How to get the government documents you need if you plan to marry in Ontario.
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You need to be at least 16 years old to get married in Ontario.
Under 18 years old: you will need written consent from both your parents. You can get consent forms where you get a marriage licence.
Types of marriage
An authorized official needs to marry you to ensure that a marriage is performed properly and legally. There are 2 types of marriage ceremonies performed in Ontario:
Religious marriage: a recognized religious official marries you.
- religious marriage officiants (listed by municipality)
- religious marriage officiants (listed by name)
Civil marriage: a judge, justice of the peace or authorized municipal clerk marries you, often at a local municipal office or city hall.
Forms you need before you marry
Before you get married, you need either:
- a marriage licence, or
- a banns form that you get from a church when you publicly announce your commitment during a divine service (a church publishes this declaration, called “the publication of banns”)
Banns cannot be published if you or your spouse has been married before. You will need to get a marriage licence.
You and your spouse, witnesses and the person who performed the marriage will need to sign the licence or banns immediately after the ceremony.
How to get a marriage licence
To get a marriage licence, you will need to:
bring 2 pieces of government-issued identification for each person getting married. One piece of identification must include your photo.
Examples of government-issued identification:
- government-issued birth certificate, including any change of name certificates
- valid passport
- record of immigrant landing
- Canadian Citizenship Card
- valid driver’s licence
- valid Ontario Photo Card
- pay a fee (fees vary and depend on the municipality)
Please check the municipality’s website to ensure you have all of the information required to purchase a marriage licence.
A marriage licence is valid for 3 months from the date it was issued.
Get a marriage certificate
A marriage certificate is the legal record of a marriage. It lists the date and place of the marriage, and names of the people who were married.
You need this document to:
- show legal proof you are married
- apply for certain social benefits
- settle an estate
- change a last name
A Record of Solemnization of Marriage is not the same thing as a marriage certificate.
Before you can get a marriage certificate, a marriage needs to be registered.
The official who performed the marriage will do this by sending a complete and signed marriage licence to ServiceOntario.
Change a name after marriage
When you get married, you don’t have to legally change your last name (surname). But if you choose to legally change your last name, you can do so through ServiceOntario.
Remarry after a divorce
Divorced in Canada
You will need to bring official proof of the divorce with you when you apply for a marriage licence. This can be the original or a court-certified copy of one of three documents:
- the final decree
- the final judgment
- a certificate of divorce
If you were divorced outside of Canada, you will need to provide certain documents to prove that you are no longer married. The government needs to validate these documents. This process can take up to 4 weeks.
You will need to send the following documents to ServiceOntario:
- marriage licence application form: completed and signed
- statement of sole responsibility: for each divorce (signed by both people who are planning to get married and a witness)
- legal opinion letter: from an Ontario lawyer, addressed to both people who plan to get married, giving reasons why the divorce or annulment should be recognized in Ontario
- divorce decree or annulment: an original or court-certified copy in English or French. If the decree is in another language, you will need to include a translated copy and an affidavit sworn by a certified translator
Please mail these documents directly to:
PO Box 4600
189 Red River Road
Thunder Bay, ON P7B 6L8
You can also contact this office for a sample legal opinion letter.
For more information: call 1-800-461-2156 (toll-free).