American citizens who wish to be married in Haiti should first pay a visit to the Civil Registrar where they wish to get married. The Civil Registrar will request proof of identity and a list of potential witnesses.
A mandated blood test and four-to-five day waiting period is often waived for American citizens but may be required by the Civil Registrar.
The couple may purchase an “Acte de Marriage Civil” from the Bureau des Contributions for approximately 350 gourdes (usually it is provided by the Civil Registrar). They should then present the following items at the Bureau de l’Officier d’Etat Civil and make an appointment for the marriage ceremony.
- Identification Cards/Passports, Birth Certificates
- Blood test (if not waived) performed at the “Institut du Bien Etre Social”
- List of at least two witnesses (Witnesses must have ID Cards or Passports)
- Certified Copy of Divorce Certificate if previously married or of Death Certificate if previous spouse died.
the Officier d’Etat Civil will makes an appointment for the marriage ceremony within 15 days (two Sundays have to go by).
The Acte de Marriage may be authenticated by the Consular Section after the civil ceremony for a US $50 fee. The notarization is only an authentication of the signature of the presiding civil registrar, not a judgment on the part of the authenticating officer as to the validity or truth of the contents of the document. It may, however, be useful to have the ‘Acte de Marriage’ authenticated to facilitate its acceptance by agencies in the United States.
Divorce in Haiti
The Haitian Office du Divorce des Etrangers has provided the following information concerning Haitian divorce laws for foreigners:
Bilateral Divorce: (mutual consent)
The plaintiff appears in person in court to submit the following documents:
- Letter of information, executed and completed by the plaintiff
- Marriage certificate, or a copy, or a notarized affidavit
- The defendant’s waiver, power of attorney and submission to jurisdiction, executed and completed by the defendant before a notary public
- A copy of the separation agreement (not mandatory)
- Identification: can be a passport, certificate of naturalization, alien card, driver’s license, etc.
The Haitian court will render a judgment of divorce 24 hours after the plaintiff’s appearance. The client receives two copies of the divorce decree. The person obtaining the divorce may choose to have the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy authenticate the signature of the Haitian official granting the divorce. This service costs $50.00 U.S.
The plaintiff must submit the same documents requested for a bilateral divorce, with the exception of the waiver listed in number 3 above. In the case of a unilateral divorce, the defendant does not execute a waiver. He/she does not submit to the Haitian jurisdiction and is not represented by an attorney at the hearing.
The judge notifies the defendant that an action for divorce has been instituted against him or her immediately after the initiation of the proceedings. Defendants living in the Western Hemisphere must respond within 12 days. Residents of other continents are granted 20 days in which to respond. If the defendant fails to respond within the required time period, the judgment is rendered by default.
In both types of divorce actions, the plaintiff may leave immediately after his or her court appearance. Decrees will be mailed upon completion.
The legality of a Haitian divorce may be challenged in certain states of the U.S. Therefore, persons contemplating getting a divorce in Haiti are recommended to get legal advice concerning the validity of such divorces in their state of residence.
The cost of bilateral and unilateral divorces is approximately 2,500 and 3,000 gourdes respectively. Those who use the services of a private attorney will find that the cost will vary from 3,000 to as much as 5,000 gourdes.
The certification by the Consular Section is only an authentication of the signature of the presiding civil registrar. It conveys no judgment on the part of the authenticating officer of the validity or truth of the contents of the certificate.
Office du Divorce des Etrangers, Ministère de la Justice, Avenue Charles Summer, Port-au-Prince. Tel: 2245-3099
An extract of the official divorce decree may be obtained in approximately one week from the Office du Divorce at cost of 500 gourdes.