Tying the knot in Portugal now easier

British Embassy announces

A change in official procedures means that it is now simpler for Brits to get married in Portugal.

As from August 1 2013, British nationals living in Portugal or planning a wedding here no longer need to produce a Certificate of No Impediment. This applies to marriages both between couples of the same and the opposite sex.

British Consul in Portugal, Simona Demuro, said: “We have been working closely with the Instituto dos Registos e do Notariado in Lisbon in order to simplify the process. Portugal’s civil registration procedures are modern and efficient and this change is great news for couples thinking of marrying in Portugal.”

Under the new procedures, the first step is to contact the Civil Registry Office where you want to get married well in advance. There is a full list of Registry Offices online at www.irn.mj.pt/IRN/sections/irn/a_registral/servicos-externos-docs/contactos/contactos-dos-servicos-civil/.

They will be able to provide full information on the local requirements. If you do not live in Portugal, but want to get married here, you may find it easier to give power of attorney to a representative who can then liaise with the Registrar and act on your behalf. You can appoint anybody to represent you but there are many wedding planners who can help with the process if you do not want to go at it alone.

As a guideline, the following documents will be required to get married in Portugal:

a) a certified copy of your full (long form) birth certificate and a certified translation

b) your passport (or a certified copy), and

c) any other documentation as required (e.g. divorce certificate, deed poll, death certificate if widowed, power of attorney if you are not dealing directly with the Registrar, etc).

Civil Registrars may also ask for foreign certificates to be legalised by apostille in accordance with the 1961 Hague Convention. This is something you should check with the Registrar as early on in the process as possible in order to avoid delays later. Information on obtaining an apostille in the UK can be found on www.gov.uk/get-document-legalised.

The whole process can take anywhere up to three months or more, so forward planning is a must.