How to get Married in the Dominican Republic

At the request of some members I am opening this thread.


Types of Marriages

Marriages in the Dominican Republic fall generally into one of two categories:

“Civil” marriages are those in which the parties themselves register the marriage with the Dominican government. The person officiating at the wedding ceremony is a government official, usually a Notary Public. It is the couple’s choice whether or not to hold a separate religious ceremony.

“Canonical” marriages are those performed by a Roman Catholic priest. Following the ceremony, the church takes responsibility for registering the marriage with the appropriate Dominican government offices.

Marriages in religious denominations other than Roman Catholicism are fully legal and permitted. However, only the Roman Catholic Church has the ability to register marriages on the couple’s behalf. In the case of wedding ceremonies in other denominations, both members of the couple must present themselves to the governmental registrar’s office to legalize the marriage. Details on this procedure follow below in the section under “Civil Marriages”.

Civil Marriages

Marriage in the Dominican Republic is a civil contract between a man and a woman who have freely agreed to marry and have the capacity to do so. In order to get married in the Dominican Republic, a man and woman must meet the following conditions:

The parties must express their free will to marry;
Men between 16 and 18 years old, or women between 15 and 18 years old may get married without the consent of their parents. Any required consent must be in writing and notarized, unless the person required to give this consent does so while attending the wedding ceremony; and
A man younger than 16 and a woman younger than 15 may not get married, even with their parents’ consent, although a judge may grant an exception for significant reasons.
No person may be married before a prior marriage is dissolved. A divorced woman cannot get married until 10 months after her divorce has become final, unless her intended husband is the same person she has divorced.
The government official performing the civil ceremony has the authority, at the time of the ceremony, to waive any of the above requirements. Such a waiver must be made in writing and outline the basis of the waiver.

The official performing the ceremony does so in the presence of the parties and witnesses. During the ceremony, the official asks the parties and witnesses whether either of the parties has been married previously, to each other or to other people. The party who has been married previously must supply the date of that marriage and the name of the person who officiated.

The Marriage Certificate includes the complete names of the spouses, the evidence of their written consent, a declaration they have been united in matrimony and the date of the celebration and the signatures of the Officer, the spouses and the witnesses. After the celebration the marriage is registered in the appropriate civil registries.

Civil marriage is dissolved by the death of one of the spouses or by divorce.

Canonical Marriages

A Canonical marriage performed by a Roman Catholic priest has the same legal effect as a civil marriage.

As was stated in the introductory section above, however, there is a procedural difference, insofar as the priest in a Canonical marriage is responsible for transmitting the registration documents to the appropriate Dominican government office(s). Even if a civil ceremony has taken place prior to the Canonical ceremony, the officiating priest must still send a copy of the marriage certificate to the government registry.

Matrimonial Property Laws

Dominican law presumes that the parties in a marriage enjoy Community Property rights. However, if the parties choose to enter into a different type of agreement, this is permitted. Dominican law outlines a number of systems from which the parties may choose. The spouses may also amend any one of these systems or create one of their own, provided that the final agreement is in keeping with Dominican legal principles. When the parties opt for a system other than Community Property (such as Separate Property, outlined beginning on page 4 below), they must put this in writing and have it approved by a Dominican government official.

Community Property Systems

1. Legal Community: This is the most common community property system in effect in the Dominican Republic. The following three features are present and essential:

The existence of three types of properties -- common property, property owned by the wife, and property owned by the husband. Under legal community systems, all movable property and its earnings, as well as real estate property acquired during the marriage, are common property.
The power of the husband over the administration/management of the estate, which cannot be ignored or restrained through any clause or matrimonial agreement; and
The existence of guarantees for the woman against bad management of the property by the husband. These guarantees may include, among others, judicial division of the property and/or liens against any real estate owned by the husband.
With regard to point (1) above, it is worth noting that “common property” is further sub-divided into “ordinary property” and “reserved property.” Ordinary property enters the marriage having belonged to one spouse or the other but, based on the marriage, becomes the property of both parties. Reserved property, on the other hand, is property that resulted from the personal work of the woman or from savings that arose from such work. Following the marriage, reserved property generally continues to be administered/managed by the woman, but legally it is the common property of both parties.

