Legal requisites for officially tying the knot in Goa
Goa follows a Civil Code differs to the rest of the country which had been laid during the Portuguese era, the process itself takes more-or-less 60 to 70 days to complete thus you have to plan this aspect in advance if you plan to register your marriage here. The laws that govern civil marriage in India is the Special Marriage Act of 1954. Either spouse has mandatorily be a citizen of the country and if one of them is a foreign national, he or she needs to be residing in the country for at least 30 days prior to the date of registration. Ensure that you apply to the local police authorities for a certificate stating your date of arrival and confirming your period of stay.
Offices of the Civil Registrar are in the cities of Panjim, Margao, Mapusa, and Vasco and Ponda. The paperwork begins with the application submission to the department stating your intent to register you marriage in Goa. This is accompanied with a set of documents that include certificate confirming residency, certified copies of your passport and birth certificates along with passport sized photographs. It is no mandatory that the couple be present for the submission of these documents but it is necessary for either one of them to do so. For residencies the fall under Municipal limits you will also need a certificate issued by Municipality confirm your period of stay in the state. You will also have to approach the local court for the issuance of a provisional marriage certificate that permits your to sign at the Civil Registrar’s office. For this purpose you will also need the presence of four locals as witnesses at the courthouse. On receipt of a this certificate the Civil Registrar will then issue a Public Notice raised for a period of 10 days to call for any objections from the public if any. Hiring a legal consultant who is aware of the procedural paperwork is highly recommended to avoid delays and duplication of work.
There are eligibility criteria documents that you must fulfil at the Civil Registrar as well such as the Single Status Affidavit issued to American citizens conforming that they have not been civilly married in the past. For British nationals you would require an Certificate Of No Impediment and similarly for an Australian citizen you would need to obtain a certificate of No Record. For widowed or previously married individuals you would also have to submit a Decree Absolute which states that you are legally divorced from your previous marriage and in the case of death of your previous spouse, a Death Certificate needs to be submitted.
On acceptance and vetting these documents the Civil Registrar will now call for a date of your civil ceremony after it receives no objections from the Public Notice issued for a period of 30 days of filing the paperwork. If you are planning to also have ceremony at the church you will need to furnish a ‘No Objection Certificate’ that is issued from the local priest of the parish granting his consent and permitting you to get married at a church in Goa. The church would also require certificates confirm your Baptism and Confirmation attached with a letter mentioning your intent on tying the knot there. In addition to this the Church also requires the couple to complete a pre-marriage counselling course either locally or in your country.