A Canadian Marriage Certificate is a vital record issued by a government authority that proves that the couple listed on the certificate has a legally recognized marriage. This document is used to ensure the rights of spouses and children are respected, to apply for certain social benefits, to settle an estate, to change or hyphenate a surname, to apply for a divorce, or simply to document your family history.
A Marriage Certificate is a different type of document from a Marriage Licence. Marriage Licences are issued to couples before they marry, whereas Marriage Certificates are issued as records of marriages that have already occurred.
Application for a Marriage License must be made in person to a marriage licence issuer. Marriage licence issuers are located throughout the province. Information regarding issuers in your area is available from Vital Statistics at (709) 729-0305.
Note: Although only one person is required to apply in person, both parties to the marriage must complete an affidavit and have their signatures witnessed on it by a Commissioner of Oaths, a Justice of the Peace, or a Notary Public. If the application is being completed outside of Newfoundland and Labrador, signatures must be witnessed by a Notary Public. As well, if application is being made by only one party, that party must bring the ID for both parties.
Click here to display the application form affidavit (299 KB).
In St. John’s, applications for a marriage license may be made at Vital Statistics, Service NL, 5 Mews Place.
Before you apply, you should be aware of the following:
Proof of marital status may be required. If divorced, you must present your original Decree Absolute or Certificate of Divorce. If your documents are in a foreign language, you will be requested to provide the original plus a notarized translation. If you were divorced outside Canada, you will be required to provide a letter from a practicing Newfoundland Lawyer stating that you are eligible to marry in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Religious ceremonies may be performed by the registered religious representative of your choice.
Civil ceremonies may be performed by marriage commissioners located throughout the Province.
Immediately after the marriage ceremony, the couple may receive a Record of Solemnization of Marriage from the person who performed the ceremony. This document includes the couple’s names, the date of the marriage, the names of the witnesses and whether the marriage was performed under the authority of a licence or the publication of banns. This is not a Marriage Certificate or a legal record. You still need a Marriage Certificate.
The person who performed the marriage must forward a completed and signed Marriage Licence to the provincial Vital Statistics office for registration. The marriage must be registered before you may apply for a Marriage Certificate.
Apply for a Marriage Certificate online:
Please note: Marriage Certificates are issued using the information from the original Registration of Marriage, completed at the time of Marriage. If a record cannot be found, a search for a three year period is carried out automatically and the applicant will be notified.
You may order a replacement Marriage Certificate in the same way as a first time Marriage Certificate (see above). The application form is the same for both types of orders.
Your Marriage Certificate will be sent to you directly from Newfoundland & Labrador Vital Statistics Agency. It will arrive in the mail within 20-30 business days.
You must be at least 19 years old to be married in Newfoundland & Labrador without parental consent. If you are between the ages of 16 to 18, you may marry if you have the written consent of both parents.
In Newfoundland & Labrador, only a Long Form Marriage Certificate is available. It contains the following information: the name of each party to the marriage, date of marriage, place of marriage, registration number, registration date and date issued.
Marriage Certificates are issued using the information from the original Registration of Marriage, completed at the time of marriage. If a record cannot be found, a search for a three-year period is carried out automatically and the applicant will be notified.
Marriage Certificates are issued using the information from the original Registration of Marriage, completed at the time of marriage. If you are not certain of the date of marriage, you are required to fill out the estimated date of marriage on the Marriage Certificate application. If a record cannot be found, a search will automatically be carried out and the applicant will be notified.
Yes. You must have an original government issued Marriage Certificate or Certified Copy of Marriage Registration to apply for a divorce in Canada. The certificate you received at the church (or any other place you were married) will not be accepted by the Divorce Registry.
A Newfoundland & Labrador Marriage Certificate costs $55.00.
The only payment currently accepted is credit card (Visa and MasterCard).
Given that you have correctly filled out all sections on the application, you will receive your marriage certificate(s) within approximately 20-30 business days (includes mailing time).
Bill C-38 codifies a definition of marriage for the first time in Canadian law, expanding on the traditional common-law understanding of civil marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution. Bill C-38 redefines civil marriage as “the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others,” thus extending civil marriage to conjugal couples of the same sex.
Bill C-38 was passed by the Senate on July 19, 2005, by a vote of 47-21. The Civil Marriage Act then came into effect with Royal Assent on July 20, 2005, as Chapter 33 of the Statutes of Canada. With its enactment, Canada became the fourth country to legislate same-sex marriage, the others being the Netherlands (2001), Belgium (2003) and Spain (2005).
Federal vs. Provincial Jurisdiction
There is some confusion about the roles of different levels of government involved in the marriage issue.
The federal government can pass legislation to define marriage and to set out who can marry whom, which means that a Province must recognize any marriage that is valid in Canada.
Although Provinces do not have the freedom to choose which marriages may be solemnized, they are required to provide a process by which people can be married. This means that provincial governments must provide a process for the solemnization of same-sex marriages.
If you are following up on the status of an already ordered certificate, as the applicant, you will need to contact the government agency directly. They will only discuss the status of the application with the applicant. Please contact Newfoundland & Labrador Vital Statistics at:
You can apply for a Newfoundland & Labrador Marriage Certificate if you are:
No. Changing a last name upon marriage is a custom only and it has never been a legal requirement. When you get married, there are several options available to you. You may keep your own last name, you may take your husband’s name, or combine both of your last names into a hyphenated last name.
It is also possible to use your husband’s last name for social purposes while continuing to use your own last name for legal purposes, such as your passport, bank accounts, driver’s licence and so on. The important thing is that you must not use both names in an attempt to defraud someone.
The benefit of assuming a married name instead of doing a legal name change is that it does not change your last name on your Marriage Certificate. Later, if you wish to use your own last name again, it is already on your Marriage Certificate and you won’t have to pay to change it back.
If you do decide to use your husband’s last name, it is not necessary to inform the Department of Vital Statistics. However, you will have to arrange to have all your personal documents changed to reflect your new name. You should contact your bank to arrange to change your name on your accounts, credit cards and banking cards, and the federal government to deal with documents such as your social insurance number and passport. Your driver’s licence should also be changed. Do not forget such important documents as insurance policies and your health care number. Note also that marriage automatically invalidates a will, unless the will specifically mentions that it has been made with an upcoming marriage in mind. You should make a new will immediately after marriage.
Yes. You may marry in a foreign country as long as you meet all the requirements of the authority responsible for marriage in the country where you want to get married. If you are getting married overseas, most countries will require a statement in-lieu of certification of non-impediment to marriage abroad. You can apply for one by mail to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Authentication and Service of Documents section before your departure. If you are already abroad, you may obtain a “Statement in lieu of Certificate of Non-impediment” from the nearest Canadian government office abroad.
Additional information regarding marriage in a foreign country is available on the Canadian Consular Affairs website.
Please note, only marriages that took place in Newfoundland & Labrador are registered by Newfoundland & Labrador Vital Statistics. Your marriage will be registered in the country where it took place as long as you met all the local requirements. Your Marriage Certificate, issued by the country’s authority responsible for marriage, is proof of your marital status.
No. There are certain procedures that must be followed before a non-Canadian citizen can reside in Canada. For more information, see the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.
Marriages in Canada can be either civil or religious. Marriages may be performed by members of the clergy, marriage commissioners, judges, justices of the peace or clerks of the court.