Location of Your Marriage Ceremony
Something to keep in mind when you are marrying someone from a different country is where the wedding will take place. Whether you get married in your home country or in Canada, your marriage must be considered valid in Canada. This means that your marriage has to meet the legal requirements of marriage in Canada.
Ceremony in Home Country
If you decide to get married in your home country and immigrate to Canada afterward, your marriage has to be valid in both the country where the ceremony took place as well as in Canada. Canada does not recognize certain marriages such as polygamous marriages (polygamy) and Mut’a marriages.
When you enter Canada, you will need to provide proof that your marriage was valid in the country it took place in. An immigration officer at your local visa office can tell you what kind of proof to bring with you.
In order to enter Canada, your marriage must also be considered valid in Canada. Therefore, at a minimum, you will need to show that:
- you were at least 16 years of age when you got married,
- your husband has not sponsored any other spouse for whom the sponsorship period is not yet finished,
- at the time of your marriage, your husband was eligible to marry you. In other words, that he did not have any other wives, or common-law or conjugal partners. Canada does not recognize certain marriages such as polygamous marriages (polygamy) and Mut’a marriages.
Ceremony in Canada
In Canada, the requirements of a marriage are governed by provincial laws, and the exact requirements may vary slightly from province to province.
The most common requirements include:
Licence – Before you can get married, you must obtain a marriage license.When you do so, you will be informed of the exact rules of your province. You must have appropriate identification to get a licence and there is a cost.
Age – you have to be at least a certain age in order to marry. Often this age is 16. A marriage can be arranged for you before the minimum age, but the ceremony cannot take place until after you reach the minimum age. In Alberta, for example, except in certain circumstances, you cannot marry if you are under 16 years old and if you are under the age of 18, you must obtain your parent’s or guardian’s consent in order to get married. If you have special circumstances, you may be able to get a court order that lets you get married without parental consent.
Your Consent – you have to consent to being married. If you are forced into a marriage, that marriage is not valid in Canada.
Certificate of Marriage – this is a legal document that is signed by you, your spouse, two witnesses, and the person who performs the ceremony. You must have appropriate identification to get a certificate and there is a cost.