WEDDINGS
02/08/2012 05:38 pm ET Updated Feb 08, 2012

Getting Married In Jamaica: A Huffington Post Guide

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 Jamaica. Read on to ensure all of your paperwork is in order before booking your ticket. --Barbie Carpenter

Residency Requirement And Waiting Period


There is no residency requirement, but individuals must be in Jamaica for at least 24 hours before getting married.

Intent To Marry


Although Jamaica's Marriage Act outlines the requirements for public notice of marriages for Jamaican residents, noncitizens do not have to post their intent to marry. In fact, couples can marry as soon as 24 hours after they arrive in Jamaica, provided that they have already submitted their marriage license application and legal documentation to the Registrar General's Department.

The Ceremony


The Registrar General's Department performs civil weddings at a number of locations. Couples can exchange vows in a decorated office at any RGD location or an outdoor garden at the RGD head office in Kingston. Alternatively, a registered marriage officer or civil registrar can perform civil ceremonies at the couple's location of choice. The couple simply needs to confirm that the officiant is authorized to perform marriages by checking the RGD's list of marriage officers or civil registrars. Two witnesses must attend the ceremony; the RGD can provide witnesses if necessary.

The Marriage Certificate


Following the ceremony, the officiant will provide the couple with a signed marriage license and register the marriage with the RGD. With that license, the couple can obtain a marriage certificate through the RGD's online service or in person.

Legal Documentation


When applying for a marriage license at an RGD location, couples must provide their birth certificates, which must include the father's name, as well as photo identification, such as a driver's license and a passport. In cases of remarriage, the individual must submit the divorce decree or death certificate of his or her former spouse. The U.S. Embassy in Kingston recommends applying for a marriage license at least two weeks before the wedding. If the couple will not be in Jamaica two weeks prior to the wedding, they should contact the RGD about submitting their application and documentation.

Same-Sex Marriage


Same-sex marriage is not legal in Jamaica. In addition, Jamaican law prohibits acts of physical intimacy between men, a crime that is punishable by 10 years in prison.

Additional Information


Marriage licenses expire in Jamaica after three months. So, couples should obtain a marriage license within a three-month window of their wedding day to avoid having to reapply for the license.

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

Learn more about getting married abroad here.

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