Get Your Documents Legalized at the Cuban Embassy

Legalizing Documents

In order for your American documentation to be usable in Cuba, they must be legalized by the Cuban Embassy in Washington DC.

Once you have done the following:

it is now (finally) time to get your documents legalized at the Cuban Embassy in Washington, DC.

What is Legalization?

Legalization was one of the ways by which one country accepted the legal documents of a second country as legal in that first country. The Apostille Convention replaces legalization with new, standardized practices. However, Cuba, like many countries, has not signed or ratified the convention so they still use legalization to make foreign documents legal.

Why do my Documents Need to Legalized?

Because Cuba is not a signatory to the Apostille Convention, the convention that established practices to abolish legalization. So documents must be legalized at the Cuban embassy in America in order for them to be used in Cuba. You must have both the English and Spanish documents when you go to the Embassy.

What Happens at the Embassy?

A Cuban official will review your English certified copies of your documents, which have been authenticated by the state department, and will review the notarized translations into Spanish. Once the official is satisfied that the English documents are authentic and the Spanish translations are valid, they will “legalize” the Spanish translations for use in Cuba.

We strongly suggest speaking to a Cuban marriage expert before going to the Cuban Embassy or, alternatively, hiring an expert to handle this part of the process.

Processing Time

You should allow at least 4 weeks in order for the Cuban embassy to legalize your documents. Remember, you are having your documents legalized by the diplomatic mission of a Communist country. You cannot expect efficiency. There is no way to speed this up. So don’t book your flight too early.

Checklist Before You Go to the Cuban Embassy

You need to make sure you have completed all of the below steps before going to the Cuban Embassy.

Once your documents are legalized, you are (finally) ready to get married in Cuba. The legalization is valid for 6 months from the date on the legalization.

Learn about travelling to Cuba as an American Citizen

Apostille Signatories

If you choose marry in another country, the following countries are signatories to the Apostille Convention and do not required legalization of American documents before you travel:

