How to Marry a Cuban in Cuba if You Are an American Citizen

Marriage in Old Havana

by momo / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Marriage to a Cuban national in Cuba is an overly bureaucratic and arduous process, which can be very confusing. You will likely need the following documents translated and notarized, and certified by the State Department:

  • If you are single (never married):
    • Birth Certificate,
    • Affidavit of Single Status (not the same as a Marriage Search Certificate).
  • If you are divorced:
    • Birth Certificate,
    • Divorce Certificate,
    • Affidavit of Single Status if divorced for more than 2 years.
  • If you are a widower:
    • Birth Certificate,
    • Marriage Certificate,
    • Death Certificate of former spouse.
  • Note: Your name must match exactly in every document or you will need an Affidavit of Identity – translated and probably notarized – explaining why not. The Affidavit of Identity must not be more than 6 months old.

Remember that before you can get a translation for a document issued in the US, you need to take the following steps:

  • You must first get your document certified in the State of residence in the U.S. For example in Florida you must:
    1. Include a cover letter naming the country in which the documents will be used. Cuba in this case.
    2. Enclose the required fee.
    3. Enclose a SASE in order to have the documents returned to you. If using a courier use a pre-paid air bill with your order pre-addressed FROM YOU to YOU.
    4. If using U.S. mail send your package to:

      Department of State
      Division of Corporations
      Apostille Certification
      P.O. Box 6800
      Tallahassee, FL 32314-6800

    5. If using a courier send your package to:

      Division of Corporations
      Clifton Building, Apostille Section
      2661 Executive Center Circle
      Tallahassee, FL 32301
      Phone: 850-245-6945

  • Each state will have a different certification process so check your state’s website for certification of documents and apostilles. You must have your documents certified by the secretary of state in the state in which your documents were issued.
  • Once certified at the state level, you must then have your documents authenticated by the federal State Department. The requirements of the State Department for authentication of State and Local documents – like marriage, birth, divorce, & death certificates – are as follows:
    1. You must submit the original document with a raised and/or stamped seal.
    2. The document must be a certified original.
    3. It must be certified by the Secretary of State from the state in which the documents were recorded (issued).
  • You can request authentication services from the State Department in 3 ways:
    1. By Mail: You will need to submit
      1. Form DS-4914: filled in and do not forget to state document’s country-of-use (Cuba)
      2. Documents
      3. Fees
      4. Pre-paid Self-addressed envelope
      5. Mail to:

        Office of Authentications
        U.S. Department of State
        44132 Mercure Cir, P.O. Box 1206
        Sterling, VA  20166-1206

    2. Walk-In: Drop-off and pick-up Monday to Friday 8 AM – 9 AM
    3. Appointment: For emergency cases only. Monday to Friday; 10 AM to 12 PM and 1 PM to 2:30 PM
  • Your documents are now ready to be translated for use in Cuba.

The final step in getting your documents ready is to have them legalized at the Cuban embassy or consulate. As Cuba is not a signatory to the Apostille Convention, they have to be legalized at the Cuban embassy in Washington DC for them to be accepted for use in Cuba. This usually takes up to 4 weeks. As well, each document must be translated by a certified translator who must certify or notarize that they have translated the document in question. This should be done before the documents are legalized at the Cuban embassy in Washington DC. 

All applicants will require these documents; however the process for obtaining the necessary certifications varies by state, which is why the comprehensive list is not listed here. Please contact us for further information.

When marrying in Cuba, your Cuban partner must present the following documents:

  • Their identity card,
  • If divorced, a divorce certificate or a notarized copy,
  • If female and recently divorced for less than 300 days, your Cuban partner will need a medical certificate stating whether or not she is pregnant.
  • If a widow, a marriage certificate and a death certificate.

In Cuba, marriages are Civil and held at the Consultoria Juridica Internacional, quasi-private branch of the Cuban Justice Ministry located in Havana. You will need 2 adult witnesses who are not related to either you or your Cuban partner. They must be functionally fluent in Spanish and present the following:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Identity Document or Passport number (if foreign)

You will have to pay several fees, including a stamp fee, and will receive 3 copies of your marriage certificate.

Remember that rules are being modified almost day by day when it comes to Cuban-American relations, so the following information is subject to revision. Check back often for any updates. And please contact us if you have any questions.


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