Getting married in Ecuador: For better or for worse

Written by Sara Chaca, Attorney – Abogada, January 1st, 2024

Besides living and loving life in beautiful Ecuador, many expats happen to fall in love with a local.

When a couple here in Ecuador pass through the process of courtship, oftentimes the question of marriage gets “popped.” Thus, for those considering marrying an Ecuadorian citizen, the following information is meant for you and yours with respect to the marriage laws in Ecuador, as you consider the benefits as well as requirements of marriage – naturally of course, foreigners getting married in Ecuador is/was always fully permissible as well, including that same sex marriage in Ecuador is also now legal and has too become a common occurrence since it was legalized on July 8th, 2019.

In preparing for wedded bliss, it is important to note that as per any expat groom or bride in being from their home country of North America, Europe or elsewhere, there are certain documents required. It is relatively simple and straight forward for any native Ecuadorian to enter into marriage with their expat fiancé (so long as the marriage isn’t arranged or fraudulent), and so the crux of this explanation, is directed towards the expat perspective of what needs to be done in order to wed one’s Ecuadorian main squeeze. If you plan to marry an Ecuadorian citizen then you, as a foreigner, need to comply with the following requirements:

  1. If you were EVER previously divorced or widowed, or even if you have always been single, you will need to obtain a Certification or Certificate (from your country of origin’s local government where you lived prior to moving to Ecuador), proving that you were previously divorced or widowed or have always been single (and are therefore eligible for marriage in Ecuador). Then, you will need to order EITHER an Apostille or a Double Legalization of that Certification (depending on whether your country of origin is an Apostille country for Hague Convention purposes or not), and that also generally needs to be ordered from the state or provincial government of your country of origin. Some nationalities are permitted to instead make and sign a notarized affidavit at their country’s Consulate or Embassy located in or nearest to Ecuador to affirm their current and past marital status, though that alternate possibility is on a case-by-case basis. Your Ecuadorian fiance’s cedula card, which shows proof of his or her lifetime marital status, is legally sufficient.

  2. If you are not already a resident of Ecuador (either as a temporary or permanent resident), you will need to be on either an automatic 90-day tourist visa, a 90-day tourist visa extension, or any other type tourist visa extension as the Ecuadorian Immigration Ministry may allow (no other type tourist visa exists as of this writing but could always potentially be unveiled in the future).

  3. Finally, your marriage ceremony in Ecuador must be performed at the office of the Registro Civil in Cuenca, Quito or Guayaquil, prior to being married in a Church or other venue, whether with or without a party or wedding reception.

In summation, getting married in Ecuador can truly be a wonderful experience for you and your Ecuadorian fiancé, so long as it is done for the right reasons, with true love in each yours and your Ecuadorian fiancé’s heart and mind, and with the intention of allowing your marriage to enrich both of your lives, as you move forward into your future together.

For assistance contact Sara Chaca, an English speaking Ecuadorian Attorney (principal office is located in Cuenca but services all of Ecuador). For every Expat, Sara provides a complimentary consultation regarding immigration to Ecuador—specific to your circumstances.

Copyright © 2024 EcuadorVisas, LLC