2. Reduced to the Earnings: Under this system, the composition of the common property varies, based on the respective debts (both present and future) of the spouses. Additionally, the value of their respective movable property (both present and future) is excluded from the common property.

3. Universal Community: All properties, present and future, are common property. The spouses equally agree under this system that only their present or future property will be common property.

Note: It is possible for the spouses to reject any of the community property systems described above and instead choose their own system. However, it is important to note that doing this will not automatically grant the wife rights to administer her property or to receive its earnings. Property the wife brought into the marriage is considered as awarded to the husband for the purpose of meeting the expenses of the marriage. The spouses may, however, include in their property agreement a clause authorizing the wife to receive a part of her annual earnings for her personal living expenses and needs.

Separate Property Systems

Separate Property systems do not provide for common property, but rather for property owned by each one of the spouses and over which each one has administration/management, disposition and enjoyment rights. Nonetheless, the wife does not have the right to dispose of her properties without the consentof the husband or a judicial authorization.

This system requires the spouses to contribute to the maintenance of their home. Furthermore, movable goods individually owned by each of the spouses are intertwined in reality and must be liquidated in the event the marriage is dissolved.

A wife's property can be subjected to claims of creditors for her debts arising before and during her marriage, as well as debts related to the maintenance of a marital home incurred by either spouse, or in case of the insolvency of her husband.

The husband, for his part, is responsible for his debts arising before or during the marriage and for the debts contracted by the wife when acting as representative of the marriage.

One variation of the separation of property system is the dowry system. The dowry system is a system of separation in which the woman, instead of contributing some or all of her income to the couple's obligations, hands over some or all of her property to her husband, who has the administration and legal enjoyment of it. The wife possesses, in addition to the dowry property, property that is not affected by the home-related obligations, also called "paraphernalia." This type of property is enjoyed by the wife but cannot be disposed of without the consent of the husband or judicial authorization.

SECOND here is the information for AMERICAN CITIZENS - taken from the US Embassy website: :D

Legal Options For Marriage in the Dominican Republic

The following information is for the guidance ONLY of civilian U.S. citizens contemplating marriage in the Dominican Republic. U.S. Diplomatic and Consular Officers DO NOT have the legal authority to perform marriages. Marriages CANNOT be performed within the Embassy or within a U.S. Consular Office in the Dominican Republic.

General Requirements for Foreigners to Marry in the Dominican Republic

In order to get married in the Dominican Republic, a man and a woman must be of a certain minimum age (16 for men, 15 for women), be legally eligible to marry, and be entering into the marriage contract of their own free will. Failure to comply with any of these basic criteria could mean that Dominican authorities will decline to register the marriage as legal.

Additionally, foreigners who wish to get married in the Dominican Republic must comply with the following requirements and present the following documentation:

The original passport and copies of the passport bio-page;
Copies of last entries stamps;
Proof of Dominican residence (if not a resident of the Dominican Republic, an additional fee applies and tourist card must be presented);
Sworn declaration before a notary public, of being single and eligible to marry; the sworn declaration then needs to be legalized at the Offices of Procuraduría General de La República. If the Sworn declaration is done before a U.S. notary, it then needs to be legalized at the closest Dominican Consulate in the U.S. (In the past, the U.S. Embassy allowed U.S. citizens to swear such an affidavit of eligibility to marry before a U.S. consular officer. The Embassy discontinued this practice several years ago, however, because local officials were interpreting these documents as meaning that the Embassy had actually verified the content of the citizens’ statements, when in fact the consular officer was merely attesting to the fact that the individual in question had made the statement. U.S. citizens needing to comply with this requirement should instead present themselves to a Dominican notary –as specified above-.)
Copy of foreign birth certificate and a legal translation of the certificate; central authorities in both the United States and the Dominican Republic now authenticate their own public documents, such as birth, death or marriage certificates, with a certificate of apostille (name of the authentication stamp). You can get your document apostille at the office of Vital Records in your state.
If divorced, copy of the divorce certificate and legal translation of the certificate;
2 witnesses (not family).
Additionally, Dominican law requires that notice of the intended marriage must be published prior to the ceremony.


