How to Get married in Portugal
John and I have been together for years, but in 2018 we decided to finally tie the knot. There were a number of reasons (other than loving each other of course).
But we had family visiting in November so we thought that would be the ideal time.
So with months to plan and prepare what could go wrong?
Well it turns out a number of things!
We wanted to get married in Portugal, I knew we wouldn’t really be able to understand the ceremony, but it is where we live and where we are happy.
We had considered the UK, but it would be difficult to organise that and even though I write my life on the internet for the world to see, I don’t really like being the centre of attention so a big ‘do’ terrified me.
We spoke to our advogada (Portuguese lawyer) who explained that it would be simple as we were residents in Portugal and she set the date with the official registry office.
All we had to do was take our documents in and wait, simples………..
What is required?
Here is a list of the documents required (this is for people from the UK, it may be different for other nationalities)
- NIF (Numero de Indentificacao Fiscal) This is the tax number that you acquire when you first move to Portugal
- Residencia – this is the certificate that you apply for once you become a permanent resident in Portugal, usually a 5-year temporary one followed by a 10-year permanent certificate
- Proof of address
- Birth certificate
- And a certificate of no impediment – this is from your home country to prove that you are legally able to marry.
So no problem we have all of these except the certificate of no impediment. We assume we can get one of these on line, after all neither of us have ever been married before so should be really simple.
I telephone the registry office in the UK and get informed that we have to get this certificate in person from the UK and register our intent to get married. But that isn’t it, we actually have to be in the UK for a minimum of 8 days!
To obtain the certificate of no impediment, you have to make an appointment to see the registrar and take with you:
- Proof that you have been in the UK for a minimum of 8 days
- Proof of where you have been staying, we stayed with my parents so had a letter off them and a copy of their ID and proof that they lived at that address. (this sounds easier than it is is, as almost every thing is on line, people do not have paper copies of council tax bills, but we managed to get one)
- At the appointment you fill in a form and then are taken separately to be interviewed and asked questions about each other, this I am dreading as John is useless with birthdays, and any other date you can think of! But he passes and we are all set
- Next we have to wait 28 days for anybody to register a reason why we can’t get married.
- This certificate lasts for 6 months and you have to state where you intend to get married, if you want to change the town you will need a new certificate
So we return to Portugal and await this magic document.
It arrives no problem and we take it to the advogada and she looks at it and says it is not correct. There is no apostile stamp on it.
We ring the registry office in the UK again and explain this, she agrees and tells us that it needs to be sent to another department in the UK for this stamp at an extra cost (why they didn’t say this when we were in the UK I don’t know!)
But I am going over to visit family, it is not a major issue. I post it (make sure you use registered delivery) and receive the apostile before I head back to Portugal
We go back to the advogada, who arranges translation of the documents and gets our file ready for us.
Every thing is in place and we head over to the registo in Tomar with our dossier, we have everything, or so we thought.
As the registrar goes through our dossier, there is a problem with our birth certificates, they are out of date! (we think how can it be out of date? Nothing has changed, we were still born on those dates with the same parents) we now get lost in translation and telephone the advogada who speaks to the registrar.
The birth certificates have to be within 6 months and apostiled!
Our wedding date is fast approaching and there is a good chance we will not get these in time, we can order them on line, but they have to be delivered and then posted to the department that deals with apostiles and then get officially translated)
We are so upset when we speak to the advogada as family will be here, though we have not let them all know what we are doing, we wanted it to be a surprise.
But our advogada, tells us not to worry, what ever happens we will get married on the day, she will perform the ceremony at our house and then when we have the paper work we can go to the registo for the official signing.
So this is it, we are getting married and we could not have asked for anything better. The advogada has written a beautiful ceremony and we have our vows.
I had never believed people when they said it before, but it really was one of the best days of our lives and we got to celebrate it with family in our home (including the different devices with skype running for those who could not be here) followed by lunch at the restaurant in the village.
We have a date set in early 2019 for the official signing, but this day will be our wedding day.
Top tips for getting married
- Have a birth certificate that is apostiled, translated and less than 6 months’ old
- Have your certificate of no impediment apostiled, translated and less than 6 months’ old
- Plan in advance to allow time to get these documents
- Have your NIF, Residencia, passport and proof of address ready
- Use a fantastic Advogada (it really does make life so much easier)
- There are wedding companies that will do everything for you, but these do come at a cost)
- Enjoy your day
If you would like to get married in Portugal, and wonder which area, take a look at Portugalholidays4u.com you could choose your own vineyard, luxury villa or a romantic little cottage.