Foreign Gay Marriage in the Amazon

First and foremost I would like to thank every person and everybody who helped me swim through the extremely bureaucratic process of marrying a Brazilian in Brazil. As an American it is an extremely painful process and very time consuming. However I can say, at least for the Amazonas everyone is treated equal and harassed equally.

Basic requirements for Brazilian citizens:

- 2 Witnesses (male) >18 years residing in Brazil with a CPF, current/non-expired ID card, and proof of address
- Your fiances birth certificate (it has to be new) (Cartorio 4 -same day within minutes)
- You fiances proof or residency, citizenship and address (ID/CPF/Military Service Card ect.)

Basic requirements for foreign citizens:

- Legalized birth certificate (must be preformed at the consulate serving your region in YOUR COUNTRY BEFORE LEAVING)
- Declaration/Certification of no marriage/obligation to another spouse (performed at the US Consulate in Manaus)
- Visa (if a US Citizen) which is stamped and endorsed properly. Trust me make sure they write the days/type/officer # in your passport. And make sure you have your landing/departing card with you. Without it you will need a visit to the Federal Police.
- Sworn translations of both your birth certificate and passport biographical data page. Keep these you will need them in the future. Do not allow Cartorio 8 to take the originals. They will make copies.
-Acknowledgment of your sworn translations and registration of the translation with Cartorio 1 and 2
- CPF, while not required - for same sex marriage they require an affidavit sworn before the Cartorio of how long you have been together. (Cartorio 5) without a CPF you can not have this done. It is very easy though to get a CPF.

In the end plan on 3-4 days of non-stop bureaucratic b/s. Prepare to spend $700USD even when you planned on $200USD.

It is worth it though. If you love someone you will do anything to make it happen.

Hi mattvillemure,

Welcome to! :)

Thank you very much for sharing this experience with us.

Best wishes,
Christine team

Hi Matt,

On behalf of the entire Expat-blog Team welcome on board.

Thankyou for your very useful information on the same-sex civil marriage process in Amazonas. It will help many I'm sure.

A couple of things that I'd like to point out so you don't get taken by surprise in the future or other members get the idea it's the same everywhere in Brazil or written in stone.

1.  Since the same-sex civil marriage is a new law it is subject to great changes in the way it is implemented. In a regular civil marriage no matter what state it is in the Cartório will retain your original birth certificate and the original of the notarized translation, so that may soon be the case with the same-sex marriages to.

2. In a civil marriage a foreigner must first apply at the Cartório for permission to marry, the wedding banns are published in the Diário Oficial de União (DOU), which is the Federal Government Official Gazette for thirty days, then permission is published in the DOU. Only then can the marriage take place. The whole process can take up to 3 months. So, if this is not exactly the same process for a same-sex civil marriage it certainly will soon be, the Cartórios will have to comply with the same legislations and procedures for both.

3.  I was unaware that there was any requirement that the witnesses be male. Are you sure about that? Seems rather strange and would they need to be female if the marriage were taking place between a female same-sex couple?

4.  Also just to make it clear for other members, the issue of the Brazilian partner's Birth Certificate is done by the Cartório that their birth is registered in, so for anyone registered in any other city or state they will not be able to get it as quickly as you stated. In most cases you can contact the Cartório by telephone if you're in another city or state, arrange for the Certificate to be mailed to you and form of payment.

4. The process and documents required ARE NOT the same for all states, not even for regular marriages too, so you must always check with the Cartório where you are going to marry to get the exact information that applies to you.

Congratulations on you marriage, if you thought that was a lot of bureaucratic BS, wait to see what the Permanent Visa process with the Federal Police, Ministério da Justiça and all the others involved doing the same job, stepping on eachothers toes is like. You're going to need a real dose of patience when you start dealing with them! You'll soon get the picture very clearly, they haven't a clue, also re-inventing the wheel everytime they have to do something is on thing they really seem to enjoy!  Cheers,
  William James Woodward – Brazil Animator, Expat-blog Team

Here is my reply. My message is specific to Manaus/AM. I am so happy I have not had to learn the painful process of other states as well :)

1) The cartorio retained only my original birth certificate - NOT the translation. I am glad I got my original back because I have needed it for other things. I guess I am lucky.

2) The banns have already been posted the Monday following application (Friday). Odd seeing my name and parents name in the newspaper. :) I already have a wedding date and time. In the Amazonas they state 30 days unless there is an objection.

3) As you have stated before, they make the rules up as they go. This is what they told us on attempt #1. I found it sexist myself to require a two males. The irony of the situation was one of the witnesses was a he-she.

