CIVIL REQUIREMENTS

 

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GENERAL  

 

Persons wishing to be married in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas must obtain a marriage license from the Government of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Couples coming from outside of the Bahamas must be in the Bahamas for one (1) day before application for a marriage license can be made.

 

 Application forms for a marriage license are available in the parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Nassau. The priest or deacon who has agreed to assist at your wedding will help you fill out the application form. After this form has been filled out and signed, the couple must bring it to the Registrar General’s Office along with your passports, birth certificates or a valid driver’s license. At present, the fee for the local marriage license in The Bahamas is $100.00 US Dollars.

 

 A.     BAHAMIANS  

                                            I.      Both parties must appear before the Registrar General (in Nassau or Freeport) or Family Island Administrator for that district, and must present photo identification in the form of either a voter’s card or a passport – an approved civil service identification card or government corporation identification card is also acceptable (along with a certified copy of the birth certificate).

 

                                         II.      If either party is divorced then that party must present before the Registrar (or Administrator) a certified copy of their divorce decree absolute and final. The certified copy will be retrieved by the Registrar General.

 

                                       III.      If either party is widowed then the individual must present a certified copy of the spouse’s death certificate. It is essential that the surviving spouse’s name be printed on the certificate as the spouse of the deceased.

 

B.     US CITIZENS 

For identification: U.S. Citizens can present passport, State or Federal identification cards or a birth certificate and valid driver’s license.  

 

                                                    I.      If either parties are single and never married, then they must obtain an affidavit to that effect, sworn before any Notary Public or Justice of the Peace here in The Bahamas.

 

                                                 II.      If either party is divorced he/she must present a certified copy of the Decree Final (not a photocopy). This document will be retained and kept by the Registrar General. This document must be certified by the court or registry where it was issued – an Attorney or Notary Public cannot certify the divorce document.

 

                                               III.      If widowed, the surviving spouse must present a certified copy of the spouse’s death certificate, which should make mention of the applicant as being the surviving spouse. In some jurisdictions the death certificate does not include a provision for the surviving spouse; in these cases we allow the applicants to swear to an affidavit (before a notary public here in the Bahamas) stating that although his/her name does not appear on the certificate, that he/she was indeed the spouse of the deceased.

 

C.     CANADIANS

For identification: Canadian citizens can present a passport or birth certificate and a picture driver’s license.

 

                                                  I.      If either parties are single and never married, then they can present an affidavit from a Canadian Solicitor/Commissioner for Oaths.

 

                                               II.      If either party is divorced he/she must present a certified copy of the Decree Final (not a photocopy). This document will be retained and kept by the Registrar General. This document must be certified by the court or registry where it was issued – an Attorney or Notary Public cannot certify the divorce document.

 

                                             III.      If widowed, the surviving spouse must present a certified copy of the spouse’s death certificate, which should make mention of the applicant as being the surviving spouse. In some jurisdictions the death certificate does not include a provision for the surviving spouse; in these cases we allow the applicants to swear to an affidavit (before a notary public here in the Bahamas) stating that although his/her name does not appear on the certificate, that he/she was indeed the spouse of the deceased. He/she may also present an official death certificate as issued by the undertaker or funeral home (this is the accepted official practice in some areas of Canada).

 

D.     UK AND THE COMMONWEALTH CITIZENS

For identification: UK and Commonwealth citizens can present official passports.

 

                                            I.      If either parties are single and never married, then they can present an affidavit from a Solicitor.

 

                                         II.      If either party is divorced then that party must present before the Registrar (or Administrator) a certified copy of their divorce decree absolute and final. The certified copy will be retrieved by the Registrar General.

 

                                       III.      If either party is widowed then the individual must present a certified copy of the spouse’s death certificate. It is essential that the surviving spouse’s name be printed on the certificate as the spouse of the deceased.

 

E.      JAMAICANS 

For identification: Jamaican citizens can present passports or travel documents. If they have valid work permits, a copy should be presented (original copy will not be kept), but it is not mandatory.

 

                                            I.      If either parties are single and never married, then they can present an affidavit from the Jamaican Consul here in Nassau.

 

                                         II.      If either party is divorced then that party must present before the Registrar (or Administrator) a certified copy of their divorce decree absolute and final. The certified copy will be retrieved by the Registrar General.

 

                                       III.      If either party is widowed then the individual must present a certified copy of the spouse’s death certificate. It is essential that the surviving spouse’s name be printed on the certificate as the spouse of the deceased.

 

F.      HAITIANS

For identification: Haitian citizens can present passports or travel documents. If they have valid work permits, a copy should be presented (original copy will not be kept) but it is not mandatory.

 

                                            I.      If either parties are single and never married, then they can present an affidavit from the Haitian Embassy.

 

                                         II.      If either party is divorced then that party must present before the Registrar (or Administrator) a certified copy of their divorce decree absolute and final. The certified copy will be retrieved by the Registrar General.

