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How To Get Married in Canada - Gay Marriage in Canada


Gays and Lesbians can get married in Canada from other parts of the world. There is no residency requirement to get married in Canada. This article is meant to provide you with basic information about getting married in Canada. Be sure to check in with local officials when you choose your wedding destination.

Also, different provinces have different rules and regulations regarding marriage. Check out the resources at the end of the article for more specific information.

Difficulty: Average
Time Required: Up to Two Weeks

Here's How:

  1. Apply for a license. In the following provinces both of you need to apply for the marriage license: Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Northwest Territory, Nunavut, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Yukon. In the following provinces either party can apply for the marriage license: British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador.
  2. Locate your documents

    Each locality has different paperwork requirements, but in general you will need: proof of age, photo id, and birth certificates. If one of you has been previously married you must show proof of death or divorce. You must have the original divorce decree when you apply for the marriage licence. A copy is not accepted.

  3. Wait

    Quebec has a 20 day waiting period between the time you apply for a license and when you can get married. Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Northwest Territory, Nunavut, Ontario and Prince Edward Island have no waiting period. Others vary from 24 hours to five days. Check with the local municipality.

  4. Pay

    Marriage license fees vary from place to place. You also may need to pay the officiant and for a marriage certificate.

  5. Decide who will perform the ceremony

    You can get married in Canada with either a civil or religious ceremony. Again, different regions have different rules about who can perform civil ceremonies. Most communities have marriage commissioners, judges or justices of the peace to perform your wedding.

    Religious clergy who are registered to perform marriages in Canada can marry you in a religious ceremony.

  6. Step to the Aisle and say "I do!"
  7. What if you want to divorce?

    Although Canada has no residency requirement for marriage, it does have one for divorce. At least one partner must reside in Canada for one year to be eligible for divorce. American courts, who do not recognize the marriage, are not likely to grant you a divorce.


  1. You cannot marry a same-sex partner in Canada if you are already married.
  2. You cannot get married in Canada if you have a civil union in Vermont or Connecticut.
  3. Even if you marry in Canada, the United States government is not required to recognize your marriage. The Federal Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage as solely between a man and a woman. Many states have passed similar legislation.
  4. Getting married in Canada will not allow you to sponsor your spouse for U.S. citizenship.
  5. After getting married, consult legal advice before filing your taxes.

What You Need

  • A willing partner
  • Birth Certificate or Passport
  • Photo ID
  • Proof of Divorce or spouse's death if applicable
  • Social Security Numbers
  • Written parental consent if under 18
  • Canadian money for any fees
  • Two Witnesses
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