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Weddings Legal Marriages

Legal situation

As in most other countries, there are a number of legal requirements for Notarised Legal Weddings to take place in Cape Verde.

Information provided by Registry Office in Santa Maria - February 2023


1.The bride and groom have to go to the official entities in their country to request the birth certificate of each one of them (usually at the public conservatory), in which the name of the parents and the certificate of matrimonial capacity of the bride and groom are included. Then go to an official and certified translator, who will translate the documents into Portuguese and authenticate them (can be done in cv). - THEY MUST BE ORIGINALS AND NOT COPIES

2. Then you have to authenticate them at the Cape Verdean embassy or consular delegation or Apostille (a kind of conservatory). Together with these two documents, you have to present the copy of the passports and the identification document of the godparents (there must be at least 2 and at most 4 witnesses that will be present on the wedding day). These don't need to be authenticated, but on the wedding day, they have to bring the originals.

After gathering all these documents, you have 2 options:

Option A: Either they come to Cape Verde, present the original documents in person to the notary in Santa Maria and arrange the date. This must be done 3 months in advance at the most, or at least 5 days before the date, but this is not convenient (the earlier the better).

Option B: Ask the Cape Verde consulate in their country to officially send the original documents to the conservatory of Santa Maria. NOTE: The consulate does not instruct the process, only sends it. They instruct the process directly here at the conservatory. Either the bride and groom go there, or send a proxy. The fiancés should deliver the original documents in person or send them by mail + the power of attorney for a third party to deliver and deal with everything (Cabo MICE) because the notary will consider them as copies, if sent by the fiancés through email. Only the consulate or embassy can send them by email. *All the process must be done in national territory, that is, they can't ask the embassy to deal with everything in union with the local registrar (instruct the process + set a date). Either the bride and groom attend or send a proxy.

3. After receiving the original documents, as I wrote above, the notary in Santa Maria will analyse them and no further hearing needs to be scheduled. Hearings can only be scheduled in extreme cases, such as doubts, or problems with the wedding date, to make an exception, for example.

After analyzing the documents, the registry office calls to confirm whether or not it has been approved and to go and set the date (it takes a few days). Normally, they only don't approve if there are impediments (if they are family members, if they were married but the divorce has not yet been registered, etc.) or if the documents are not correct. She decides if the bride and groom are fit to marry and sets the date - it can take about a week between the hearing and being able to set the date. In other words, there is always a risk that the Registrar will not approve the wedding or will not be available at the date and time chosen by the bride and groom - which is very risky if you prepare all the logistics of booking hotels, venues, catering, flights, moving all the family...etc.... * They only perform weddings on Fridays, so you must book in advance (but you can ask for an audience to book another day in extreme cases).

4. If the bride and groom still want to get married in a civil ceremony in Cape Verde, it is recommended to deal with the process 5 to 3 months before the wedding date. (The time to deal with the process depends on the law of their country).

5. If the ceremony takes place at the registry office from Monday to Friday, between 8am and 4pm the bride and groom pay $4,250. If the ceremony takes place during these hours or outside them, but outside the registry office, they pay around $9,775 + travel expenses of the notary (normal taxi fares, even if the ceremony takes place at the Hotel Morabeza).

6. At the ceremony, the bride and groom and witnesses sign the marriage document. If it is during opening hours and at the registry office, they take the document with them immediately. If not, on the following working day, within opening hours. For other languages, the document must be translated and authenticated by a translator; as for the apostille, some translators do it, others don't; so, if they don't do it, the bride and groom must go to the asparagus registry office).

TIMETABLE DATES/POSSIBLE DAYS FOR THE CIVIL CEREMONY: Friday - on or outside of the registry office hours - other days only in very exceptional cases (only spoken with the registry through an audience)

NOTE: *Exchanging of Rings at a Civil Wedding is optional!


1. Hand over the documents in person and wait for the notary's ok to set a date (same requirements as above apply):

- Birth certificate of the couple from the country of origin - certified by the CV embassy or Apostille)

- Certificate of matrimonial capacity of the foreign bride and groom - the foreign bride and groom must deal directly in the country of origin.

-Then go to an official and certified translator, who translates the documents into Portuguese and authenticates them (can be done in CV).


-Then they must be authenticated at the Cape Verde embassy or consular delegation

- Copy of the identification document of the bride and groom

- Copy of the identification document of the godparents (minimum 2, maximum 4 witnesses)

- Prices are the same as described above

There is always a risk that the notary will not accept the marriage if you have any impediments or incorrect documents.


You can contact the Notory Office or Registration Office at any time, for an update on legal marriages or other matter in person. Contact by telephone or email and in the Portuguese language.

SAL ISLAND (Santa Maria): Conservatória dos Registos e Cartório Notarial de Santa Maria, Hotel Pontão - Santa Maria, CP 4206 , Cabo Verde

Initial enquiries can be made in person, in Portuguese, (with Natalina) at the Notory/Conservatorio office in Santa Maria (situated at Hotel Pontão). (Visual sign only: Ouril Pontão Hotel)

Tel: (+238) 242 1996.

VOIP: (333) 4205

Or email: conservatoria.cartoriosm@gov.cv

Official Notory (Sal Island) - Miguel Joao Duarte (O Conservador / Notário)

Or by telephone ( speak in Portuguese), to Espargos, Sal Island:

TEL: (+238) 241 3725 (Notory Office - Espargos)

TEL: (+238) 241 1156 (Registration Office - Espargos)

Santiago Island - Praia - Cabo Verde

You can contact the Notory Office or Registration Office  in Santiago for an update. Enquiries on marriages or other official matters. Contact best made in Portuguese language:


EMAIL: (FATIMA. A. MONTEIRO @ RNI . GOV . CV) email in lower case:


Pre 2012

In 2012 I attended a meeting with and official translator, with the then Notory Officiant in Espargos about legal marriages in Cape Verde. The notes from that meeting are held within the FAQ's- Weddings section.

Symbolic Ceremonies on Sal

If you are considering a symbolic wedding ceremony (non-civil wedding) the easiest option for non-residents of Cape Verde (tourists/foreigners) is to have their marriage notarised and legalised in their own country then arrange for a symbolic ceremony on Sal, with us.

We arrange Symbolic Religious Blessings, Renewal of Vows and Love and Devotion Readings on Sal Island. These can be 'Simplicity Package' or 'Family and Friends' ceremonies, the latter are 'Bespoke Ceremonies'. More information under 'Quick Links' or via Weddings Cape Verde

Some couples may choose to have a Religious (symbolic) Matrimonial Blessing arranged by us with the Pastor of the Evangelical/Nazarene Church on the island of Sal. Others may prefer a less religious ceremony at which we use a Layperson to perform the symbolic reading.

Religious Blessing (symbolic) with the Evangelical/Nazarene Church.

We at 'Cape Verde Weddings', have worked with the Pastor of the Nazarene Church (Evangelical) to provide couples with a religious symbolic marriage blessing on Sal Island.

The marriage performed by the Pastor of the Evangelical/Nazarene Church is a Christian Religious 'blessing'. This 'blessing' is not a legal marriage, as the Church is not recognised by Cape Verde Law for providing legal marriages. This 'blessing' with the Pastor therefor cannot be Notarised. You would have to have a separate legal civil ceremony performed by and at the Notary/Conservatorio or, performed with the Registrar, at another venue.

Choosing an outside venue (not at the Registry Office) where you wish to hold your ceremony will need co-ordinating. We can help with organising the ceremony at another venue.


Weddings - FAQ - Legal Marriage - Notes pre-2012

Simplicity Ceremony Sal Island

Family and Friends Ceremony Sal Island

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