Getting Married in Bolivia
Before any civil registrar’s office will permit an American to marry in Bolivia, the following documents must be presented:
Certified copy of birth certificate translated into Spanish and authenticated by a Bolivian Consul in United States.
Valid United States passport.
Certification of eligibility to marry, such as death or divorce certificates for prior marriages, or certificate of no record of marriage from prior U.S. state of residence translated into Spanish and authenticated by a Bolivian Consul in the United States.
Proof of three months continuous residence in Bolivia. This can be waived at the discretion of the local official.
Note: U.S. Consular Officers are authorized by law to perform limited notarial services abroad in connection with certain documents to be presented in the United States. U.S. Consular officers may not perform notarial services in connection with documents for presentation in the host country.
Bolivian Marriage Laws
Only civil marriages are recognized as legal in Bolivia. Civil marriages are performed by a civil registry official, either before or after a religious ceremony. Although the age of majority in Bolivia is 21, men can marry at 16 and women at 14 with permission from parents or guardians. Exceptions can be made for pregnant minors whose parents refuse permission and for orphans (orphans must have permission to marry from the Tribunal Tutelar del Menor and from the Juez de Familia). As in the United States, marriage is not permitted between close blood relatives, and bigamy is against the law. Marriage is also forbidden to a long list of others, including the mentally ill. Widows, divorcees and women who have had marriages annulled cannot remarry sooner than 300 days after the death of a husband, the date of the final decree of divorce or the notice of annulment.
Marriages performed outside the United States are generally recognized in the United States. In order for a Bolivian Marriage Certificate to have legal validity in the United States, it should be first authenticated by the Bolivian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and then notarized by the American Consul in Bolivia.