What is a Letter of Non-Impediment and Does Canada Offer Them?
A letter of non-impediment to marriage abroad is a document that verifies there are no objections to a proposed marriage or civil partnership. Some countries may require this letter in order to legally get married in their territory. However, this is not a universal requirement.
Canada and Letters of Non-Impediment
Canada does not provide letters of non-impediment to marriage. If necessary, the Authentication Service Section or, if required by the country, a Canadian embassy, high commission, or consulate can provide a statement in lieu of a letter of non-impediment to marriage abroad. This statement simply confirms that Canada does not issue letters of non-impediment and does not provide any additional details about an individual's civil status or ability to get married abroad. As a result, some countries may ask for additional documentation in order to legally get married in their jurisdiction.
Alternative Documentation for Marriage Abroad
It's important to note that a requirement for a letter of non-impediment to get married abroad does not necessarily mean a statement in lieu from Global Affairs Canada must be submitted. In cases where a country does not issue letters of non-impediment (such as Canada), the authorities in the country where you plan to get married may require alternative documentation. These documents could include:
- A marriage search record from the provincial or territorial Vital Statistics office where you reside.
- A single status affidavit.
Before requesting a statement in lieu from Global Affairs Canada, it's important to check with the appropriate authorities in the country where you plan to get married to determine if you must submit this document. If it's required, you may need to apply for a statement in lieu through the nearest Canadian embassy, high commission, or consulate.
Keep in mind that consular services provided at Canadian missions abroad come with fees under the Consular Fees (Specialized Services) Regulations. Some countries may only accept statements in lieu issued by a local Canadian mission. In cases where the local authorities won't accept a statement in lieu from a Canadian mission, you may apply for one by following the instructions provided.
It's important to note that Global Affairs Canada may refuse to issue a statement in lieu if it's determined that the country where you plan to get married does not require one.
How to Apply for a Statement in Lieu of a Letter of Non-Impediment to Marriage Abroad
- Fill out section 3 (Document Information) of the request form EXT2165.
- Provide a notarized declaration that includes your full name, current marital status, and permanent address in Canada (P.O. boxes are not accepted).
- Submit additional documentation based on your situation, such as:
- A certified copy of your birth certificate or passport if you were born in Canada.
- A certified copy of the death certificate of your deceased spouse if you are widowed.
- A certified copy of the divorce certificate if you are divorced.
- A certified copy of your Canadian citizenship certificate or passport if you were born abroad and are a Canadian citizen.
- A certified copy of your permanent resident card or passport if you were born abroad and are a permanent resident in Canada.
- Documentation showing your status in Canada if you are residing permanently in Canada and are not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
To summarize it's important to confirm the requirements directly with the authorities of the country where you plan to get married.