Celebration of marriages at the Civil Registry Office “Oficialia Civil”:

Both the bride and groom are foreigners not residents of the Dominican Republic - RD $20,000.00
One is a foreigner not resident of the Dominican Republic - RD $10,000.00
Both the bride and groom are foreigners residents of the Dominican Republic - RD $3,000.00
Celebration of marriages outside the Civil Registry Office (if the Civil Registry Officer goes somewhere else than the “Oficialia Civil” to celebrate the marriage):

Both the bride and groom are foreigners not residents of the Dominican Republic - RD $20,000.00
One is a foreigner not resident of the Dominican Republic - RD $15,000.00
Both the bride and groom are foreigners residents of the Dominican Republic - RD $10,000.00
**For updated information on the fees, visit the Junta Central Electoral´s oficial fee webpage (information available only in Spanish)

For the UK:  :D


The following documents must be legalised:

1) Complete Original Full Birth Certificate or an Official Extract including parents´ names ; and
2) According to his/her situation:
a) If never married: A Statutory Declaration, stamped by a Notary or     Solicitor, declaring single marital status and eligibility to marry.
b) If divorced: Decree Absolute and a Statutory Declaration, stamped by a     Notary or Solicitor, declaring marital status and eligibility to marry.
c) If widowed: Spouse’s Death Certificate, previous Marriage Certificate and     a Statutory Declaration, stamped by a Notary or Solicitor, declaring     marital status and eligibility to marry.
3) If a name has been changed by Deed Poll or if the person has been    adopted, proof of this must be presented.
4) If the person is under 18 years old, parental consent is required in the     form of an Affidavit stamped by a Notary or Solicitor.

•    Statutory Declarations are to be declared per person (i.e. joint declarations   are not accepted) and must include passport numbers, address and line of   employment. A model Statutory Declaration can be downloaded from here.
•    Statutory Declarations are valid for a period of three months from the date   of issue.
• Divorced women cannot get married again until 10 months after the    divorce is finalized, unless her new husband is the same man she   divorced.

Procedure for legalisation:
Each original document (Document in English) must be legalised by both the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
1) Documents must first be sent to the Legalisations Office at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Please contact them ( for further information about the procedure.
2) Documents must then be sent to the Consular Section of the Embassy for translation and certification.

Translations and certifications:
All documents must be translated into Spanish and certified as true copies of the original by the Embassy. The fee for translations is £160 per document. If you already have had translations made by a registered commercial translator, the fee for their certification as true copies is £130. Please note that if you use a commercial translator, the Spanish documents will still need to be certified by the Embassy.

When submitting handwritten documents, please make sure they are clearly legible or include a note clarifying the difficult to read sections.

Please note that the fee for translations is separate from the cost of legalising original documents for marriage. Translations will be processed in seven (7) working days.

In cases of emergency, documents may be processed within 4 working days. They will be posted Special Delivery, as long as such an envelope is provided. There is a fee of £10 for this service.

We strongly recommend that once you get married in the Dominican Republic, you make a record of your marriage at your local Foreign Office, for which you will need to translate your Marriage Certificate into English. Please refer to the “Legalisations and Translations” section of this website for information on how to do this.

Thank you very much it is helpful

Hello Darlene,

Thank you a lot for this sharing of information.

This topic is now a sticky one :D


Lots of good information.  But not sure it all really works. Community property??? She usually gets it all :D:D:D:D

Bob K

I've heard on more the one occasion, that the husband ( foreigner)  once married to a Dominicana, then becomes financially responsible for the ENTIRE family ( mother in law, etc etc) is this law?

and how about Canadians

Not a law but it is the case in most Gringo (American, Canadian, European) to Dominican marriages. 

