Getting Married in El Salvador

LaFoca's picture

So...the next move, once I get there is to get married to my Salvadoran common law husband. Since we've been together for 11 years, this is fairly non eventful, but I thought maybe others might like to learn what you need to go through dealing with the documents. We are fortunate, because we have an attorney, but it doesn't make getting the documents easier. Always there are time limits. Here is a wonderful resource to guide you:

Don't do what I did and order your documents in advance...because they have to be issued withing 60 days of the marriage. And of course they have to be apostilled. I don't know about you, but I was completely lost on this apostille process, so I found a wonderful site that may help you understand this. I thought the apostille was done by some singular entity known as "the Department of State," which in my limited understanding was one agency. I soon learned that there are State Department of States, Federal Department of States, etc. So this affects who apostilles your documents. I learned that in the case of the state, you will first need a notary public, then a country recorder, and then the apostille by a state agency. And for federal documents, you won't need as much...but I'm still confused on this (and incredibly turned off by it, because it seems like a money making venture to me, nothing more). There are apostille agencies online, and they can help you in a pinch, or if you are outside the country, but they are pricy...can run $90 to $125 per document. Where going to the office of the California Secretary of State only runs $20.00 per signature.

1. A birth certificate (I learned that no notary is required for this, because if you order a certified copy, it is done by a notary. But you have it apostilled at the Secretary of State for your locale).
2. Any marriage or divorce documents (These must be obtained from the Superior Court, Family Court Division where you either were married or the dissolution took place. Don't hope for any help from the county clerks. They are a breed unto themselves, talking fast because they probably don't know what the hell they are talking about at all. And each one will most likely give you the wrong information while they are most likely polishing their nails. They are brain dead). These are apostilled at the Secretary of State's office too).
3. You'll need your passport and some extra passport photos

The salvadorean citizen must show:
1. DUI (Documento Único de Identidad) I think they also call this a NIT (sounds like neet), or that's what my husband calls it.
2. A recently issued (maximum two months) partida de nacimiento (birh certificate).

Then you go before an official [either a public notary, a mayor, or a Governor to draft a marriage license. Here, you present all your documents. Then you have a civil ceremony (not the religious one you think you want...that comes later). The civil ceremony is mandatory before the other. The official will be responsible for entering the marriage in a Duty book and send a photocopy of the entry to the Salvadoran’s original city hall ( based on his/her place of birth). You'll get two copies and you will then choose if you wish to coordinate your assets as a marital couple, or maintain your separate pre-marital assets. Anything accumulated during the marriage is community property. There are no longer any laws requiring the person from outside El Salvador to have residency or have lived in El Salvador for any mandated time, so this process can happen fairly quickly.

As far as I get it, then you are married. Yippee! Now you get to learn what Salvadorans are like once they tie the knot...he he! The good news is, like anywhere else, although Salvadoran men are known to be jealous, they are trainable like all other men, if you stand your ground. And since many have lived in the U.S., they know many North American women...even us of Latin descent won't tolerate their b.s. for very long.



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Error in above post

if you are a foreigner with NO Social Security, Pension or other mionthly income from your home country @ 1000 month range your new Salvadoran husband or wife must sign an affadavit stating they are able to support you during your stay in El Salvador, some lawyers in El Salvador will tell you otherwise so go with your fiance or spouse to Immigration for the excat rules that aply to your case If you are retired and have monthly income of 1000 USD for a single person or 1500 for a couple, from your home country you can apply easier for the retirees residency called RENTISTA a Rentista is expected to live on his or her income from abroad and legally not allowed to work in ES, although many Rentistas have their own Interner on line business or teach their native language freelance or start up very small businesses or volunteer to keep active. If you have no income and your Salvadoran fiance or spouse is also unemployed, you may have a rough time getting residency despite what a lawyer tells you, in the case where your Salvadoran spouse has been deprted from USA there is little you can do to get their status reinstated despite what local or stateside lawyers tell you

