TL;DR: you will find a short summary of all the necessary steps at the end of this article.
So you’re engaged now! If you can’t wait to get married and you’d love to do it as soon as possible, I have to disappoint you – there’s a long way ahead of you. Forget about all those last-minute-spontaneous-drunken-Vegas-style weddings. Not gonna happen in Poland.
Right now, Mexicans who would like to get married in Poland need to go through a much more complicated and time-consuming procedure than before. It is due to the fact that the Polish Civil Registry no longer accepts the Certificate of Unmarried Status (Constancia de Soltería) issued by the Mexican government. In order to prove that their marital status is single, Mexicans in Poland need to go to the court where they will be given an official decision whether they are able to get married in Poland.
As the procedure is quite lengthy and complicated, we will walk you step by step through everything you need to do. Been there, done that.
When to Start Planning?
From our personal experience, it’s best to start planning everything at least 6 months in advance. Of course, it may be possible to gather all the documents and go through all the process much quicker, but having those few months will probably spare you all the stress and thoughts of “will I make it on time?”.
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1: Get informed
If you’re planning to get married in the Catholic Church, go to your local Parish and talk to the priest about the documents you will need. If you are planning to have a religious ceremony somewhere else, in a church in a different city, you will need to deal with even more documents. But don’t worry, the priest should walk you through the process. We will not cover the church procedures here, but they’ll need to be performed parallelly to the legal ones.
Next, go to the Registry Office (can be any office you like, not necessarily the one designated to your place of domicile) and ask about the requirements. Laws change, and consulting everything beforehand will spare you a lot of stress and doubts. Ask about the requirements, documents, and deadlines. If you’re not planning a religious ceremony, book a date for your civil wedding as soon as possible – there may be a waiting list! And free slots are disappearing really fast, especially if you’d like to get married outside of the Registry Office, for example in a garden, at a restaurant, etc.
Step 2: Gather all the documents
Start with gathering all the necessary documents. As a Mexican, for sure you will need:
- Your Birth Certificate + sworn translation to Polish (at least 2 copies)
- Certificate of Unmarried Status (Constancia de soltería) + sworn translation to Polish
- Valid passport
And if you’re planning to get married in the Catholic Church, you will also need:
- Certificate of Baptism (+ sometimes sworn translation to Polish, depending on the Parish)
- Certificate of Confirmation (+ sometimes sworn translation to Polish, depending on the Parish)
Step 3: File an Application to the Court
As mentioned above, in order to get married, you need to get a decision from the Court that there are no legal reasons for you not to get married. Find the local court (sąd rejonowy) according to your place of living, and file an application consisting of:
- Your Birth Certificate + sworn translation to Polish
- The Birth Certificate of your fiancé/fiancée
- Certificate of Unmarried Status (Constancia de soltería) + sworn translation to Polish
- Copies of your passport and Karta Pobytu (if you currently have one)
- An application where you ask the court to exempt you from the obligation to present a document confirming your legal ability get married (in Polish it’s called: zwolnienie z obowiązku złożenia zaświadczenia o zdolności prawnej do zawarcia małżeństwa). If you’d like to see an example of such application, send us a message: firstname.lastname@example.org or consult with the Registry Office (Urząd Stanu Cywilnego)
Important: If your name is written with accents (like for example: José, Jesús, Mónica or Raúl), make sure you DON’T include them and write your name in English alphabet: Jose, Jesus, Monica or Raul, or rather: just as it appears in your passport and on your birth certificate. If you don’t you may have some problems at the Registry Office.
After filing the application, the court should send you a letter setting a court appointment. In our case, the letter setting the appointment came after about 3 weeks.
However, what if the appointment set is too late? Let’s take our example:
We filed the application on January 9th. In mid-February, we received a letter from the court that set a hearing for May 16th. For us, it was too late as we planned our wedding to take place on June 19th!
Therefore, we filed another application with a request to speed up the hearing and to have it before mid-April. The court replied a few weeks later and set our hearing for March 25th. Success 🙂
Step 4: Attend the court hearing
The judge will give you the decision on the same day, however, you will only be able to pick it up about 2-3 weeks after. Make sure to set an appointment to pick up all the papers – you should also receive the original documents that you attached to your application.
If you do not speak Polish, the court will need to appoint an interpreter, and you have to explicitly ask for one in your application.
Also, if you – just like us – file an additional application to speed up the hearing and receive a positive decision, make sure to call the court a few days before and double check if the interpreter was informed about the change of the date. In our case – he wasn’t! But luckily my fiancé spoke enough Polish to get by. But if he didn’t our case would have been postponed for even longer.
Step 5: Go to the Registry Office
Once you have all the necessary documents, go to the Registry Office. You may spend there either 20 min or 3 hours (like in our case).
During the visit, you will need to decide:
- If you’d like to keep your last name or take the one of your future husband/wife (or have both)
- What will be the last name(s) of your future children. If your name is Torres and your girlfriend is Kowalska, you can have your children named:
- Torres-Kowalski / Torres-Kowalska
- Torres Kowalski / Torres Kowalska
- Kowalski-Torres / Kowalska-Torres
- Kowalski Torres / Kowalska Torres
- Kowalski / Kowalska
Keep in mind that if the Polish surname is declined (so ends with -ski for male and -ska for female, or -cki for male and -cka for female, etc.), the Polish Registry will probably force you to keep this declension. We’ve heard that may cause problems in Mexico… but we haven’t verified that yet.
At the end of the visit, the officer will inform you that you will be able to pick up your papers in about a week. And that’s it! If you’re having a Catholic Church wedding, you’ll need to hand them over to the priest and he’ll take care of the rest.
Double check your timeline
Seems like a lot to do? Just in case here’s a short summary of all the things that need to be done:
- ** In case of a civil wedding: Go to the Registry Office and book a date
⏰Free slots disappear really fast. Book yours at least 6 months in advance, especially if you want to get married in e.g. a restaurant, park, garden, museum or somewhere else.
- Gather all your documents
You will need your birth certificate & certificate of unmarried status together with their sworn translations to Polish. You may request the documents at the Mexican embassy, or your family member living in Mexico can get them for you and send them to you via e.g. DHL.
⏰In Mexico, the documents are given on the spot and DHL can deliver then even on the next day. The sworn translators can take up to a few days to translate all the documents.
- File an application to the court
Go to your court (sąd rejonowy) and file an application in which you ask the court to exempt you from the obligation to present a document confirming your legal ability get married. In the application you should explicitly ask to appoint you an interpreter in case you need one.
⏰Keep in mind that the court will most likely set your hearing within 2-4 months from the date of filing the application. You may speed it up by explicitly stating in the application when is the deadline for your hearing or filing in an additional petition.
- Attend the court hearing
The hearing will last about 20 min and the decision will be issued on the same day
⏰You will only be able to pick up the decision on paper 2-3 weeks after the hearing.
- Go to the Registry Office
Present all the documents: your birth certificate & certificate of unmarried status (with their translations) and the court decision.
⏰You will be able to pick up the final documents about a week after.
- ** In case of a Catholic Church wedding: Hand all the papers over to the priest
After the wedding, the priest has 5 days to file all the papers in the Registry Office. You do not need to have an additional civil wedding.
Good luck! You may need it 🙂
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