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Getting married in Panama

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Procedures related to marriage in Panama are not very complicated. You can get married even if you are not a resident of the country.

Panama ranks among the top destinations for expatriates wishing to marry abroad. If you want to also make of your wedding a memorable moment, Panama can offer what you are looking for. However, expatriates have to fill in certain formalities although Panamanian citizenship or permanent residency are not mandatory requirements. Note that you must be at least 18 years old to be allowed to get married in Panama.

 Good to know:

Different types of weddings are celebrated in Panama: civil, religious or court marriages. However, gay marriage is not legally authorized.

Proceedings

The request for civil marriage must be made at the marriage court, known as the 'Juzgado in Turno Matrimonios' at least three days before the scheduled date of marriage. Documents to be produced are:

  • a health certificate for each spouse issued by a recognized public or private physician within 15 days before the marriage
  • your birth certificate issued in your home country and authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Panama
  • your children's birth certificates if you have any
  • a certificate of celibacy issued in your home country during the two years preceding the scheduled date of marriage (check with your home country's authorities before proceeding)
  • a divorce or death certificate in case of a previous marriage
  • a Panamanian identity card (if you are a resident) or your passport and visa
  • a statement signed by both parties by being stating their wish to marry and mentioning their personal details such as their name, age, nationality, occupations, address, etc.

You will also need two witnesses who are more than 18 years and with whom you have no family ties. If they are expatriates, they will also have to produce their passport and visa attesting of their legality in the country.

 Good to know:

By marrying a Panamanian citizen, you will not only obtain permanent residence but you will also have the right to apply for a work permit. However, you are required to register your marriage in Panama. Moreover, cohabitation relationships may be pronounced as a "de facto wedding" provided you produce evidence as to the relationship's authenticity.

Celebrating your wedding

Once all these procedures have been completed, you have to celebrate your civil wedding at the court of marriage in the presence of your witnesses. The judge will issue a marriage certificate after your wedding is solemnized. Note that you can choose the date and time of the wedding.

Thereafter, you can plan your religious marriage, if you wish, on your own or by hiring a wedding planner.

 Useful links:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Panama www.mire.gob.pa
Judicial Service of Panama www.organojudicial.gob.pa

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See also

You will not need a visa if you are planning to stay in Panama for a maximum of 90 days. You are required to produce justifications for extensions.
Pensionado visas will cost between $1000-1500 per person. Because of the cost, you may find that this visa is not worth it.
If you are moving to Panama with less than 6 years old children, you can register them in a child care center or pre-primary school.

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