Why do I need a Marriage Certificate?
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.
Is a Marriage Certificate the same thing as a Marriage Licence?
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.
How do I apply for a Nova Scotia Marriage Licence?
of Marriage Act requires that you obtain a Marriage Licence before getting
married in Nova Scotia. The licence does not mean that you are married, but
that you may get married. The licence will expire one year from date of
Regional Municipality, a Marriage License can be purchased by appointment with
a Deputy Issuer, or from a Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) Customer Service
Centre during regular business hours. See link below for location and address
information. Please note: in HRM, Marriage Licenses are not sold at the Service
Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Halifax or Dartmouth Access Centres.
other areas of Nova Scotia, a Marriage License can be purchased by appointment
with a Deputy Issuer, or from a Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations
Access Centre. See links below for location and address information.
Here is a
list of Deputy Issuers, by County:
Cape Breton County
Halifax Regional Municipality
member of the couple needs to apply for the license, but you will be asked to
provide a signed piece of identification and proof of age for both parties to
the intended marriage. Documents must be either originals or certified copies
and must include the following information:
- Full name, including given names
- Current address
- Proof of marital status is required if either
party is widowed or divorced
The fee for
a marriage licence is $121.78.
There is a
five day waiting period between the day of application for the licence and the
date of issuance.
How do I order a first time Nova Scotia Marriage Certificate?
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.
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:
"Select Certificate Type" or "Get It Now" button on home
page. Follow the prompts to select the proper certificate and
Province/Territory ythe marriage occurred in.
2. Click the
"Apply Online" button.
the information on the Online Application which will guide you through several
Steps and pay using your credit card.
4. You will
receive an order confirmation email from us within an hour. We will then
go on to process your application according to the service option you have
chosen. If there are any problems with your application, a representative
will contact you via email with the required corrections.
Marriage Certificate will either arrive in the mail, or by courier, depending
on the service option chosen.
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.
How do I order a replacement Nova Scotia Marriage Certificate?
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.
How will my Nova Scotia Marriage Certificate be sent to me?
Certificate will be sent to you directly from Nova Scotia Vital Statistics
Agency. It will arrive in the mail with
the Regular Service option, or by courier with the Rush Service option.
What is the minimum age to get married in Nova Scotia?
You must be
at least 19 years old to be married in Nova Scotia 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. Your local Deputy Issuer of Marriage Licences
has the required consent forms. No one
under the age of 16 years can be married without the consent of the Court.
What types of Marriage Certificates are available to order in Nova Scotia?
Short Form Marriage Certificate:
Form Marriage Certificate contains basic information: names of parties to the marriage, date of
marriage, place of marriage, registration number, registration date and date
Long Form Marriage Certificate (Certified Copy):
Form Marriage Certificate is a restricted and certified photographic copy of
the original Marriage Registration which is available to either party to the
marriage or to another person upon written consent from either party to the
Form Marriage Certificate contains all of the information on a Short Form
Certificate and may contain the following information of both parties to the
marriage: marital status, age, religious denomination, residence, place of
birth, full name of parents, birthplace of parents and marriage officiant.
What if I am uncertain of the date of 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
Is a Nova Scotia Marriage Certificate required to apply for a divorce?
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.
How much does a Nova Scotia Marriage Certificate cost and how can I pay?
Regular Service (15-20 business days):
- Short Form Marriage Certificate: $65.29
- Long Form Marriage Certificate: $71.62
Rush Service (8-12 business days):
- Short Form Marriage Certificate: $85.29
- Long Form Marriage Certificate: $91.62
payment currently accepted is credit card (Visa and MasterCard).
How long will it take to receive my Nova Scotia Marriage Certificate?
take 15-20 business days with the Regular Service option or 8-12 business days
with the Rush Service option.
What is the law in Nova Scotia regarding same-sex marriage?
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
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
Federal vs. Provincial Jurisdiction
some confusion about the roles of different levels of government involved in
the marriage issue.
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
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.
How do I find the status of a Nova Scotia Marriage Certificate application?
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 Nova Scotia Vital Statistics at:
1-877-848-2578 (Nova Scotia only)
Who is entitled to apply for a Nova Scotia Marriage Certificate?
apply for a Nova Scotia Marriage Certificate if you are either party to the
When I get married, do I have to take my husband’s last name?
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
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
My fiancé and I want to get married in a foreign country. Can we do this?
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
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.
information regarding marriage in a foreign country is available on the Canadian Consular Affairs website.
note, only marriages that took place in Nova Scotia are registered by Nova
Scotia 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.
I married someone who is a foreign citizen. Can my spouse automatically enter Nova Scotia?
Who is allowed to perform marriages in Nova Scotia?
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.