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Marriage Licence

A Marriage Licence must be purchased before two people can marry in the Province of Nova Scotia.

In Halifax Regional Municipality, a marriage licence can be purchased by appointment with a Deputy Issuer, or from a Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) Customer Service Centre during regular business hours. Please note: in HRM, marriage licences are not sold at the Service Nova Scotia Halifax or Dartmouth Access Centres.

In all other areas of Nova Scotia, a marriage licence can be purchased by appointment with a Deputy Issuer, or from a Service Nova Scotia Access Centre.

Who can Apply for a Marriage Licence?

Obtaining a marriage licence does not mean that you are married, but that you may get married.  The licence will expire one year from the date of issuance.

Either party to the intended marriage must apply in person to a Deputy Issuer of Marriage Licences in their community.

Only one member of the couple needs to apply for the licence, 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
  • Age
  • Proof of marital status is required if either party is widowed or divorced

For more information about certificate costs, please visit Vital Statistics Fees.

Who can get married?

  • Anyone over 19 years of age is eligible to apply for a marriage licence in Nova Scotia.
  • Anyone under 19 years of age must first obtain the 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.
  • You do not have to be a Nova Scotia resident in order to be married here, but the licence is only valid in this Province.
  • If you are living outside Canada or are from another province please read the requirements for purchasing a marriage licence in Nova Scotia. 
  • Blood tests are not required under Nova Scotia legislation.
  • If one or both of the intended parties was divorced, final proof of divorce (called Certificate of Divorce or Decree Absolute) must be provided when applying for a marriage licence. Proof of Divorce must be either original documents or certified copies. If the divorce occurred in another country an the final divorce papers are in another language, a copy of the translated document will be required.
  • If one or both of the intended parties was widowed, proof of death (original documents or certified copies) must be provided.

Note:

Original documents or certified photocopies only will be accepted in support of your application for a marriage licence. A certified copy is a document that has been signed and witnessed as a true copy of the original document by a Solicitor, Notary Public, Justice of the Peace or by an other person authorized to take a statutory declaration.

The Marriage Ceremony

In Nova Scotia, couples can choose a religious or civil ceremony. Either type of ceremony must be witnessed by two people who are at least 16 years of age.

Religious ceremonies are performed by a religious representative of your choice, as long as they are registered with Nova Scotia Vital Statistics under the Solemnization of Marriage Act.

Civil ceremonies are performed by a Justice of the Peace or Judge. The list of Justices of the Peace is available from the Department of Justice website.

Registering the Marriage

The religious representative or Justice of the Peace or Judge who performs the ceremony will also help to complete the necessary Marriage Registration Form.

This form is then sent within 48 hours of the marriage ceremony by the religious representative or Justice of the Peace or Judge to the Deputy Issuer who returns it to the Vital Statistics office, where the marriage is registered and a legal record is kept.

At the time of the ceremony, your religious representative or Justice of the Peace or Judge will provide you with a certificate of marriage. This certificate is a "memento" document, and is not legal proof of marriage.

After the marriage, and following the receipt and registration of the Marriage Registration Form , you may apply to Vital Statistics for an official Marriage Certificate, which is legal proof of marriage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I purchase a marriage licence?

Just contact your local Deputy Issuer of Marriage Licences for further details.

Do I have to change my last name when I get married?

No, you may retain the use of your current surname.

I am getting married outside Nova Scotia, do I have to contact Vital Statistics?

No. All the licensing documentation requirements will be according to the laws of the jurisdiction where the marriage is taking place. The marriage will be registered where it took place, outside Nova Scotia.