The Argentine government recognizes the civil wedding as the only legally binding marriage ceremony performed in Argentina. You may opt to be married in a religious ceremony as well, but all couples must have a separate civil ceremony to legalize their union.
Note: Either you or your fiancé(e) must be Argentine or a permanent resident of Argentina; two tourists cannot legally marry each other in Argentina. [Update: As of May 2012, foreign tourists are allowed to marry in the City of Buenos Aires and the provinces of Santa Fe, Tierra del Fuego and Buenos Aires. If both you and your fiancé(e) are tourists, please see my post "Foreign Tourists Permitted to Marry in Buenos Aires" for more information and requirements.]
Marriage in Argentina Between a Foreigner and an Argentine Citizen
To begin the process, you and your fiancé(e) should head to the Registro Civil (Civil Registry) closest to your legal place of residence, as recorded in your fiancé(e)'s DNI. You may select a date for your civil ceremony no more than 30 to 45 days out from the date you plan to get married. We were able to pick both the date and time of our ceremony; however, we were limited to Monday through Friday between 8am and 1pm, as those are the hours that our Registro Civil is open to the public.
Requirements for Marriage in Argentina (Foreigner Marrying an Argentine)
- Foreigner: passport with valid visa stamp or prórroga de permanencia (visa extension) plus a photocopy of the entire document
- Argentine: DNI plus a photocopy of the entire document
- Blood test results [get blood drawn at local hospital no more than one week prior to date of wedding (no cost); return certified results to the Registro Civil before your wedding day]
- Complete and return paperwork, including the names and personal information of two people who will serve as witnesses [cannot be family members; must be Argentines with DNI]
- You may be required to provide additional documentation proving that any previous marriages were legally terminated, either by death or divorce.
- Fees [$40 pesos payable at Banco de la Provincia—you cannot pay at the Civil Registry]
The civil ceremony lasts only twenty minutes or so and is conducted by an employee of the Registro Civil. Most people invite friends and family to attend the civil wedding even if there will be a church ceremony later on, but at the very least, you must bring your two witnesses, and of course, your partner!
You will be given a libreta de familia and certificado de matrimonio [photo] immediately following the ceremony. If you or your spouse plan to obtain residency following your marriage, you must also pay a separate fee for the acta de matrimonio, a certified copy of the page you, your spouse and your witnesses signed in the marriage record.
Disclaimer: Different provinces and civil registries often have varying requirements for marriage. What I've detailed here represents my personal experiences in the City of Necochea, Province of Buenos Aires. Given the capricious nature of Argentine bureaucracy, your experience may be different.
General list of requirements for marriage in Argentina, as outlined by the United States Embassy in Buenos Aires [in English]
Specific requirements for marriage in the City of Buenos Aires and for the Province of Buenos Aires [in Spanish]
Experiences with getting married in Argentina from Meag at A Domestic Disturbance
Legal implications of international marriage, with information specific to Argentina from Expat Argentina [older post but the information is still useful]
[Photo credit: blmurch]