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Getting married in colombia - All you need to know

May 23, 2023

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Getting married in colombia - All you need to know

As the globalized world becomes increasingly interconnected, it's no surprise that marriages between Colombians and foreigners are on the rise. However, the legal requirements for getting married in Colombia can be complex and daunting.
In AGT Attorneys, as a legal firm with extensive experience in handling Colombian marriages with foreigners, we understand the importance of having a clear understanding of the legal issues involved before embarking on the process.
In this blog, we aim to provide you with valuable insights into the legal considerations that you should keep in mind when planning a Colombian marriage. By understanding the legal framework and the necessary steps, you can ensure that the process is as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Our team of legal experts is dedicated to helping you navigate through the complex legal procedures involved in getting married in Colombia. Additionally, we offer legal services surrounding any other legal matter that may arise when moving to our country such as buying real estate, the visa application process, among others.

Getting married in Colombia

As in many countries, marriages can be contracted in a civil or religious ceremony in Colombia. Hence, couples have the option to choose between civil and religious marriages, since both types of marriages are recognized legally and create the same legal effects.

How does religious marriage work in Colombia?

Religious marriage refers to a form of matrimony that is conducted within the context of a specific religious tradition or faith. It is a union between two individuals that is recognized, solemnized, and governed by the principles, rituals, and customs of a particular religion.

A religious marriage should be registered before a government entity to create the same legal effects as a civil marriage.

Religious marriage in Colombia for foreigners

In Colombia, a religious marriage is available for foreigners who wish to marry a Colombian national. When a foreigner wants to proceed with this religious union, several documents are needed.

Firstly, the foreigner must hold the religious documents requested by the religious authority in which they are proceeding with the ceremony. It is important to take into account the churches that have ratified conventions with the Colombian government in order for such ceremonies to great marriages with full legal effects.

Secondly, they must also present documents of identification, such as their passport.

What is a civil marriage in Colombia?

A civil marriage is the one contracted before civil authorities, in the Colombian case, before the public notary or a civil judge, rather than before religious authorities such as the Catholic Church. The legal concept of marriage is established in the Colombian Civil Code in its article 113.

What documents are required to get married in Colombia?

As mentioned above, people who are getting married through civil marriage can do it before a public notary or a civil judge. For the marriage to take place, they will need to have the following documents:

  1. Authenticated ID card photocopy.
  2. Civil birth certificate with a validity of no longer than 3 months.
  3. Special power of attorney in the case that one of the future spouses can not personally submit the request of marriage.
  4. Special power of attorney in the case one of the spouses can not attend the ceremony.

When a Colombian national and a foreigner wish to marry, the foreigner will have to pay special attention to the following documents:

  • Copy of the passport
  • Civil birth certificate apostilled and translated if the case requires it.
  • Certificate of single status or its equivalent, apostilled and translated if necessary.
  • Apostilled special power of attorney if unable to attend.
  • If the documents are in a language other than Spanish, they must be officially translated.
  • Any foreigner who does not speak Spanish must have an official translator at the ceremony, identified with his or her identity card and translator's resolution, who will also sign the deed.
  • It is important to bear in mind that foreigners who wish to get married to a Colombian national do not need to be the holder of a visa before the marriage. Once they get married, they will be eligible to apply for a Migrant M visa for Colombian spouse.

    Common-Law Marriage or Domestic Partnership

    In our country, for couples that have yet not decided to get married but have a union with legal effects, there is a type of valid partnership.

    A common-law marriage or domestic partnership, regularly known as "unión marital de hecho" or "unión libre".
    This union refers to a form of stable and lasting cohabitation between two people who recognize each other as permanent partners and decide to live together without being legally married. This legal figure recognizes and protects the rights and obligations of couples living together in this type of union.

    Some requirements should happen for the union to exist, such as coexistence and stability of the relationship. A common-law marriage, according to Law 54 of 1990, grants similar rights as in a marriage such as economical rights, right to inheritance, social security, among others.

    What does "officially translate" means?

    An official translation is a translation made by an official translator, which can be physical (on paper) with the signature or stamp and certification of the translator. Official translations are made in order to be submitted to a public body.

    Some of the documents that require official translations are:

  • Academic Certificates
  • Diplomas
  • Birth certificates
  • Property titles
  • Deeds
  • Apostilles
  • Visas
  • Immigration documents
  • Divorce certificates
  • Medical Certificates
  • Resolutions
  • Judicial records
  • Special Cases:

    Additionally, to the aforementioned documents and requirements, for some special cases supplementary documentation is needed.

    When the spouses have children before the union, they must present submit the birth certificate of the kids and a solemn inventory of the minor's assets. This also applies for the couple who is not married yet but have mutual kids.
    If the aforementioned diligence of solemn inventory does not exist at the country of origin, you must present a certificate issued by the competent authority certifying so. It can be a notary public of the country of origin, who gives faith that this document is not required in your country.

    When it is not the first marriage of the spouses or one of the spouses, they should also submit additional documents. In the case of divorce, they must forward the civil birth certificate with the annotation of divorce, dissolution, and liquidation of the marital partnership. This also applies to people who for common law marriage. For widows and widowers, they must show the civil death certificate of the deceased spouse.

