in Sex and Love

Getting Married in Panama

“Getting married in Panama is easy”

That seems to be the consensus of websites topping my “how to get married in Panama” interweb search. Some of them temper the “easy” bit by adding, “provided you have all the necessary paperwork and follow the correct procedures.”

of course that’s like saying swimming lake gatun is easy, provided you’ve read up on crocodiles, and can swim really fast.

except for finding corrupt officials, growing pineapples, or getting hit by a killer bus, nothing is easy in panama. say you really are foolish enough to get married. and you’ve come all this way to meet the love of your life: a simple chola with dirty feet and scary sex drive. this is a happy time for you. you’ve got your script for blue pills, paid off her burro, bought her mama new teeth. you’ve even remembered to bring certified and stamped court documents of your birth and divorce. now all you need is a judge or priest to say a few meaningless words at your funeral blessed union and you’re ready to pound wally pound.

not so fast pendejo.

(1) certificado de nacimiento y solteria de ambos.

yeah, they want your birth and bachelorhood certificates, but if you’ve been married, they also want a certificate of divorce. and get this, these documents must be authenticated by the Panamanian Consulate in your home country.

in the U.S there are consulates in several major cities. but if you’re in Panama you won’t want to hop an expensive flight back. so you’ll plead with several governmental officials who will not be particularly helpful. you’ll get frustrated, confused. you might even be tempted to call the marriage off.

you toad, you can’t give up that easy. what if her mother needs cataract surgery? or her sis needs money for school? who will be there to pick up the tab?

papers get stamped at the consulate nearest your jurisdiction. for example, i’m from Massachusetts, so New York would be the closest consulate to me. still, i can’t just fed-ex the papers to the New York consulate. that would be too easy.

first i need a check for $90 ($30 for each document), drawn on a U.S bank, the original papers (no copies) from the Massachusetts courts, and then (i’m told by a consular officer) the papers must be hand delivered and picked up. no mail.

That assumes you can find a court to declare you single. if you can’t you need two people to swear you’re single, get the document notarized, and send it to the consulate with your other papers.

how long will it take consular officials to rigorously research the documents and affix their precious stamp? depends really. how long does it take for a crocodile to consume a 200 lb gringo? there are so many variables: how big is the croc? when did he last eat? will he store his victim on the lake bottom for a late night nosh?

one day, if you survive the swim, you will have your stamped papers in hand. only then can you and your sexy chola head down via espania to the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores and the Department of Legalizaciones y Autenticaciones, and get them authenticated. again.

2. certificado medico de salud prenupcial

if you haven’t given up, you’ll also need a medical certificate from a Panamanian doctor 15 days (now they tell me up to 2 months) prior to the wedding. a doctor will need to do these tests: urinalysis, HIV, blood test and V.D.R.L. but the doctor should really be checking to see if you’re crazy to put up with all this.

3. dos testigos que sean mayores de edad.

round up two witnesses of adult age. they can’t be relatives. i think a couple of strippers would be a nice touch.

4. pasaporte o carnet de migration vigente.

you need a passport yo.

All of the above must be presented to the Juzgado de Turno en Matrimonios (Marriage Court), ideally two or three days before the wedding. remember, if you plan to marry a Panamanian citizen, he/she/it needs the same paperwork. it’s just easier for them to get it.

and that’s all there is to it really. what could be easier? some of you may think this process is actually kind of difficult. don’t kid yourself. once you’ve jumped through these simple hoops, and paid for the official seal, doctor, judge, dress, ring, wedding party, viagra, honeymoon, and visa, it’s only going to get much worse.

if i were you i’d just rent the girl. or live in sin.

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  1. cojito…thats why everyone goes to vegas to get married. its cheaper, faster and more official:). of course, you still should get the certificate certified, apostiled, and blessed by the pope so you can prove it is legit back here in panama.

    my guess is there will be no quicky wedding chapels here in PTY anytime soon…unless you count the guy down at relaciones exteriores with his hand out in the back office.

  2. yeah, it takes 15 minutes and $50 to get a marriage license in vegas. you can get fat elvis to do the ceremony. they don't even test your blood. but without a u.s. visa you can't get your fiance into the vegas.

    getting married in panama is cheaper and faster than applying for a fiance visa, and then going after a marriage visa in the u.s. it costs about 3k for just the marriage visa. over 5k for the fiance and marriage visa.

    not to mention the visa process takes over a year. it's really america's visa rules, time, and cost that make this a pisser for the poor. the rich can always afford to bribe someone, or pay and wait.

    given all the cash that comes into panama from pana/gringo families in the u.s i'm surprised the pana gov doesn't make it easier to get married here.

    there are a lot of marriage-minded gringos looking for an easy, romantic setting to get hitched. panama could be it. but not until they make it easier to get married here.

  3. i will keep a watchful eye for those maniac diablo rojo drivers. thank you. i didn't know a thing about marriage procedures, so thanks again. could i offer a piece of advice to any gringo considering a long term relationship/marriage with a pana chica? think twice about providing her with an ATM card to make "small" withdrawals in times of need. there are no such things as "rules" for its usage.