Marriage and Residency in Salvador

You need not be legally married to your Salvadoran partner as stated above, you can attest to acompanado or union libre, if you have been married to a ?Salvadoran in US or other country, Migracion does not recognize the marriage, you will be required to be 're married' by a Lawyer in El Salvador, the process of Residency is long and drawn out, so if you are now in US and Canada get several certified copies of your Birth Certificate with an Apostille from the Secretary of State or Province where you were born, the Apostille are only good for 60 days after submission, so get the adress and phone number of your Secretary of State, the US and Canadian embassies have this information if you cannot find it and apply every 60 days for anew Apostille, I know foreigners married to Salvadorans for several years, even well to do Salvadorans who have not recieved their resident paPers after several years due the paper chase, some give up and return home, if you are a foreigner with Social Security, Pension or other mionthly income from your home country @ 1000 month range your new Salvadoran husband or wife must sign an affadavit stating they are able to support you during your stay in El Salvador, some lawyers in El Salvador will tell you otherwise so go with your fiance or spouse to Immigration for the excat rules that aply to your case, your embassy may also be able to tell you and fiance the rules and get a good second opinion at Immigration, all this beaurocracy can only be avoided if one marries here in ES a well to do Salvadoran with connections and expensive bi lingual Imigration Lawyer who will push through paperwork for yop, be patient, if you are hired for a job in ES outside the country by nan established international school or firm they will help you optain the work permit, if you come alone without Spanish or special skills be prepared for the long haul.


I live in England and so does my current boyfriend we hope to get married in El Salvador as his family are there do we need to do all of this?

Getting married with no Birth Certificate

Do you have a Canadian Passport? How did you obtain your passport sans Birth Certificate? To obtain any type of residency in ES you require a Birth Certificate and an Apostille of that Birth Certificate from the Province or other country you were born in in, no exceptions, if you marry in Canada for residency purposes the ES Gobernment will not recognize your union until you are re married by a Salvadoran /Lawyer with a Birth Certificate, Apostille and valid Canandian Passport, if you were a refugee to Canada from a country to which you cannot return, best speak to an immigration specialist and find an alternative, otherwise just reside with your mate in union libre, on a tourist stamp and leave CA4 to Mexico or Costa Rica by bus every 90 days, twice a year you may have this 90 days extended to 180, in the Immigration offices for extensions in E, Salvador, but again, Birth Certificate with Apostille is required for that also, you need to seek expert advice

Hi im going to get married in

Hi im going to get married in el salvador i live in canada i dont have a birth certicate can i still get married even if i dont have that i mean i have all of my papaers here so why is it that i need a birth certicate i dont understand can someone help me what can i do

You don't have to be married

You don't have to be married for your partner or common law spouse to sponsor you for residency in El Salvador. They have all kinds of terms for it: acompando, union libre (which is what the immigration official told me to say), but you DO NOT have to be legally married for your partner to sponsor you for residency in El Salvador.

Omg help me please I am so

Omg help me please I am so confused and im suppose to get married in Jan over their but I have no idea its that difficult

I am also getting married and need some advice

Hello, I plan on getting married to my fiance soon, he is from El Salvador. I know that i need the birth certificate and it cant be older than 60 days. But i was also told that it has to be translated into spanish.? If you could just offer some advice that would be great. Please Email me at

On Getting married...update

We will be paying our attorney $100 and providing my birth certificate with an apostille and that will be fine, she says. And it will happen right away. It no longer takes a lengthy wait of residency in El Salvador to marry a legal Salvadoran citizen. So in about a month, we should have the documents to back up the relationship we have been in for 11 years. One note, is that if you want to have a religious ceremony, that comes after the civil process.

We are planning a regular wedding too, with family and friends, so I will update this blog from time to time on that as well. But for now, just for me to get quick residency here so I have rights, this will suffice. That way, I can ship all my things here without paying duty.

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