4) My fiance was born in the Amazonas therefor his birth certificate was issued rapidly. The fastest part of the entire process (shock). I was truthfully speechless when we left. It took longer at the bank to pay R$5 for my CPF (2 hours)  I can't speek to other states.

5) There is only 1 cartorio in Manaus that performs marriages to my knowledge. My post relates specifically to cartorio 8. And even then, these places make up the rules as they go.

And yes, it was extremely bureaucratic. However I am prepared to deal with more if need be. And I can hardly wait to see what is coming around the corner :) BUT if you truly love someone you will do what is necessary no matter how agonizing it is.


Hi agan Matt,

Well all I can say is that if you're not bald now just wait until the Federal Police get done with you, certainly they'll have you pulling out your hair before too long. They didn't invent bureaucracy, but they have refined it into a science. I can't imagine how much worse it would be if it were them who actually made any decisions about immigration. Thank God they don't because they're horrible at just gathering, recording and computerizing the information.

Strange the requirement for two male witnesses, kind of bet they also require two female witnesses for a same-sex marriage for women then. Really discriminatory since anybody can witness for a heterosexual marriage, but what the heck it is Brazil after all.

You're indeed fortunate they didn't hang onto the translation of your Birth Certificate, they cost a small fortune and you may need it for the permanency process should the Feds ask for it.

Regarding the speed of issuing your partner's Birth Certificate, yep not at all surprising since it's all done in the Cartório. At least some people in this country know what they're doing!

One word of warning when you enter into the permanency process, the Federal Police won't tell you, but there are two different kinds of notarizing your signature on documents in Brazil. Reconhecimento da firma por semelhança (for likeness) so somebody says "yes it looks like the signature we have on file"; there is also Reconhecimento da firma por autenticidade (for authenticity) this one you have to show up at the Cartório personally, with ID and sign the document in front of the clerk, so he can essentially say, "yep, this is the signature of the real live person standing in front of me". It's the latter that the Federal Police require on any documents that require notarized signature. You guessed it, this is the more expensive of the two also.

Where in Manaus do you live? I lived there for about 5 months when I first arrived in Brazil in January 2002, in bairro Japiim. I really enjoyed my time there, except for the heat. I left Canada in the dead of winter, minus 10 degrees C., skin whiter than the snow I was leaving behind me in Canada, arrived in Manaus to plus 40 degrees and was redder than a lobster by the end of my first full day there. Even after more than eleven years here I still can't forget just how much the sunburn stung!

How long have you been in Manaus? Been out on the boat trip to see the "Encontra das Águas" where Rio Negro and Rio Solimões join up? It's a real spectacular phenomenon, the turbid and denser waters of Rio Solimões doesn't mix with the clearer, darker waters of Rio Negro.

Don't forget you're not alone here OK. Adjusting to living permanently in a new country is never easy. If you need any advice, suggestions, tips, whatever you've got lots people here with experience to tap into for information. Just ask away. Send me a PM anytime you need to, I'm always around and there's no need to try to re-invent the wheel every time you need to do something you're not familiar with.

On behalf of the entire Expat-blog Team, welcome on board and Congrats on your upcoming wedding.  Cheers,
  William James Woodward – Brazil Animator, Expat-blog Team

Hi William,

I have not moved yet but have been visiting Brazil quite frequently during this process.  I move permanently on August 7. I won't be in Manaus very long as work in my profession is hard to come by. We are looking at Brasilia, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

As far my signature - are you referring to the index card you have to sign three times to prove you are who you say you are?

When I do move to Manaus it will only be for 3 months and I don't know what part yet. Still looking for someone that will rent month-by-month without robbing me because I am American.


Matt Villemure

Hi Matt,

Yes, that index card at the Cartório you sign (abertura de firma) must be done at EVERY Cartório you intend to use, so if you move or plan to use several different Cartórios in the same city you will have to open a file in each one of them. You can only get your signature notarized in a Cartório where you have it on file so if you're temporarily in a different location and for some reason need a notarized signature for some reason you're going to have to open a file there too before they'll notarize your signature. You should also ask at the Cartório exactly how long that is valid for, you will have to return and renew that file from-time-to-time in order to keep it active and continue to notarize signatures at that Cartório.

Also, good luck with the job hunting!  Cheers,
  William James Woodward – Brazil Animator, Expat-blog Team

Tudo bem.. I am not surprised! :)

And if you think Brazil is painful, imagine Colombia which is 100x worse.

I sent you a PM btw.

Yeppers, we're sure not in  Kansas anymore Toto!!!  Cheers,
  William James Woodward – Brazil Animator, Expat-blog Team

I want to help you I'm Moroccan I want to marry a German before I come with him to Brazil I want to know all the documents and costs and time and there is an agency to help us please help

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