    What is a prenuptial agreement or prenup?

    As established in article 1771 of the Colombian Civil Code, a prenuptial agreement is the convention or agreement celebrated between spouses before the marital union. The prenuptial agreement established the conventions related to the assets brought to by the spouses to the marriage, any donations or concessions done.

    Before getting married, it is beneficial for the spouses to consider drafting a signing a prenuptial agreement. If you want to access more information about prenuptial agreements in Colombia, you can read our blog on: How to Make Your Prenuptial Agreement in Colombia.

    Marriage Visa in Colombia

    The marriage visa or spouse visa is established in Article 67 of Resolution 5477 of 2022. This visa is granted to foreigners who have a marital relationship with a Colombian national and aspire to live effectively with their partner in Colombia.

    In the same article it is set forth the special requirements that the spouses of a Colombian national must have, among which are:

  • Authentic copy of the Colombian Civil Registry of Marriage.
  • Letter of application for the marriage or spouse visa, signed by the Colombian national spouse, accompanied by a simple copy of the citizenship card and a special power of attorney granted to the foreigner for the application.
  • Special power of attorney, with diligence of recognition of content and signature before a notary or Colombian consul for the foreign couple to apply for this type of visa.
  • Certificate of migratory movements of the foreigner issued by the Special Administrative Unit of Migration Colombia and of his/her Colombian spouse.
  • This type of visa can have a validity of up to three (3) years and grants a work permit for the spouse to develop licit and legal activities in the national territory. It also concedes the opportunity for the holder to request beneficiaries depending on the information established on Resolution 5477 of 2022.

    Additionally, when a foreigner is a holder of a Migrant type Visa, they could be eligible for a Resident type Visa depending on the accumulated time as a holder of said visa. For a marriage visa in Colombia or spouse visa, the minimum accumulated time requested in the Resolution is of 3 years.

    Here at AGT Attorneys, we have a specialized area of Immigration Law. Our attorneys will assess you and your company on any visa process that you require to legally reside in the country.

    We invite you to read all of our publications on Visas to Colombia:

  • How to apply for a business visa in Colombia
  • Retirement visa in Colombia
  • Employee Relocation to Colombia
  • How to buy property in Colombia?

    The process of buying a property in Colombia is the same for both nationals and foreigners. In order to buy a property in Colombia, it is necessary to comply with a series of requirements, including notary fees, tax payments, among others. Additionally, the buyer must be aware of the rights and obligations acquired at the time of entering into the purchase contract.

    On the other hand, the purchase of property in Colombia for foreigners is very common and easy. Foreigners who want to buy real estate in the country have the same rights as a Colombian national, so they must meet exactly the same requirements without additional financial burdens. The buyer must have a valid passport and the resources required for the purchase and sale.

      What are the documents required to buy property in Colombia?

      This list of documents will be essential when buying a property in Colombia, due to the procedures involved. However, they may vary depending on each case, for example, if the person is buying horizontal property.

    • Commercial appraisal of the real estate.
    • Proof of payment of the title search performed on the property.
    • In cases where the purchase of the property is made from a construction company, the certificate of incorporation and management of the seller involved in the sale.
    • Certificate of tradition and freedom.
    • Promise of sale.
    • Copy of the title deeds of the last 10 years at least.
    • Regulations of the horizontal property, if applicable.
    • If the property is used, attach proof of payment of the respective property tax.

    If you are interested in acquiring real estate property in Colombia, we invite you to read our blog about buying property in our country as a foreigner: How can a foreigner buy a property in Colombia.

    How to create a company in Colombia?

    When moving to Colombia, a frequent question that many companies and entrepreneurs have is how to incorporate a company in our country. For foreigners who have their own businesses in their country of origin, incorporating a branch of their company is an excellent option for their commercial operations.

    The branch of a foreign company in Colombia refers to businesses or companies domiciled and created abroad, which upon their incorporation and compliance with all requirements in Colombia, may exercise their permanent economic activities.

    This process of incorporation in Colombia requires a legal process and the fulfillment of some specific requirements in order to begin commercial operations in the country and comply with the Colombian legal framework.

    Do you want to get married in Colombia?

    If you are looking to get married in Colombia, you may need the advice of a trustful law firm for the different civil procedures required like prenuptial agreements, family law and state planning.

    At AGT Attorneys, we provide legal advice with experienced lawyers specializing in Family Law that will guide you and your partner through the process of getting married in Colombia. Additionally, we also offer legal advice in any other legal matter that you, your partner and your company may need when relocating to Colombia, such as the visa application process, ratification of prenuptial agreements, buying real estate process, among others.

    Contact us at +57 310 5706331 or fill out in this Contact Form. Our experienced attorneys are ready to assist you and handle your case.

    If you found this article helpful then let us know in the comments section below. Likewise, feel free to share it using the share options below. Want us to cover another topic of your interest pertaining to legal affairs? If so, then like us and follow us on social media, and post to any of our social media profiles the topic you'd like us to discuss: Facebook AGT Attorneys and Twitter @AttorneysAGT

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