StateEntry into ForceApostille not recognised inComment
Albania9 May 2004Belgium (until 2015), Germany, Greece, Italy (until 2011) and Spain
Andorra31 Dec 1996
Antigua and Barbuda01 Nov 1981
Argentina18 Feb 1988Kosovo
Armenia14 Oct 1994Kosovo
Australia16 Mar 1995
Austria13 Jan 1968Burundi, Dominican Republic, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan
Azerbaijan2 Mar 2005Germany, Hungary (until 2005), Kosovo, Netherlands (until 2010)
Bahamas10 Jul 1973
Bahrain31 Dec 2013
Barbados30 Nov 1966
Belarus31 May 1992Kosovo
Belgium9 Feb 1973Albania (until 2015), Dominican Republic, India (until 2008), Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Ukraine (until 2004), Uzbekistan
Belize11 Apr 1993
Bosnia and Herzegovina1992-03-06-06 Mar 1992
Botswana30 Sep 1966
Brazil14 Aug 2016
Brunei3 Dec 1987
Bulgaria29 Apr 2001
Burundi13 Feb 2015Austria, Czechia, Germany, Poland
Cape Verde13 Feb 2010
Chile30 Aug 2016
Chile30 Aug 2016
Colombia30 Jan 2001
Cook Islands30 Apr 2005
Costa Rica14 Dec 2011
Croatia8 Dec 1991
Cyprus30 Apr 1973Kosovo
Czechia16 Mar 1999
Denmark26 Dec 2006Does not apply in Greenland and the Faroe Islands
Dominica3 Nov 1978
Dominican Republic30 Aug 2009Austria, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands
Ecuador2 Apr 2005
El Salvador31 May 1996
Estonia30 Sep 2001
Fiji10 Oct 1970
Finland26 Aug 1986
France24 Jan 1965
Georgia14 May 2007Germany (until 2010), Kosovo and Greece (until 2015)
Germany13 Feb 1966Albania, Azerbaijan, Burundi, Dominican Republic, Georgia (until 2010), India, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Paraguay, Peru (until 2014), Tajikistan, Ukraine (until 2010) and Uzbekistan
Greece18 May 1985Albania, Georgia (until 2015), Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Peru, Uzbekistan
Grenada7 Apr 2002
Honduras30 Dec 2004
Hong Kong25 Apr 1965KosovoThe convention is still applicable to Hong Kong despite the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong on 1 July 1997
Hungary18 Jan 1973Azerbaijan (until 2005)
Iceland27 Nov 2004
India14 Jul 2005Belgium (until 2008), Finland (until 2009), Germany, Netherlands (until 2008) and Spain (until 2008), Kosovo
Ireland9 Mar 1999
Israel14 Aug 1978Kosovo
Italy11 Feb 1978Albania (until 2011)
Japan27 Jul 1970
Kazakhstan30 Jan 2001
Kosovo14 Jul 2016Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, China (for Hong Kong and Macao), Cyprus, Germany, Georgia, Greece, India, Israel, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Mexico, Moldova, Namibia, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Russia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela
Kyrgyzstan31 Jul 2011Austria, Belgium, Germany, and Greece
Latvia30 Jan 1996
Lesotho4 Dec 1966
Liberia8 Feb 1996Belgium, Germany, and the United States (until 2015)
Liechtenstein17 Sep 1972
Lithuania19 Jul 1997
Luxembourg3 Jun 1979
Macau4 Feb 1969KosovoThe convention is still applicable to Macau despite the transfer of sovereignty over Macau on 20 Dec 1999
Macedonia17 Nov 1991
Malawi2 Dec 1967
Malta3 Mar 1968
Marshall Islands14 Aug 1992
Mauritius12 Mar 1968Kosovo
Mexico14 Aug 1995Kosovo
Moldova16 Mar 2007Germany and Kosovo
Monaco31 Dec 2002
Mongolia31 Dec 2009Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany and Greece
Montenegro3 Jun 2006
Morocco14 Aug 2016Germany
Namibia30 Jan 2001Kosovo
The Netherlands8 Oct 1965Azerbaijan (until 2010), Dominican Republic, India (until 2008)Not applicable in Aruba, Curaçao, Netherlands, and Sint Maarten
New Zealand22 Nov 2001
Nicaragua14 May 2013Kosovo
Niue2 Mar 1999
Norway29 Jul 1983
Oman30 Jan 2012
Panama4 Aug 1991
Paraguay30 Aug 2014Germany, Kosovo
Peru30 Sep 2010Germany, Greece, Kosovo
Poland14 Aug 2005Kosovo
Portugal4 Feb 1969
Romania13 Mar 2001Kosovo
Russia31 May 1992
Saint Kitts and Nevis14 Dec 1994
Saint Lucia31 Jul 2002
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines27 Oct 1979
Samoa13 Sep 1999
San Marino13 Feb 1995
São Tomé and Príncipe13 Sep 2008
Serbia127 Apr 1992Kosovo
Seychelles31 Mar 1979
Slovakia18 Feb 2002
Slovenia25 Jun 1991
South Africa30 Apr 1995
Spain25 Sep 1978Albania, India (until 2008) and Kosovo
Suriname25 Nov 1975
Swaziland6 Sep 1968
Sweden1 May 1999
Switzerland11 Mar 1973
Tonga4 Jun 1970
Trinidad and Tobago14 Jul 2000
Turkey29 Sep 1985
Ukraine22 Dec 2003Belgium (until 2004), Greece (until 2010) and Kosovo
United Kingdom24 Jan 1965Applies to Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories as well
United States15 Oct 1981Liberia (until 2015)
Uruguay14 Oct 2012
Uzbekistan15 Apr 2012Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Kosovo
Vanuatu30 Jul 1980
Venezuela16 Mar 1999Kosovo

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