Can foreigners get married in Argentina, Gay or Straight.? • This question has been in the air, and in the thoughts of gay press, tour operators, hotel chains and airlines worldwide since the Same Sex Marriage (locally referred as Matrimonio Igualitario ) law was passed in Argentina, last July 2010, becoming the second country in America and first in Latin America to grant this rights to same sex couples. ( Law 26.618, Matrimonio Civil ) .
The answer is IT DEPENDS.!!!
After a very interesting meeting with Dr. Alejandro Lanus, General Director of the Civil Registry of Buenos Aires, and Lic. Carlos Gutierrez, Executive Director of the Tourism Office of the City of Buenos Aires, these are my conclusion that I would like to share with all of you…
(picture above from right to left: Lic. Carlos Gutierrez – Executive Director Tourism Office City of Buenos Aires, Dr. Alejandro Lanus – General Director of the Civil Registry of Buenos Aires and me, Carlos Melia )
Here are some of the key points to take into account before planning your holidays to Argentina and tidying the knot at the beautiful city of Buenos Aires, or on top of the Perito Moreno Glacier, within the Iguazu Falls or in a romantic villa at the wine country of Mendoza.
I want to make very clear that all the concepts expressed from now on are my own interpretation of the facts, and not affirmations or statements by any of the authorities mentioned above. Also I am approaching this subject with the main focus on tourism and marketing, not on the political or social aspect.
Law 2393 of Civil Matrimony was passed and approved in late November 1888, and implemented in April 1889. Now this law has been recently reviewed and modified, by a revolutionary national desicion, including Same Sex Marriage in its text recognizing and granting full rights and benefits to the LGBT community.
(1). Can Foreigners get married in Argentina.? ( Gay or Straight )
YES they can. BUT… the most important requisite, is that at least one of the grooms has to either be a native Argentinean or a Resident of the country. The Argentine law does not differentiate between Argentinean or Foreigners, the classification is between Resident ( Argentinean or Foreigner ) and Non Residents.
(2). Are requisites and effects the same for Straight Marriage and/or Same Sex Marriage.?
YES 100% equal. Same laws, requisites and effects apply regardless of their sex or orientation. ( Law 26.618, Article 2 )
(3). Marriage Scenario ( YES or NO )
Marriage Scenario #01 • a Foreigner wants to marry an Argentinean with valid residency in the Argentinean territory. ( YES. It is possible since at least one of them is a valid resident with residency in the Argentinean territory ).
Marriage Scenario #02 • a Foreigner wants to marry another Foreigner with valid residency in the Argentinean territory ( YES. It is possible since at least one of them is a valid resident with residency in the Argentinean territory ).
Marriage Scenario #03 • two Foreigners want to marry without a valid residency in the Argentinean territory ( NO. It isn’t possible since none of the grooms have a valid residency in the Argentinean territory ). The only solution would be that they go through the process of getting a valid residency.
(4). Residency and Valid Addresses
The Argentinean Civil Code determines ( Art. 89 ) that the real address of a person, is that, where he/she has established his/her residency and businesses. ( Art. 92 ) states that, for a room or space to be considered an address, the permanence of the individual at that address, must be habitual and not accidental, regardless of the intention of constituting that address as the permanent one. This is very important point, for those cases where tourists that where staying in a Hotel or Cruise, have tried in the past to give prove of their address in our territory, this being denied by the local authorities for their accidental conception.
Applying for a Resident VISA is not as difficult as in other countries, BUT it does take some time. All visas require a consular interview in your home country and documents from your home country. Therefore, it is impossible to obtain your visa while you are inside Argentina. In all cases you will need to apply for your visa at least two months (three or four is preferred) before you intend to arrive. Complications can delay your visa. Remember, you are dealing with a bureaucracy and there is no incentive for the government to process your application quickly. Also usually takes clients about a month to gather, notarize, and legalize all the paperwork required by the Department of Migrations. You cannot get a DNI ( local ID ) without getting your residency. The fact is, the DNI is the identity document that is given to all Argentines. If you don’t have a residency visa, you don’t have the legal right to live in the country. So, you won’t be able to get a DNI.
(5). How may you apply to get your turn at the City Hall “ Registro Civil “ to get married in Argentina.?
If you are eligible as mentioned in section (3), (4) and all your documents and papers are in order, you may apply to get your turn to get married, 28 days in advance to the date the couple wishes to celebrate the civil matrimony at any of official branches of the Registro Civil ( Monday to Fridays 09.30AM to 02.30PM ). Turns can be taken either with the presence of one or both of the grooms. The cost to get your Marriage Document is Pesos 30 ( approx. USD 9 ).
Requisites: There are multiple options depending on your previous marital status, age, among other. But the basic situation of two single same sex individuals that are 18 years of age or older… You need to present (1). DNI where states that at least one of them is a valid Resident of the Argentinean Territory, (2). Prenuptial Medical Tests and (3). 02 Witnesses of 18 years old or older with valid residency in the territory or province where the marriage will be constituted.
(6). If you get married in Argentina will your Marital Status be recognized worldwide.?
NO. Your Marital Status will only be recognized at those countries and territories where the Same Sex Marriage law has been passed and implemented. (for example a gay couple married in Argentina, will be recognized a so in Canada or Spain, and vice-versa).
Summarizing, this law was passed only 2 month ago and the implementation is still in progress. Next September 26, all the National authorities of the Civil Registry will get together in the city of Buenos Aires to share their experiences and to come to a mutual and homogeneous position in this matter. At the moment Argentina is receiving many Same Sex Marriage requests by neighbor countries, such as Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile, Uruguay which are all either denied, pending or approved according to each individual analysis.
My point of view on this matter is. We are happy and honored that Argentina has been the second country in the American continent to pass this law. This shows to the world the attitude and openness of our society, despite the real reasons why this law was approved that are not subject of this article. But moving from the social relevance to the economic effect, at the end of the day, all Argentinean authorities, City and National Tourism representatives and the private sector will have to understand and come to an agreement that this, as for today, has put Argentina back in the hot spot as one of the TOP 05 gay destinations in the world, and that in the incorrect instrumentation and administration of this law and its effects, would represent the loss of a multimillion dollar business that Argentina might miss in the hands of other countries of the region.
Please for those interested on further information do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have teamed up with a savvy group of lawyers, organizations and wedding planners, to assist you and your partner through out this process. CM
(*) I want to thank Dr. Claudio Iglesias Darriba, who has shared and explained to me all the legal aspects and details of this revolutionary law that was passed in Argentina allowing same sex couples to get married.
(**) Law 26.618, Matromonio Civil ( July 15th. 2010 ) click here