almost sounds like it might be easier to just find someone, like you said, to do the ceremony. We’ve even had friends get married overseas that just have one of their close friends get ordained online and do the ceremony!

      Please let me know if you have any further questions.

      Alan

      June 1, 2011 at 6:37 am

  3. Bill Moss

    Thanks,

    I really appreciate the information. My fiancee and I were at our wits end trying to figure all this out.

    Thank You Again,
    Bill

    July 6, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    • Alan

      Glad I could help!

      Alan

      July 6, 2011 at 1:23 pm

  4. umaphuyu

    I was going crazy trying to find out about the certificado de solteria. I am going to use your form and see if it works! thanks a lot!

    September 19, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    • Alan

      Glad I could help. It worked for me. Good luck!

      Alan

      September 19, 2011 at 4:40 pm

  5. Jose Vila

    My fiancee is from Peru and still there. I am from Puerto Rico but living in the USA. She already got all the information that we will need. we both speak Spanish. Your page is super. thanks. I will go to Lima but will not live there. I will be living in Nuevo Chimbote thatit is about 8 hours north by bus. I have some “friends” that I met in Twitter and I verified that they work for TV stations as reporters same as newspapers. their help have been great. Watching and reading news from Peru also have been good idea. We chat everyday since April, 2011 and my trip should be in June, 2012. She wants me to stay and work in Peru. Only wants to come to visit the USA with me and back home.

    September 25, 2011 at 11:00 pm

  6. Jose Vila

    I hope I can out soon about what kind of visa do I need to stay in Peru the rest of my live and how long do I have to wait to be able to work there. I have been in Colombia and those countries and where I was born, they looks alike. I was told to take the Toefl test to work there as a teacher, even I am a substitute teacher with only 3 years of college. salaries I know are not good but it will help. Also, does the consulate of Peru require any bank statement? I am planning to have a medical exam here and another in Peru, so no translation will be needed. My birth certificate is in both languages. Just need my divorce decree to be translated.

    September 25, 2011 at 11:11 pm

  7. Jose Vila

    One more thing, this is important and I was told by my girl that do not get a bank account there because they track your earnings. too many robberies and someone inside the banks tells their friend all about your account, address and they will follow you (because they hang around outside the bank) and will take your money, cell phone, credit cards. It is a nice and beautiful country but there is a 70% of unemployment there. Maybe not in Lima. Still I want to go, get marry and live there. Learn the money (sol) because there are many fake ones like here in the US. Enjoy, watch your back and be happy. (just like here).

    September 25, 2011 at 11:21 pm

  8. cristopherlee

    well i wante to say thanks a lot for all the information u ve been giving us , i will need of u in the future thanks a lots and co gratulations for ur wedding !!!

    December 13, 2011 at 1:04 am

  9. Larry Freeborn

    Hello Alan, Could You please give Me Your opinion, on My marrying My girlfriend in Peru, on My first visit there? We have written each other for 2 years, since February 19th, 2010, and are deeply in Love, and both adults. I am 51, and She is 48. We both have discussed this many times, and I am not making much money at the present time, ( I’m a self employeed artist ) and it will be difficult, for repeated trips back and forth, for Me.. I intend on coming to Her, there in Peru, in May, and both of Us marrying,in a civil ceremony, in Peru, and later, after She is here, marrying again, in a “second ceremony” in My church here. as We both wish this with all Our hearts. Can You please give Me any advice? Thank You,

    February 9, 2012 at 11:47 am

    • Alan

      Hi Larry,

      Not too much to add besides what is on this page. Of course after you marry her in Peru, if you want to be able to bring her here, you’ll need to go through the spousal visa process, which unfortunately isn’t very fun and usually takes about a year. If you could afford to, you could always try being an artist in Peru and living there while you wait!

      Good luck!

      Alan

      February 9, 2012 at 2:05 pm

  10. Dan

    Wondering if anyone knows if the certified copy (notorized and raised seal) of my birth certificate that is dated 1989 by a notory will be sufficient enough for Peru when I get married in Peru?? Thxs, Dan

    April 15, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    • Alan

      Hi Dan,

      As far as I know, a notarized document never expires.

      Alan

      April 16, 2012 at 12:39 am

  11. Jason Williamson

    Hey! Your blog so far is really helpful but I’ve got some questions. If I have the original copy of my birth certificate, do I still need to order another?
    Does the copy of the passport and the certificado de solteria need to be notarized at a court house or can any notary public do it? Can i get the documents translated at the peruvian consulate or do you suggest getting it done in Lima?

    April 29, 2012 at 6:51 pm

  12. HI i am from india right now in peru i want to know that is it possible for me to get married to my fiancee here in peru even if i am travelling on a tourist visaand i do have my original documents with me

    August 15, 2013 at 5:13 pm

  13. Nash

    Hi buddy. !st of all i would like to thank you a loads for this page of yours…it made lots of things easy for me…but still i have a doubt. is it necessary for a family member to be the witness of wedding in civil?? because my parents or friends wont be able to come to Peru due to financial problem.

    October 25, 2013 at 9:56 am

    • Alan

      Hi Nash….anyone can be a witness, it does not have to be a family member.

      Alan

      October 25, 2013 at 10:11 am

  14. Nash

    thats a great news..you don’t know how much happy i am today. thanks alot buddy :)

    October 26, 2013 at 4:44 am

  15. Nash

    umm i have another question what does “with official translation” mean?? does it mean i need to get the docs translated into spanish? where can i get it done?

    October 26, 2013 at 4:47 am

    • Alan

      Hi Nash,

      Official translation means that it must be done by a certified translator, you can’t do it yourself. You can have it done anywhere that offers translation services but it is probably cheaper to have it done in Peru.

      Alan

      October 28, 2013 at 7:23 am

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