With which authorities and which forms do you start planning a wedding? After the first own research on the Internet, you should compile checklists. But also an overview of the various authority terms is essential, so for us, for example, "Apostille" and "certificate of marriageability" were absolutely unknown terms.
The actual planning with the organisation of the wedding location, bridal bouquet, wedding dress and the invitations of the guests is in relation then the nicer and "easier" common task. Unfortunately it is not possible to invite all friends and acquaintances over such a long distance. For various reasons, we decided to get married in Panama, even though it would have been possible to get married in Germany.
What is necessary for the marriage in Panama?
What documents and certificates do I need for a wedding in Panama?
- Valid passports - Pasaportes válidos
- Certificate of marriageability - Certificado de estado civil o de soltería
- Birth certificate - Certificado de Nacimiento
- Certificate of residence - Certificado de Residencia
- Health certificates, laboratory tests - Pruebas de laboratorio
- Certifications, Apostille - Certificaciones, Apostilla
- Translations - Traducciones
- Certified copy of passport?
- Witnesses - Testigos
- Notary or family court - Tribunal
- Interpreters and Translators - Traductores
Valid passports - Pasaportes válidos
If one decides to get married in Panama, the German embassy is especially important. Here you can also get an up-to-date overview of the requirements for marriage. Basic requirements for traveling is of course a travel budget and the validity of current passports.
In our case in 2014, the first goal was a "Ehefähigkeitszeugnis" a German, official confirmation that I may marry my wife and from the sides of the states nothing speaks against it. For my wife we had to organize in Panama first a current birth certificate, residence certificate and single certificate.
Certificate of marriageability - Certificado de estado civil o de soltería
A certificate of marriageability is an official certificate, is valid in Germany up to 6 months and can be obtained at the registry office. In Panama it is issued by the responsible home authority "Registro Civil" - due to examination of the marriage register. It is a certificate of singleness / marital status and valid in Panama only up to 60 days.
Birth Certificate - Certificado de Nacimiento
Birth certificate with apostille, issued by the responsible registry office - Registro Civil
Certificate of residence - Certificado de Residencia
Proof of residence, issued by the competent home authority
Health certificates, laboratory tests - Pruebas de laboratorio
In order to get married in Panama, both future spouses must present an official health certificate. This is an HIV, blood and urine test.
- VDRL Test - Venereal Disease Research Laboratory
- Liver Biometry - Biometría Hepática
- Hemoglobin electrophoresis - Electroforesis de Hemoglobina
- Urinalysis - Urinalisis
- Medical certificate for AIDS/HIV - Certificación medica de Prueba de ITS/VIH
Certifications, Apostille - Certificaciones, Apostilla
All deeds, certificates and documents had to be officially certified by the Court of Justice/Electoral Court "Tribunal Electoral" in Panama City and then certified again by an Apostille in the "Departamento de Autencaciones y Legalizaciones". An apostille costs about 3 dollars in Panama, but in Germany it costs about 20 EUR at the "Landesverwaltungsamt".
Hints: Civil status certificates should not be older than six months at the time of their certification. School and university certificates must be pre-authenticated by the school or the legal office of the college or university before being authenticated by the State Administration Office. Documents issued by judicial authorities, notaries and interpreters can only be certified by the regional courts for use abroad.
When registering the marriage at the registry office, the certificate from the population register of the main residence in Germany must not be older than 14 days, furthermore, everyone must appear in person at the citizens' registration office.
Translations - Traducciones
In Germany everything must be translated again by a state-approved translator into German. Also the state-approved translators have to be sent the originals by post, which has to be planned in time.
Translations of state-approved translators in Panama, were not recognized in Germany and had to be translated again in Germany.
Certified passport copy?
For the registry office in Erfurt, showing the original passport was not sufficient for the certificate of marriageability. Therefore, we needed a certified copy here, which turned out to be a very special story.
We could do this certification either in Berlin at the embassy of Panama or at a consul from Panama. Our next destination was therefore an Honorary Consul in Dresden. After we had not found the consulate directly and locally nobody knew a consulate, I had dialed the contact telephone number again and learned that the address was correct, but "in the pharmacy" would be the room? When we then went into the pharmacy, the consul already came to meet us. We followed him into the small room with an area of 2x5m, a small table with a small Panama flag and 3 chairs. Then we presented our color copy, he put a stamp on it "... 40 EURO please" - Unbelievable but true.
Witnesses - Testigos
Further one needs for the marriage two full-aged witnesses, who are not related by blood up to the 4th degree or by an adoption, or are related by marriage up to the 2nd degree. Therefore, the choice of parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts or siblings is not possible. At this point we were very proud of the acceptance of our friends in Panama.
Notary or Family Court - Tribunal
With all filled out documents and with copies of the identity cards of the marrying as well as the witnesses, one can apply for the marriage at the family court - department weddings "Juzgado de Familia en Turno de Matrimonios". This has taken over for us, however, a notary, which also performed the actual wedding in Playa Blanca.
Interpreters and translators - Traductores
Interpreter and translator database
German Federal Association of Interpreters and Translators (BDÜ)
Professional association of professional interpreters and translators in Germany
Search for translators/interpreters
Dream beaches in Panama - Playas de ensueño en Panamá
The wedding ceremony and wedding - La Boda
Which place to choose for the wedding ceremony? Probably the most beautiful common task is the organization of the wedding:
- Sandy beach, sea, islands or waterfall in the rainforest?
- Bridal bouquet and flowers
- Wedding rings
- Accommodation for guests and witnesses
- Restaurant, entertainment and music
After the wedding, the marriage certificate - Certificato de matrimonio.
With the marriage certificate - Certificato de matrimonio - one should not forget of course the authentication and the Apostille. With the translation our marriage was officially recognized in Germany only 11 months later. Also the adjustment, change of passports and other registrations and re-registrations must be considered, eg:
- Translations of the marriage certificate
- Recognition of the marriage
- Name changes
- Changes of passports
- Registration or re-registration at the residents' registration office
- Name changes at insurance companies, e.g. health insurance company
The name of the husband was added in our case, for example, as a suffix to the surname of the wife "... de Möller". Here we had to point at the passport on the umlaut specially, because the German umlauts are not available in Spanish. In Germany, we had also applied for a name change, because the name with a total of 6 words was simply too long.
The above information gives an insight into what was necessary for our wedding in Panama. With a lot of patience we reached our common goal, even though many things were not easy.
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