Before officiating weddings in Puerto Rico you need to get ordained online so that you can “convertirse en un ministro“. That is spanish for “become a minister”. Hey, if you are planning on officiating a wedding in Puerto Rico it is never too soon to learn some Spanish!
A quick Google search will surface plenty of websites offering online ordinations. Most churches that offer online ordinations will do so for free however some charge exorbitant fees. We will be openly biased in recommending that you get ordained with American Marriage Ministries.
Why American Marriage Ministries? Their ordination is free. They are set up specifically to help people officiate wedding ceremonies. They are the only IRS Certified 501c3 Charitable Organization that offers online ordinations. And the President of American Marriage Ministries, Glen Yoshioka, was born and raised in Puerto Rico. Boricua baby!
If you do decide to seek ordination through another organization, that is your prerogative.
Once you are an ordained minister you will then need to register with the Puerto Rico Demographic Registrar’s Office.
Minister Registration Office – Puerto Rico Demographic Registrar’s Office
No matter where you plan on officiating weddings in Puerto Rico you need to register with the Demographic Registrar’s Office. The process to register as a wedding officiant in Puerto Rico will require some leg work on your part. Let’s begin with going over everything you will need to successfully register with the Demographic Registrar’s Office.
Required Articles For Wedding Officiant Registration With The Demographic Registrar’s Office
You will need to register in person at the Demographic Registrar’s Office. Before you go there you will need to have the following with you:
- Your Ordination Certificate
- Your Letter of Good Standing
- Your Government Issued Photo ID
- A 2×2 Passport Style Photo of You
- A $25 IRS Stamp
- The Engaged Couple
If you did a double take on that last one we promise you that is not a typo. The couple is required to accompany you when applying to officiate weddings in Puerto Rico.
Ordering Your Ministry Credentials
The following instructions assume you were ordained with American Marriage Ministries. If you were ordained with another church they should also be able to provide you with equivalent paperwork to successfully register as a wedding officiant in Puerto Rico.
To receive your official Ministry Credentials, including your Ordination Certificate and Letter of Good Standing, you can order your Minister Ordination Package from AMM.
Their “Signature Wedding Officiant Package” also includes everything described above in addition to a Clergy Stole and their comprehensive wedding training manual “Asked to Officiate“. The book is an especially good resource for first time officiants.
Getting Your 2×2 Passport Style Photo
You can get your passport style photos from pretty much any photocopy shop. Some pharmacies also do passport photos as well. We recommend that you get at least 2 copies in case you need an extra.
Getting Your $25 IRS Stamp
This task is a throwback to 20th century American Colonialism. The fee for your officiant application can only be paid by a $25 IRS stamp that you can only procure from one location. The Demographic Registrar’s Office will not accept credit cards, checks, paypal, or venmo. So be it.
We have been told that you can also pay your $25 fee with a money order. We have not confirmed this ourselves so we will proceed in describing how to get your IRS Stamp. If you prefer to pay by money order we recommend that you contact the Demographics Registrar’s Office to confirm if this is a viable option.
To get your $25 IRS stamp you need to go to the following location in San Juan:
Departamento de Hacienda
10 Paseo Covadonga
San Juan PR 00901
Get Your IRS Stamp With The Couple
When getting your $25 IRS stamp you may want to do this with the couple. The reason being is that the couple must obtain a $150 IRS stamp to pay for their marriage license. You may as well do both at the same time. Getting around in Puerto Rico can be quite a hassle, so you may as well save yourselves a trip.
Submitting Your Application To The Demographics Registrar’s Office
Once you have all your paperwork (and the couple) in order, you are ready to register as a wedding officiant in Puerto Rico. The Demographics Registrar’s Office is located at:
500 Ochoa Bld Tanca St
Old San Juan, Puerto Rico 00902
If you have questions about the application process, you can contact their office at:
Phone: 787.767.9120 extensions 2402, 2406, and 2415
Approval of Your Officiant Application in Puerto Rico
Provided there are no complications, approval of your application should take no more than a few hours. The couple can also use this as an opportunity to file for their marriage license.
We recommend that you show up when the office opens in the morning. Things in Puerto Rico tend to happen on island time. Expect completion of your application to take a few hours.
If you and the couple are able to pay by money order, then that should save you some time. In such a case it may be possible to get everything done in one day, provided you have all the required documents.
The information provided here was mainly sourced from this page.
Alternatives To Local Registration
Based on what you have read above, the officiant registration process in Puerto Rico may seem inordinately difficult. We do encourage you to travel to Puerto Rico, as it provides beautiful wedding locales.
We also want to provide you with an alternate option to having the wedding in Puerto Rico without having to deal with all the bureaucracy.
The solution is for the couple to file for the marriage license in their state of residence. The officiant will have to observe whatever registration procedures (if any) are required in that state. The officiant can then complete the marriage license with the couple and required witnesses. Then the couple or officiant can return the marriage license to its issuance office.
With the legal stuff out of the way, the officiant, couple, and wedding invitees can travel to Puerto Rico for the wedding ceremony. Que bueno!
Now You Can Officiate!
With the legal stuff taken care of, the real work is in preparing for the wedding ceremony. Follow the link below for more guidance on how to officiate weddings.