Jamaica might just be the perfect place for a destination wedding. White sand beaches, crystal clear water, and the lively Caribbean spirit provide all the ingredients for an unforgettable dream wedding.
The marriage process in Jamaica is relatively straightforward but does require some preparation. Get these tasks done early so on the big day, you have one less thing to worry about.
Jamaica Marriage License Laws
It is not necessary for either party to be a Jamaican citizen in order to marry on the island, but you do have to wait 24 hours after arriving in Jamaica for the wedding to take place, provided that all of the paperwork has already been completed.
Unlike in some countries, there is no blood test required to obtain a marriage license in Jamaica, but marriages on the island have a few restrictions:
- Both parties must be 18 years old; 16- and 17-year-olds need parental consent in order to be married.
- Same-sex marriage is not legal in Jamaica.
According to the local U.S. embassy, a legal marriage in Jamaica will produce a license that is also honored in the United States. Laws are subject to change, so confirm any updated information with the Ministry of Justice and the U.S. Embassy in Jamaica.
The Marriage Process in Jamaica
Couples must first pick up two forms from the Jamaican Ministry of Justice: a blank Form of Declaration and a Minister's License. These forms can be picked up in person at the Ministry of Justice office in Kingston or downloaded from the Ministry of Justice website.
A declarant (such as a friend or family member) fills out and signs the Form of Declaration. Bring the blank Minister's License page to the Stamp Duty Office—also in Kingston—and pay the small fee to get the license stamped.
Bring these completed documents back to the Ministry of Justice for processing, along with the following documents for the bride and groom:
- Photo ID such as a passport or driver's license
- Birth certificate which includes father's name
- A divorce decree or death certificate, if previously married
- Parental consent form for minors
- Documents that show legal name changes, if applicable
Bring original documents along with photocopies. If your documents are not in English, they must be translated by a certified translator. The Ministry often processes these documents on the same day, and will then provide you with a marriage license for your wedding that is valid for 90 days.
Legal Officiants at Jamaican Weddings
If you don't arrange with clergy to officiate at your wedding, you can request a marriage officer from the Registrar General's Office to preside over your vows. This can take place in an office or a destination selected by the couple. Marriage officers set their own rates for performing a wedding ceremony, so make sure to ask before booking.
After the Ceremony
Once you've both said, "I do," there's still one more important step. The license that the marriage officer or officiant signs and gives to you at the wedding is not a legal document. It is the marriage officer's responsibility to register the marriage with the Registrar General's Office. After a few days to allow time for processing, newlyweds can purchase a certified copy of their marriage certificate from the same office.