  4. san andres island colombia – that's a good tip gerald. i think anyone with a valid passport can get married there. i understand the colombian gov relaxed its byzantine marriage laws to promote tourism on the island. panama would be smart to do the same thing.

    i found this: Get married In San Andres Island- Colombia (no documents required) Law 915/2004

    it also looks like costa rica once again kicks panama's ass. you can marry in costa rica without all the funky rules. they just need a passport and sworn statements. look here: getting married in costa rica

    gregorio – my girl friend doesn't need an atm card to get cash. she just takes it out of my top drawer.

    damejudith – crazy yes. never serious.

  5. I am very suprised to read this article full of lies. As in any country, documents are required.. my suggestion is to do your research in an official panamanian site instead on using google to find articules (like this one) written by ignorants of pananamian laws..

    I am an industrial engineer with MBA.. graduated (cum laude)in Panama.. married to american (i am not a cholita with dirty feets).. my husband didnt have to buy my mom teeth (she works as my dad who is a lawyer).. I was rated Exceptional Performer for 4 years in a row in an American Company..

    voila! blogs like this doesnt necessary reflect the words of a responsible/accurate/reliable source.

  6. You don't need to send your documents to the consular office. Just take them to the Secretary of State's office where they were issued and get an Apostille seal, certifying the document is legit. You will have to get all of your documents translated by a government approved translator. There are a variety of them that can do this. I used Also, your Panamanian spouse will need his/her cedula, birth certificate and certificado de solteria. The certificado de solteria takes about 15 days for them to get and is only good for a month since the date of its issuance. It sounds like a big deal, but is nothing compared to the K-3 Visa process.

  7. Jeni,

    there was no Google search. there are no "lies" contained in this article. i live in Panama City. i talked to several government officials, and a Panamanian lawyer, before i wrote this article. i even visited the Juzgado de Turno en Matrimonios, and referenced the paperwork they gave me.

    now you may argue that these Panamanian officials don't know what THEY are talking about. and you may be right about that. the educational system in Panama is deplorable. but you can't blame me for the stupidity or ignorance of some Panamanians.

    i ask questions. they answer. i write about it. voila!

    you sound rather smug Jeni. and it's really sweet you have an MBA, wealthy parents, awards, an American job and husband. you are lucky. good for you. but try and remember the majority of Panamanians live in dire poverty. the majority don't get MBA's or even go to college. they work shit jobs for shit money and then get robbed on their way home from work. and they are the lucky ones, the ones with actual jobs.

    for some Panamanians, marriage to a gringo is a viable way out. so why not make it easy for the poor to marry outsiders? things are NOT the same wherever you go Jeni. there are indeed places you can go to marry with a minimum of paperwork and hassle. places that are not ruled by smug rabiblancos.

    look into it. do a Google search.

  8. I found the article along with some other searches pretty helpful. It help set me in the right direction. And my wife did come from dire poverty. I remember telling her about this site and how I figured out all the stuff I needed to get married down there. We were sitting around and I told her about the Cholita with dirty feet comment. She thought it was funny because we had just been to the beach and my Cholita did have dirty feet.

  9. Great place. Look I love latin america and I was told Panama is the new place to go. I am wanting to marry my fiance there. She is Russian and i am American. Can I own property there? Maybe will get married in Costa Rica though but I would like to do biz there and buy property and yes we could help ythe locals with some good work.

    any advice will be apprieciated.


  10. Panamanians are common people with little or no class. many of them are buttas ugly.

    Never trust them, or youll be sorry.

    There is no panamanian who is not a professional that is worth more than 15$ per day.

    Dont get married, jus lie to them, dnt be so desperate and remember the hell wit the mother.

  11. I am actually very interested in this post, however I may not be the typical reader of your stuff: I am a female, first off, and met my boyfriend of one year while on a study abroad in Pamama. I do believe that there will be upcoming nuptials, and I was wondering what your insight on marriage in Panama versus the states would be, in getting him to the states. He wants to live in panama, but I have a job in the states, so that wins…meaning after a wedding I would need to bring him to the states. Applying for visas and such: would getting married in Panama and applying for a spouse have a faster result or would getting married stateside after applying for a fiance visa be better? I ask also thinking that a spouse visa need be applied for after the fiance visa expires?

    Anyway, any advice would be really helpful, negative or positive, but too the point would be appreciated :p

    • Do the fiance visa for sure. It is fasterandbetter. And divorce is always better wwhen you can get it oin your own cultere and language.

  12. The quickest way to get him here is with a fiance visa. It takes the USCIS the same amount of time to process the K-3 or Finace visa as it does the IR-1 immediate relative visa. However, once your fiance is here you will need to get married and file for an IR-1 visa, which has permanent status. You'll need to file for and pay for the spouse visa either way, but you will delay that pmt by initiating the fiance visa. Plus, getting married in Panama can be a bit of a hassle based on my experience. I was married there and it took them 9 months to issue the marriage certificate.

  13. The easiest, faster way is to get a person in on some sort of visa (B1 in our case) marry them; then the burden is on the feds. Also the spouse sys in the US until paperwork is done.

  14. Amen brother……..been there. And I still am. Done with the marriage and now 3 months later…….ready for the divorce