 

                                       III.      If either party is widowed then the individual must present a certified copy of the spouse’s death certificate. It is essential that the surviving spouse’s name be printed on the certificate as the spouse of the deceased.

 

G.     EUROPEANS

 

For identification: most European countries – passport  

 

Please note that in most European countries there is a system of registration called “The Family Register” where vital information regarding births, deaths, marriages, divorces, places of residency of each individual are kept in one central place.

 

 We will accept certified copies of entries in these registers as proof of single, divorced and widowed status. Divorcees can also present certified copies of their Final Divorce Decrees.

 

 If the certified copy of any document is in a language other than English, then the applicants must present both the original as well as the certified translation which must be under oath and authenticated (by apostille).

 

If there are any questions concerning these Civil Requirements, please write to the:

 

Registrar General

PO Box N532

Nassau, NP

The Bahamas

 

Tel: (242) 322-8038

 

  

 

Getting Married in The Bahamas

The Sacrament of Marriage

."The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament."84   

  The Catechism of The Catholic Church; 1601

 

What you need to know?

 

 

Requirements for a couple to be married in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Nassau:

 

  1. The couple wishing to be married in the Archdiocese of Nassau must first contact their own pastor of the parish they presently attend. In the case of a mixed marriage, where one of the parties is not a Catholic, then the pastor of the person who is a Catholic must be approached. This should be done at least six months prior to the date of the marriage.

 

  1. The pastor will begin the process of investigation, the prenuptial questionnaire will be filled out and all the necessary documents, such as, baptismal and confirmation certificates will be given at this time. The couple will be enrolled in a Pre-Cana or a marriage preparation course, which most dioceses provide. This must be done in the diocese where you live.

 

  1. The couple must contact a priest or a deacon in the Archdiocese of Nassau to reserve a parish church, date and time to have the wedding done as they desire and plan. This should be done at least six (6) months in advance. See Parish Directory for a list of priests, deacons and administrators in this Archdiocese. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Nassau is constituted of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, which is made up of many islands.

 

  1. Please note that all weddings in this Archdiocese must be held in a church. Please do not be fooled by advertising that suggests that weddings take place in caves, hotels, gardens, malls or on beaches. In the Catholic Church, weddings must be celebrated in church.

 

  1. It is the responsibility of the pastor of the parish where the Catholic party is a member to make all the necessary preparations and investigations according to Canon Law.

 

It means, then, that the parish priest must undertake the investigation, obtain a dispensation, if required, and solicit all the necessary documents required for a valid marriage in the Catholic Church.

 

  1. All of the above information and documentation should be sent to the Chancery where the Catholic party resides and where the investigation and preparation takes place. Your Chancery Office will issue the Nihil Obstat and send to our Chancery all the documents along with the Testimonial Letters. When these documents arrive here at our Chancery Office a visum est will be granted if all the documents are in order.

 

The following documents must be obtained as part of your preparation to be married in this Archdiocese:  

 

Completed prenuptial questionnaires

 

  1. A letter from each party’s pastor, giving his permission for the couple to be married in the Archdiocese of Nassau.

 

  1. A letter or certificate stating that the couple has received the proper marriage instructions and preparation.

 

  1. A baptismal certificate from each party’s parish of baptism. These certificates should be recent, i.e. issued within six (6) months prior to the wedding.

 

  1. A letter from each party attesting that he/she is free to marry. This may be done by their parents or by close relatives or friends who have known the person for most of his/her life.

 

  1. This affidavit must be signed by two (2) witnesses.

 

 When all documents have been collected, the local parish priest of the parish church where the couple worship, the pastor who is doing the preparation for this marriage, must submit all of these documents directly to his diocesan chancery office. The Chancellor of your diocese must issue a Nihil Obstat before forwarding these documents to the Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Nassau. May we suggest that in sending these documents to us, you choose a service where your documents can be traced if lost (UPS/ FEDEX/DHL). It is very risky to send these documents to us by regular mail as they can get lost.

 

Once the documents have been received in this archdiocese, they will be reviewed to make sure that nothing has been left out. They will then be sent to the priest or the deacon in the Archdiocese who has agreed to perform the wedding.

 

 Your documents should arrive in our Chancery Office at least one month prior to the planned date of marriage.

 

 Once we are satisfied that the documents are all in order, a visum est will be issued by this archdiocese. 

 

 Completed documents should be sent to the following address:

 

The Office of the Chancellor

 Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Nassau

 Archdiocesan Pastoral Centre

 West Street

 P.O. Box N 8187

 Nassau, Bahamas

 

Phone: (242) 322-4533

            (242) 322-7744

             (242) 322-8919

 

Fax:    (242) 322-2599

The Office of the Chancellor
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Nassau
Archdiocesan Pastoral Centre
West Street
P.O. Box N 8187
Nassau, Bahamas
   
   

 

 

© 2017 Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Nassau, Bahamas. All Rights Reserved.