Legal Requirements for Getting Married in British Columbia, Canada
Allow a few days from arrival in British Columbia to wedding date for processing paperwork. We recommend giving yourself more time due to preparation, weekends, holidays or unexpected delays.
Necessary legal documents:
Please note that all documents must be submitted in English. Contact the Embassy in your home country or your Embassy in Canada for an authorized translator. If your documents are translated, be prepared to submit the original copies in your native language for verification as well as the translated version.
- Identification that provides, full name, date of birth and birth place (i.e. valid passports or birth certificates)
- Divorce decree or death certificates, if applicable. Note that a divorce decree must have been issued at least 31 days prior to applying for a marriage license to remarry.
Legal requirements to get married:
- Ceremony (Civil/Religious)
Both religious and civil ceremonies are legally recognized weddings preformed in British Columbia. Officiates (religious representative or marriage commissioner) must be registered or appointed by the Vital Statistics Office.
The ceremony is preformed in English. If either party does not speak English, an interpreter should be hired.
- Age and Relation
The bride and groom must be at least 19 years of age. If they are underage, parental consent is necessary. With parental consent, both parties must be at least 16 years of age. Note that the legal age in your home country must be met to be recognized. For example, the United States requires that both parties be 18 years of age for your marriage to be recognized upon your return to the United States. The bride and groom cannot be related by blood or adoption.
Two witnesses over 19 years of age must be present for the ceremony and provide identification.
To apply for a Marriage License, take all paperwork to a Marriage License Issuer. One or both parties must register in person.
The Marriage License is issued at the time of application. Keep in mind that the marriage license is valid for 3 months within British Columbia.
The couple’s chosen officiate will complete the Marriage Registration form at the wedding ceremony. The officiate will deliver this form to the Vital Statistics Office within two days of the ceremony. The couple will be given a Marriage Statement at the ceremony as proof of marriage until the Marriage Certificate has been issued.
- The information provided on the Registration of Marriage will be used to create the Marriage Certificate for the couple.
Note: This information can change at any given moment. For up-to-date information, contact your embassy in the country in which you plan to marry.
We invite you to contact us with any new information. Be sure to note, “Update Marriage Requirements in British Columbia, Canada” in the subject line.