Bob K

ok thank you Bob

Canadians:    :D

Couples that wish to get married in the Dominican Republic will need to present the following documents in person or by mail to the Dominican Consulate

-Valid passport (if sending by mail, send a photocopy of the page with the picture in it)

-Original birth certificate that includes the names of the parents. (translated in Spanish)*

-Single Status Affidavit (translated in Spanish) (One per person).*

-Divorce Act (if married before) (translated in Spanish).*

*This document must be translated to Spanish and legalized by the consular section of the Embassy.

The two Single Status Affidavit and the Divorce Act, have to be legalized by the Legalisation Section of the Dominican Consulate. Cost of legalization and translations can be verified on the website links listed below. Please note that all documents except the valid passport, must be sent in original. No faxed copies or photocopies will be accepted. Please include a prepaid return envelope.

Waiting Period: There is no waiting period or minimum stay.

Witnesses: You will need two witnesses. If you provide witnesses, they will each need to bring their passport.

Blood Test: No blood test is required.

Simply contact us and we will help guide you in the right direction with the legal requirements process for planning your Destination Wedding in the Dominican Republic


Dominican Republic General Consulate - Montreal
1470 Peel St. Suite 263
Montreal, P.Q. H3A 1T1
Phone: (514) 284 - 5455/6600 Fax: (514) 284 - 5511

Dominican Republic General Consulate - Toronto
347 Bay St. Suite 904
Toronto, Ontario M5H 2R7
Phone: (416) 369 - 0403/1602 Fax: (416) 369 - 1685

Embassy of the Dominican Republic in Canada
130 Albert Street, Suite 418
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5G4
Phone: 613-569-9893
Fax:: 613-569-8673 E-mail: info[at]

In answer - no legally you are not responsible for "the whole family".  Culturally that may be a different thing altogether!!!!

Culturally you marry them all and will take care of them for the rest of your days.

Bob K

thank you

hahaha how many wife could you have in DR -

Only 1 at a time... but you can have many "girlfriends".....

wow so sweet I love it

Yes girlfriends many, depending on your morals or lack there of. Most men I know have wife, girlfriend, mistress all rolled into one :)

Bob K

Ahhhh Bob you are such a romantic.  Your wife is a lucky woman!!!!

Wow Planner! Super Helpful :D  Thanks again for posting :D


No I am a luck guy :D

Bob K

Having met your wife...... yes you are honey!!!   :D

Thank you very much for this information!
I don't know if it's the same or similar.for Russian people. But at least, I can see some important documents that I should get before I move.
Thank you again!!!

You are very welcome!

easy to get into a marriage with a Dominicana ( with no assets) is it as easy to get out of?

Nope not as easy...

Getting out you will lose BIG time.

Bob K

thats a damn shame- I'm supposed to be getting hitched this Friday.

If you do not have a kid involved it might not be so costly, but I'm curious as to why should you ask about getting out of something you have not done yet??? If you have to ask before going in, maybe you should not be going in, just makes sense to me :unsure

Actually that is exactly what I thought - and had a laugh with the wife when I mentioned to her about that ' irony' :-).

We'll still get hitched as planned, she is a good woman we have been together 3 years straight ( same domicile) and I trust her and love her.

Good for you! Good luck with everything!

In that case, I wish you nothing but the best, congratulations.

Thank you, that is very kind of you all!

We love success stories. 3 years and now you want to get married is very cool!!!

Good luck.  Not an easy task here

Bob K

if it has been good for 3 years,  why change it?  good luck & hope it goes well for you both.

gypsy -  the question is why not???   LOL

Bob K :

Yes girlfriends many, depending on your morals or lack there of. Most men I know have wife, girlfriend, mistress all rolled into one :)

Bob K

Wow, she sounds like a big girl ;0)

But seriously, most men I knew in developing countries, from the Solomon Islands to Vietnam to Brazil, were married with kids and had multiple mistresses. It was regarded as normal. North America and the Western countries seem to be the only place where monogamy is regarded as the norm.

Of course, what the wives thought about that and what they told their wives, that was another matter entirely ;0)

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