How to get Ordained in Puerto Rico to Officiate
Written and reviewed by the wedding law liaison team at the Universal Life Church.
Welcome to the Puerto Rico marriage laws guide. Being the officiant at a wedding is a great honor and responsibility - which is why we've assembled this page to give guidance to ministers and couples. To ensure everything goes as planned on the big day, we encourage you to follow the steps laid out below. The page will explain how to become a wedding minister, how to marry someone, and how to ensure that the ceremony is legal in Puerto Rico.
Here are the basic steps to follow for officiating a wedding:
Getting Ordained in Puerto Rico
Getting ordained to officiate weddings as a Universal Life Church minister is the easiest step in the process. You simply need to fill out all the required fields on the Online Ordinaion Request form and submit to be granted instant confirmation. We believe that your faith and calling are your personal business and you are free to continue down your own path even as a ULC minister. The ULC is recognized throughout the United States of America, including its territories such as Puerto Rico! Just click below to get started.
How Do You Perform a Wedding in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico has a centralizaed registration process for weddings taking place anywhere in the territory. You and the couple will need to contact both the Departamento de Hacienda and the Demographic Registrar in order to make the ceremony legally binding. As the officiating minister, you'll want to ask what church documents you should provide to perform the wedding. Keep in mind that whatever it is they tell you they need, we've made available in the Minister Store on our website. Listed below is the contact information for those two offices:
Departamento de Hacienda
10 Paseo Covadonga
San Juan, PR 00901 (Phone: 787.721.2020)
500 Ochoa Bld Tanca St
Old San Juan PR 00902 (Phone: 787.767.9120)
Puerto Rico Wedding Officiant Requirements
After you've spoken with the local marriage officials, just log back into your account on the website and pick up whatever supplies were asked of you. Based on the feedback we've received from our ministers in Puerto Rico, we recommend both the Official Letter of Good Standing and the Credential of Ministry.
Please keep in mind that there are some additional personal requirements that have nothing to do with ULC. This would likely include you government-issued I.D., a 2x2 passport-style photo of yourself, an IRS stamp, and the couple themselves will probably need to be physically present during the submission of these items.
This process requires a higher degree of efficieny than most locations, so be sure once you and the couple know what you need to do, where, and with what time frame, that you plan out all your moves in advance.
How to Get a Puerto Rico Marriage License
All marriage licenses for weddings in Puerto Rico are issued at the Demographic Registrar in Old San Juan. While it is the couple's duty to pick up the marriage license, you as their minister can give them a heads up that they will need to submit many items in a short span of time so they will need to plan accordingly. The couple should call the office to get exact and current requirements, but they should expect to bring something along the lines of a photo I.D., an affidavit of intent to marry, and copies of birth certificates. The couple will also be required to undergo a medical examination by a doctor on the island.
Once the marriage license is obtained, the wedding must take place within 10 days. After the ceremony has been performed, you have an additional 10 days to submit the license back to the Demographic Registrar.
Puerto Rico's Top Wedding Venue
Condado Vanderbilt Hotel
How Do You Officiate a Wedding?
Now that you and the couple have jumped through all the necessary hoops to register, you're ready to perform the wedding! If you need some help with this, then be sure to take advantage of the resources linked below. Many ULC ministers have utilized these tips to become professional officiants!
Signing the Marriage License in Puerto Rico
You're almost there. There's just one more step, and it's incredibly important. To make the wedding legally binding, all parties involved must fill out and sign their respective sections of the marriage license. If you are asked, you title is "minister" and the ceremony type would be "religious", not "civil". Please list your own address as the address of the church if you are prompted for that, and be sure the completed form is turned back in within 10 days of the wedding.
Puerto Rico Marriage Laws
Puerto Rico marriage laws are governed by Chapter 31 of Title 31 of the code of Puerto Rico. This section explains who is legally authorized to officiate weddings in this U.S. territory. Among those with authorization are ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church. The relevant section is displayed below:
Title 31 Subtitle 1 Part 3 Chapter 31:
§ 243. Authorization and celebration of marriage - Who may celebrate. All regularly licensed or ordained priests or other ministers of the Gospel, Jewish rabbis, and the judges of the Supreme Court, judges of the Appeals Court, judges of the Court of the First Instance, the judges of the United States District Court for Puerto Rico, may celebrate the marriage rites between all persons legally authorized to marry.