This post is also available in: Spanish
By: Staff at Panama Offshore Legal Services
E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org || Phone: (507) 227 – 6645
Visiting tourists and foreigners living here fall in love with Panama’s beautiful environment and sometimes with Panamanians too.
Foreigners don’t have to be residents to get married in Panama. The minimum legal age to get married here is 18 years.
Marrying a Panamanian requires filling out an application for a marriage license before a court in the jurisdiction where one of the parties lives. Here are the required documents:
- Health certificate for both parties including a general medical exam obtained from a certified physician within 15 days prior to the wedding. Certain medical lab tests are required including venereal diseases (VDRL), complete blood count, Hemoglobin Electrophoresis, urinalysis, and a HIV/AIDS test.
- Birth certificates of both parties and of their living children issued by their country of origin are required.
- Public documents (like birth certificates) issued by U.S. states, Canadian provinces, and other countries may be legalized with an apostille. An apostille is an internationally recognized form where governments authenticate their records. File the apostilles with Panama’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores).
- Obtain a certificate of single status (Certificado de Solteria) if one or both parties have never been married. The country where the applicant resided during the last two years issues this certificate. Foreign embassies do not issue these certificates. This requirement can be satisfied by signing a sworn statement attesting to being single in front of a Panamanian notary with two witnesses, unrelated to the applicant, who also swear the applicant is single. Panamanian citizens can obtain this certificate at the two Civil Registry Offices located in Panama City.
- If either party is widowed or divorced an apostilled death certificate and/or divorce decree will also be required.
- Two witnesses of legal age, who are not related (by blood or marriage) to either of the parties must witness the wedding ceremony. The parties must bring all documents mentioned above along with a Panama ID card (cedula) or passport with relevant visa document to the Marriage Court (Juzgado deTurno en Matrimonios) to be married.
A Roman Catholic wedding requires the civil ceremony to occur before the Catholic ceremony. The couple must take a premarital preparation course at least six months prior to the wedding, after which they receive a Certificate of Attendance. Courses are regularly held in nine of Panama City’s parishes. In addition, the couple must sign a Statement of Marriage before a priest with two witnesses of legal age. The church also requires baptism certificates obtained from the church that performed the baptism. If one or both parties are foreigners then an updated certificate authenticated by a bishop in the party’s home country must be provided.
With all of these required documents, it is safer to hire a Panama lawyer knowledgeable with marriage requirements.