Portugal wedding legal requirements

All the information you need to get married in the Algarve, Portugal

Here, we go through every legal requirement for weddings in the Algarve. The Algarve region of southern Portugal is the perfect location for a wedding thanks to a variety of reasons, including the picturesque scenery of white-washed towns and villages, historic chapels perched atop cliffs with breathtaking views, mountains, golden beaches, and blue seas, the abundance of top-notch venues, the best catering services, fabulous accomodation, and, of course, the exceptional weather. The Algarve provides everything you need to make your wedding an occasion you will never forget! Your big day will be even more special in the Algarve, regardless of whether you are planning a small, personal wedding or a large, spectacular event.

We congratulate you if you choose to be married in the Algarve because you couldn’t have made a better decision! However, you must first decide on the style of your wedding, take into consideration some legal requirements, and carefully study the Portuguese legislation before you send out your wedding invites. The legal prerequisites for getting married here are explained here for your convenience. This is an extensive read, so if you have any questions, please contact or email us.

  • Portuguese law only allows marriages to take place in the Algarve. This implies that if you get married in Portugal, you won’t be allowed to be married in your home country’s embassy or consulate or under its legal system.
  • The age requirement for marriage in Portugal is 16. For individuals who are less than 18, both parents’ written approval is necessary.
  • There is no legal residency requirement for a wedding in Portugal at the moment.
  • You have two choices here: a civil or a Catholic wedding. Both are legally recognized and enforceable. All other religions and sects’ religious rituals must be preceded by a civil ceremony, and the marriage certificate must be made available.
  • Civil marriages between same-sex couples are permitted under the same conditions.
  • The ceremony, whether civil or Catholic, will be held in Portuguese. Although it is not required by law, if neither of you speaks Portuguese, you can arrange for an interpreter to be present throughout the ceremony.
  • When a couple marries in Portugal, the wife is not required to take her husband’s surname, but she may do so if she so desires. Nonetheless, the woman will retain one of her original surnames as well as the new one. In Portugal, children usually have their mother’s surname first and their father’s surname second.

Portugal’s Matrimonial Regimes

In Portugal, there are four types of marital regimes (regime de bens).
Marriage in community of estate (Comunho geral) is the default regime. Pre-nuptial agreements can be drafted to change this in any way.
General property community (Comunho geral): Everything brought to the marriage and acquired during the marriage is communal property. If one or both of the marriage parties already has children, this marital regime cannot be adopted.

Only goods and property obtained after the marriage are communal in a “acquired” community of property (Comunho de adquiridos).
Out of community of property (Separaço geral de bens): This marital regime is imposed by the law if one or both of the spouse is 60 or older.
Other: Under Portuguese law, couples can choose their own marital regime or combine elements of the three above.


When a foreign person marries a Portuguese citizen, they do not gain Portuguese nationality. After three years of marriage, they may petition for Portuguese citizenship.


All documentation must be original and stamped with an Apostille (an Apostille is a certificate that authenticates documents executed outside of Portugal, such as a birth certificate, so that they can be used in other countries). A notary public is normally in charge of this.
Any documentation that is not in Portuguese must be accompanied by professional translations performed by a translation service approved by the Portuguese Consulate.

You and your companion will require:

  • Full-length birth certificates have recently been issued (must show the name of your parents) within six months of your wedding date
  • Bride and Groom Passports (expiry date must be more than 6 months after your wedding). If one of you is a resident of Portugal, the resident card suffices.
  • If this is not your first marriage, you must present a divorce order or a death certificate to establish the termination of your previous marriage(s). These documents, once again, must have been issued within the last six months. If you were divorced after a Catholic church wedding and your marriage was not officially cancelled, you cannot marry in the Catholic church in Portugal.

These are the general paperwork required for getting married in the Algarve, but additional documentation may be required depending on your nationality or country of origin. If you are serious about having your wedding in the Algarve, please contact us to discuss your specific needs. Please keep in mind that some of these documentation requirements normally come with a cost.

Civil Marriage

A civil wedding ceremony can be held at the registry office (Camara) or at a location of your choice. It does not have to be a legal wedding venue, as there are none in Portugal. Hotels, restaurants, quintas, and vacation apartments are among alternatives; beach weddings are also allowed, but require an additional permission from the maritime police. Also, in order for the ceremony to be legally binding, it must be performed by a Camara celebrant, thus if you want to have the civil wedding outside of the registry office, it must be performed by a Camara celebrant as well. This must be planned ahead of time.

You can also legally marry at a registry office (in Portugal or your home country) and then arrange a symbolic ceremony in your preferred venue.

Catholic Marriage

To make the appropriate arrangements for a Catholic wedding in the Algarve, you will need to contact the local priest in advance of your wedding. Your wedding must take place within three months of receiving approval.
The necessary additional paperwork must be translated into Portuguese and sealed or stamped by your Bishop’s parish office, not merely the local priest. These are the documents:

A formal letter from your parish priest allowing permission for the wedding to be held at your preferred Portuguese church, as well as a letter from the parish Bishop expressing the same.
The same formal letter should say that you have completed all PRE CANA procedures and attach the required credentials. The Portuguese Diocese must thereafter receive this letter.
The original premarital inquiry form must be supplied by your parish and printed on formal church letterhead.

All baptism, first communion, and confirmation certificates must be supplied with the Prenuptial enquiry form and letters.
If one of you is not a Catholic, you will need to obtain another document, such as “Permission of mixed religions,” to attest that the wedding can be performed by the Portuguese Church. This is available from your local priest.

How we can help

Our Legal Document Checking Team will verify and certify that your documents are in order before you send them to Portugal through courier; nonetheless, it is the responsibility of the couple to guarantee that you have all of the necessary paperwork on time. It is critical to perform your homework and ensure that all information provided in official papers is correct and up to date. Legal papers and delivery fees are not included in our wedding packages.

To summarize, many couples prefer to marry legally in their home country and have a blessing conducted in the Algarve. This means that all documentation is completed in the country of origin, where the laws are more acquainted and the procedures may be speedier. The major event takes place here in the Algarve after the couple has officially married in their home country. Consider whether this is the best solution for you.
Whatever you pick, we are here to help you plan and organize your wedding, as well as answer any of your concerns, so that everything runs smoothly and without stress. So don’t be worried! We are here to help you.

Get In Touch

When getting in touch it is useful to include:

Venues in which you are interested

Specific or approximate dates

Estimated number of guests

Any additional information you believe is relevant

Forms on specific venue webpages can also be used.

Wedding Venues

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