What You Should Know When Getting Married Outside Canada

What You Should Know When Getting Married Outside Canada

Most marriages performed legally in another country are valid in Canada, and do not require special registration when you return. However, whether you are planning a destination wedding, or are marrying a foreign national abroad, there are certain things you should know about initiating a marriage overseas.

For information specific to your circumstances, and for insights into how you might best plan for getting married outside Canada, contact our Edmonton family lawyers and schedule a consultation today.

Validating Your Marriage in Canada

In order for your marriage to be recognized within Canada, it must have been legal in the country where the union was established. Ensure that you and your spouse follow the legal requirements of a wedding, including any relevant documentation, as specific to the jurisdiction where you are getting married.

Your marriage must also be legal by Canadian federal law. In Canada, for instance, you are not permitted to marry a close relative by blood or adoption. While some countries allow polygamous marriages, in Canada you cannot legally be married to more than one person at the same time.

One of the most common roadblocks to initiating a legal marriage is the existence of a prior marriage that has not yet been dissolved. A marriage can be ended through annulment, divorce, or death. However, some countries have different laws surrounding the termination of a marriage, which may give you trouble. If you require assistance ending a pre-existing marriage, contact our Edmonton divorce lawyers today.

What If My Marriage Is Not Legal in a Foreign Country?

Countries have different laws surrounding what constitutes a marriage. The requirements for divorce may differ, and a person who may be recognized as single in Canada may still be considered married in another jurisdiction. Likewise, same-sex marriage is legal in Canada, but many countries still do not recognize it.

If you are planning to get married outside Canada as part of a destination wedding, it may be of benefit to ensure your marriage will be legal where it takes place. Alternatively, you may choose to get legally married in Canada and perform the ceremony abroad.

If you hope to sponsor your spouse to Canada, but your marriage is not considered legal where it occurred, you may still be eligible as conjugal or common-law partners. Contact our Edmonton family lawyers today to learn more. 

How Marriage May Affect Citizenship

In some cases, marrying a citizen of another country may give you automatic citizenship in that country. Your Canadian citizenship will not be affected, and you will continue to be recognized as a Canadian citizen when you return. 

Some countries do not recognize dual citizenship, and may not recognize you as a Canadian citizen after your marriage. This may mean the Canadian consulate in that country might not be able to help you should you need aid. In some countries, a spouse may restrict their partner’s ability to travel, and may also prevent you from seeking a separation or divorce.

For considerations specific to spousal sponsorship and other immigration concerns, contact our Edmonton immigration lawyers to set up a dedicated consultation.

Documents You May Need When Getting Married Outside Canada

Local authorities in the country where you are getting married may require you to provide specific documents to prove that you meet the requirements of that jurisdiction. Required may include, in any combination:

  • Valid Canadian passport(s)
  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage search letter(s), as evidence that you are not already married
  • A single status affidavit, which is a notarized document certifying that you are single
  • Divorce certificate, if either you or your intended spouse have been previously married
  • Death certificate for a former spouse, if either you or your intended spouse are widowed
  • A certificate of non-impediment to marriage abroad, which confirms there is no objection to your intended marriage
  • Premarital blood test certificate
  • Statement of parental consent
  • And more

Contact the consulate, high commission, or embassy of the country where you will be getting married. They should be able to provide you with a list of requirements specific to being married in that country. 

Contact Our Edmonton Family Lawyers Today for a Consultation

If you are getting married outside Canada, there are specific steps you will need to take in order to ensure your union is recognized. Our Edmonton family lawyers are here to help you navigate the process from beginning to end. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and learn how we may be of service to you.

** Please note, this article is intended as a general overview on the subject of family law, and is not intended to be legal advice. If you are seeking legal advice, please consult with an Alberta family lawyer.

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