So You Want to Get Married Outside of Canada

Did you know that before weddings in Scotland they do something called "blackening the bride and groom", which consists of throwing gunk at the engaged couple? Or that in Germany, newlyweds have to work together to saw a log in half in front of their wedding guests?

Getting married outside of Canada is pretty popular these days, whether it's a destination wedding in a glamorous tropical location or returning to the bride or groom's country of origin to be surrounded by their families. In addition to knowing the wedding traditions of the country you're getting married in, you need to know what the requirements are for foreign nationals who wish to marry in that jurisdiction.  The easiest way to do this is to contact the country's consulate or embassy and ask.

Many countries require a "Certificate of Non-Impediment to Marriage" in order to give a foreign national permission to marry there. Canada, in keeping with its insistence of doing things its own way, does not issue such certificates.  However, JLAC, which is the Authentication and Service of Documents Section of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), will prepare a Statement in Lieu of Certificate of Non-Impediment to Marriage Abroad.

To request a Statement in Lieu of Certificate of Non-Impediment to Marriage Abroad from JLAC, you will need to do the following:

  • Complete an EXT-2165 Request Form - you must specifically request a Statement in Lieu of Certificate of Non-Impediment to Marriage Abroad;
  • Provide a statutory declaration stating your full name, present marital status and your permanent address in Canada, which a notary such as Downtown Notary Toronto can help prepare and notarize;
  • f you have been married before, you must submit your original or appropriately certified true copy of a divorce certificate or divorce judgment;
  • If you are a widow or widower, you must submit the original or appropriately certified copy of the death certificate of your deceased spouse;
  • If you were born in Canada, you must submit your original or appropriately certified true copy of a birth certificate. If you were not born in Canada, you must submit appropriately certified true copies of your Canadian citizenship card and Record of Landing form. If you have lost your Record of Landing Form, this must be mentioned in the statutory declaration of marital status;
  • Enclose either a pre-addressed return envelope with either sufficient postage (for regular mail) or a prepaid courier shipping label.

It takes up to 15 business days to process this request, so make sure you give yourself enough time to ensure you will receive the Statement before you leave Canada to get married.

More information on how to get a Statement in Lieu of Certificate of Non-Impediment to Marriage Abroad, visit the Government of Canada's Authentication of Documents website.