Overview

A marriage licence shows the person performing your marriage (the marriage officiant) that you have met all the legal requirements to be married in Alberta.

Alberta marriage licences are available from a registry agent office.

A registry agent issues a 2-part document. The top part is a Registration of Marriage and the bottom part is the marriage licence.

The full document (Registration of Marriage/Marriage Licence) must be given to the marriage officiant that will be performing your marriage. This is a legal document and must be kept in good condition and not folded as it is permanently archived.

Conditions for a marriage

Banns (postings or announcements in a church) are not acceptable in place of a marriage licence.

There are no residency or citizenship requirements.

There is no time period that must pass between the date a couple arrives in Alberta and the date a marriage licence is issued.

Blood tests are not required.

A marriage licence is valid for 3 months from the date it is issued.

A wedding may take place the same day a marriage licence is issued. There is no waiting time.

An Alberta marriage licence is only valid for an Alberta marriage. The wedding must take place in Alberta.

If you are currently married, you cannot apply for an Alberta marriage licence.

Eligibility

When getting the marriage licence, you must:

  • swear/affirm one or more affidavits
    • it is an offence to swear/affirm a false affidavit
  • provide your personal information, and the full names and birth places of your parents (including a parent's maiden name)

When getting a marriage licence, you cannot:

  • be under the influence of a drug or alcohol
  • be related to each other as a grandparent, parent, child, sibling or grandchild, by whole blood, half blood or adoption

Check with a registry agent if:

  • either person getting married is hearing, speech or visually impaired
  • either person getting married is an assisted adult with a court ordered co-decision maker or represented adult with a guardianship order

Age

Both of you must be 18 years old or older.

If you are younger than 18 years old, you can apply for a marriage licence if all your parents and legal guardians consent to the marriage licence being issued, unless other conditions apply. Check with a registry agent for full details.

If you are younger than 16 years old, you cannot marry in Alberta.

Acceptable ID

You must provide acceptable ID.

If one of the couple do not have acceptable ID, that person may provide their birth certificate or immigration document – the other person must have acceptable ID

Marital Status

You cannot be currently married (either to each other or someone else).

Your legal marital status must be one of the following:

  • Divorced
    • Proof of divorce is needed; the divorce document provided must be the final document (for example, Certificate of Divorce, Decree Absolute).
    • A divorce document that says a marriage is dissolved in X amount of time is not acceptable as there is no way to know if the final documents were filed or the divorce was contested during that time.
    • Divorce documents that are not in English must be translated; check with a registry agent for translation requirements.
  • Widowed
    • A death certificate of the deceased spouse is not needed.
  • Never been married
    • No marital status documents are needed.

Annulled Marriage (through the court)

When an annulment has been granted through a court, the person's marital status reverts back to what it was before that annulled marriage took place. The previous marital status may have to be proven. For example:

  • when the marital status before the annulment is divorced, proof of divorce must be provided in addition to a copy of the court ordered annulment
  • when the previous marital status is never been married, only the court ordered annulment document is needed

When a marriage was annulled, a copy of the court ordered annulment must be provided. Religious and tribunal annulments are not accepted, only court ordered annulments.

Annulment documents that are not in English must be translated. Check with a registry agent for translation requirements.

Interpreters

When getting a marriage licence, both of the persons who will be getting married must be fluent in English (since legal documents are being signed), otherwise an interpreter is needed. When an interpreter is needed, it is your responsibility to provide one.

The interpreter must be:

  • 18 years old or older
  • fluent in both English and the language requiring translation

When the registry agent employee issuing the marriage licence is fluent in the other language, then that registry agent employee may be the interpreter and issue the marriage licence.

The couple applying for a marriage licence cannot interpret/translate for each other.

Cost

There is a $40 government fee for the marriage licence.

Registry agents will charge a service fee. Service fees vary among registry agents.

How to apply

Step 1. Ensure you are eligible to apply for a marriage licence

The marriage must be taking place in Alberta within the next 3 months.

Before applying, ensure you and your partner are eligible. See "Eligibility" above.

Step 2. Gather your documents

Take your acceptable ID with you to get the marriage licence.

Other documents may be needed, such as divorce documents. Contact a registry agent, they can confirm what documents you will need.

Step 3. Go to a registry agent office

Go to a registry agent with your intended spouse, acceptable ID and documents, and apply for a marriage licence.

After you apply

A marriage licence is issued while you wait.

If you do not have all the information and documents needed, the process will be delayed.

Bring your marriage licence to the ceremony and give it to your marriage officiant.

Errors

Review the Registration of Marriage/Marriage Licence document very closely for errors when you get it and before you leave the registry agent office. Always have errors corrected immediately.

Before the ceremony takes place, errors can be corrected by a registry agent.

After the ceremony takes place, errors must be corrected by an amendment.

The marriage officiant cannot correct any information that was provided when the marriage licence was issued.

Contact

To connect with Vital Statistics:

Hours: 8:15 am - 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-427-7013
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
TTY: 780-427-9999
Toll free TTY: 1-800-232-7215 (in Alberta)
Fax: 780-422-4225

Email: vsregistries@gov.ab.ca

Mail:
Vital Statistics
Box 2023
Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 4W7

Courier:
Vital Statistics
Document Reception
John E. Brownlee Building
10365 97 Street
Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 4W7