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Fact Check: Legal Requirements to Get Married in Puerto Rico

In November 2020, the Puerto Rican government changed the legal requirements for destination wedding couples to be married in Puerto Rico. Two years later, we are sorry to say that almost all the information and guidance provided online about how to get married in Puerto Rico is wrong. THIS INCLUDES THE INFORMATION ON MANY OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT WEBSITES. Most companies know very little about marriage requirements in Puerto Rico and have no processes in place to help wedding couples, especially destination wedding couples.

We are the exception.

Our couples know to ignore anything and everything they might see or hear online or from well-meaning local friends about the marriage requirements for Puerto Rico. They know that we are the experts and that all they need to do is follow our detailed instructions and process for a beautiful, stress-free wedding experience.

But we still hear every day from couples who are (unsuccessfully) trying to figure it all out. Or couples who have booked with other companies and find themselves trying to make it legal the week before their wedding. Or even couples who are at a government office following the old rules, and are told that they no longer apply. 

 

 

“Contacting Puerto Rico Destination Weddings was the best thing that I did in my process. From A-Z every bit of the stress just went away. Honestly, the rest of the time until our Wedding I actually felt like all the weight was lifted. Ashley and her staff left me with absolutely nothing to do except enjoy everything about the experience. We absolutely couldn’t ever have thought it could be like this. Puerto Rico Destination Weddings is the ONLY contact you need to make.” -Joann & Jim

 

As background, before November 2020, there was a different set of marriage requirements for residents of Puerto Rico vs. destination wedding couples. The government changed the rules in November 2020 and now all couples must follow the same requirements, regardless of residency. Two years later, most websites, including the official government websites, have not been updated with the new requirements. Here is some of the incorrect information you will see, and here are the facts that you need to know:

-Destination wedding couples don’t need STD tests if their state or country doesn’t require it. FACT CHECK: as of November 2020, every couple getting legally married in Puerto Rico must have STD tests for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV dated within two weeks of their wedding. No exceptions.

-Destination wedding couples can waive the STD test required to be legally married in Puerto Rico if they bring a letter from their doctor saying that they meet the medical requirements in their home state or country. FACT CHECK: Again, as of November 2020, every couple getting legally married in Puerto Rico must have STD tests for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV dated within two weeks of their wedding. No exceptions.

-An affidavit or sworn statement or letter from a lawyer is required to be married in Puerto Rico. FACT CHECK: before November 2020, this was required for destination wedding couples. After November 2020 it is not needed.

-The fee to the government offices for destination wedding couples is $150. FACT CHECK: before November 2020, residents paid $30 and destination wedding couples paid $150. After November 2020, requirements are the same regardless of residency. The fee for ALL wedding couples is $30 (which is included in our “Let us take care of everything’ marriage certificate support).

-Couples must go to the Demographic Registrars’ office once in Puerto Rico to obtain their marriage license before their wedding. FACT CHECK: not since November 2020. All marriage licenses are issued online on www.renovacionesonline.com. Even if a couple goes to the government offices they will refer them online. Our couples never step foot in a government office when they’re in Puerto Rico.

-Couples must provide original versions of birth certificates and ID’s. FACT CHECK: before November 2020, this was true. Since then, no original versions of anything are needed as everything is submitted digitally.

-There is a Demographic Registrars’ office at Plaza Las Americas (the largest mall in the Caribbean). FACT CHECK: This might be our favorite incorrect info, as we too fell for this nine years ago when we were just starting out! The office closed in September 2013, but you wouldn’t know it from all the online references to it. (There is also no longer an office in the Ochoa Building in Old San Juan).

“To say that this experience was anything less than a dream would be an understatement. Once you get to the island you can relax, there are no buildings you need to go to, you don’t need to apply for your marriage certificate, they do it all for you. If you are contemplating using this company, just do it. You will not regret it. Every single thing went perfect and that is all thanks to Ashley and her team.” -Jade & Stephanie

 

It might sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be, especially if you work with us. The very first request we have of our booked couples is to stop researching and reading anything online. We provide checklists, updates with everything that they need to know, and any changes to the process, from the time they book their wedding with us to the time they have their official marriage certificate in hand after their wedding. 

Let us know how we, the experts, can help with the destination wedding or elopement of your dreams!! We’d love to be a part of your special day!

 

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