02/09/2012 11:52 am ET

Getting Married In Mexico

Some couples are content to tie the knot at the courthouse down the road. But for those who are more adventurous, a destination wedding -- and an international marriage -- are a must. The Huffington Post's guide to international marriages will tell you everything you need to know to get legally married in Mexico. Read on to ensure all of your paperwork is in order before booking your ticket. --Barbie Carpenter

Residency Requirement And Waiting Period

There is not a residency requirement in Mexico, but U.S. citizens must submit their tourist card. Waiting periods vary between states, so couples should contact the civil registry office in the state in which they marry.

Intent To Marry

There are no nationwide provisions about posting intents to marry in Mexico. Couples should check with their registro civil, or civil registry, office about state-specific requirements.

The Ceremony

Civil marriages in Mexico take place at the civil registry office and are performed by an official in that office. Off-site civil marriages can take place for an additional fee established by the state's civil registry.

The Marriage Certificate

The civil registry offices in each Mexican state issue marriage certificates. Couples should call the civil registry office to schedule an appointment to apply for marriage. After the ceremony, the couple will receive a marriage certificate. They should have the document apostilled by the state government, which makes it valid in the U.S.

Legal Documentation

Couples marrying in Mexico must submit passports to the civil registry. Some states require translated and authenticated birth certificates as well. They also must have a proper visa or tourist card issued by a Mexican consulate. In addition, couples marrying in Mexico must take a blood test, get X-rays and provide a certificate from a physician dated within 15 days of the marriage. The medical examination tests for HIV, VDRL (syphilis) and blood type; the exam must take place in Mexico. In cases of remarriage, individuals must submit the divorce decree or death certificate of his or her former spouse, translated into Spanish. Couples should check with the local civil registry office for specific requirements, as there is some variation among Mexican states.

Same-Sex Marriage

Same-sex marriage is legal in Mexico City but not other parts of the country. In August 2010, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that the country's 31 states must recognize same-sex marriages registered in Mexico City. Same-sex marriage is a hotly debated issue in other parts of Mexico. In the Mexican Caribbean, which includes Cancun, same-sex marriage advocates have found a loophole in the Civil Code, which does not specify that marriages must take place between a man and a woman. While some authorities are performing same-sex marriages in this region, the legality of these unions is under review.

Additional Information

Only civil marriages are legal in Mexico. Couples can also have religious ceremonies, but a religious ceremony alone does not legally constitute marriage. Additionally, individuals must wait one year after a divorce is finalized to remarry in Mexico.

View the full set of laws and regulations regarding marriage in Mexico.