Marriage to a Russian Citizen

Every country has its own laws that apply to its citizens marrying a person from a different country. Getting married to a Russian citizen with the goal of eventually bringing them to Canada to live is a process with many steps. 

You must demonstrate to Russian officials that they are not currently married to anyone else - either you have never been married or all divorces are finalized - that your identity is proven, and that you have never committed any crimes in Russian. This is done by providing various documents including an Affidavit of Single Status to the Russian government either in Russian or via a Russian embassy.

If you want to bring your Russian spouse or partner to live in Canada, you must then file a sponsorship application for them to become a permanent resident. If they would like to visit you in Canada while their application is in process, they must also apply for a visitor visa. For more information, please see our family sponsorship page and our visitor visa page.

See a sample Sponsorship Application


Russian Marriage Basic Requirements

Before obtaining a marriage certificate in Russia, official documents received in Canada have to be legalized.

The last thing required is to get the marriage documents translated into Russian and legalized by the Russian embassy or Consulate in Canada. After that your documents are legal and valid in Russia.

Documents that Require Legalization (Authentication) for Marriage in Russia

  • Affidavit of Marital Status
  • Divorce decree (if relevant)
  • Former spouse’s death certificate and previous marriage certificate (if relevant)
  • Birth certificate
  • Name change certificate (if relevant)

A Canadian passport cannot be legalized because it is already an internationally recognized document. Photocopies of the ID and bio page should be notarized as true copies of the original.

Only a civil registration of your marriage is recognized as legal. The legal age for marriage in Russia is 18.

Documents Required from the Canadian

  • Original affidavit of marital Status (valid for 3 months from the date of issue) can be issued in Canada or in Russia by the Canadian embassy.
  • Original and valid Canadian passport
  • Original birth certificate
  • Original death certificate of deceased spouse if widowed
  • Original divorce decree or annulment documents if divorced

Documents Required from the Russian

  • Original and valid passport and ID card
  • Affidavit of marriage Status
  • Original birth certificate
  • Original death certificate of deceased spouse if widowed
  • Divorce decree or annulment if previously divorced


Russian marriage certificate

The Canadian partner can apply for a private visa, which is issued to anyone wishing to visit friends and relatives. It is valid for up to 3 months, an official letter of invitation has to be submitted to support the visa application, the Russian bride must present a photocopy her your passport.

However, private visas can be very cumbersome. Learn more about Russian visas.

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the visa expiry date and have at least two blank pages.

When you arrive in Russia, you should register yourself with the local arm of the Russian Migration Service within 3 days.


Family Members

If your Russian spouse has dependent children, this does not affect the Russian Marriage document application.

If you have dependent children, they have no effect on the application to marry a Russian citizen.


How long is the Russian Marriage document valid?

The document is valid for 6 months from the date of issue. If you do not marry your Russian fiancé within 6 months of the issuance of the Russian Marriage document, you must apply again with new supporting documents.


List of Russian Consulates in Canada

Embassy in Ottawa

Consulate General in Toronto

Russian Currency

Russian Ruble is the official currency of Russia. It is also used as the medium of exchange in many former soviet republics.

The Rouble is one of the world's oldest currencies. It was invented in 15th century, during that time there was soaring demand for silver across Europe that resulted in the growth of value of Russian silver coin to a point when they were no longer useful for purchases.

People started splitting the coins in half. The Russian word for split or cut is “rubit'' and the half coins were called roubles. Even though Russian coins no longer made, the name stuck.

A rouble is divided into 100 pieces of kopek. The inflation rate of the Rouble is 3.7%.

Coins are in denominations of руб1, руб2, руб5, к.10, к.50 and bank notes are in denominations of руб50, руб100, руб500, руб1000, руб5000.


Calling Russia from Canada

  • The exit code for Canada is 011
  • The country code for Russia is 7
  • Dial 011 – 7 – area code – local number

Area Codes for Major Russian Centres

Arkhangelsk 8182 Krasnoyarsk 391 Samara 846
Astrakhan 8512 Kurgan 3522 St. Petersburg 812
Barnaul 3852 Kursk 4712 Saratov 8452
Belgorod 4722 Lipetsk 4742 Smolensk 4812
Bryansk 4832 Magnitogorsk 3519 Stavropol 8652
Cheboksary 8352 Mahachkala 8722 Surgut 3462
Chelyabinsk 3512 Moscow 495/499 Tolyatti 8482
Cherepovets 8202 Murmansk 8152 Tomsk 3822
Chita 3022 Naberezhnye Chelny 8552 Tula 4872
Ekaterinburg 343 Nizhny Novgorod 831 Tver 4822
Irkutsk 3952 Nizhny Tagil 3435 Tyumen 3452
Ivanovo 4932 Novokuznetsk 3843 Ufa 347
Izhevsk 3412 Novosibirsk 383 Ulan-Ude 3012
Kaliningrad 4012 Omsk 3812 Ulyanovsk 8422
Kaluga 4842 Orel 4862 Vladimir 4922
Kazan 843 Orenburg 3532 Vladivostok 423
Kemerevo 3842 Penza 8412 Volgograd 8442
Khabarovsk 4212 Perm 342 Voronezh 473
Kirov 8332 Rostov-on-Don 863 Yakutsk 4112
Krasnodar 861 Ryazan 4912 Yaroslavl 4852


Calling Canada form Russia

  • The international code is 00
  • The country code for Canada is 1
  • Dial 00 – 1 – area code – local number

Area Codes in Canada

Province Code Province  Code

403 / 587 (southern Alberta)

587 / 780 (central and northern Alberta)

Nunavut 867

236 / 250 / 778 (majority of BC)

236 / 604 / 778 (Metro Vancouver)


226 / 519 (southwestern Ontario)

249 / 705 (northeastern Ontario)

289 / 365 / 905 (Greater Toronto Area)

343 / 613 (eastern Ontario)

416 / 647 (Toronto)

807 (northwestern Ontario)

Manitoba 204 / 431 PEI 782 / 902
New  Brunswick 506 Quebec

418 / 581 (eastern Quebec)

438 / 514 (Montreal)

450 / 579 (Greater Montreal)

819 / 873 (remainder of Quebec)

Newfoundland and Labrador 709 Saskatchewan 306 / 639
Northwest Territories 867 Yukon 867
Nova Scotia 782 / 902    

Time Differences

Since Russia does not observe daylight saving time, subtract 1 hour from the time difference during DST (March-November) except if you are calling from Saskatchewan.

Canadian Time Zone Russian Time Zone # of Hours Kaliningrad Time is Ahead # of Hours Moscow Time is Ahead # of Hours Yekaterinburg Time is Ahead # of Hours Omsk Time is Ahead # of Hours Krasnoyarsk Time is Ahead # of Hours Irkutsk  Time is Ahead # of Hours Yakutsk Time is Ahead # of Hours Vladivostok Time is Ahead # of Hours Magadan Time is Ahead
Pacific (BC, Yukon) 11 hours 12 hours 14 hours 15 hours 16 hours 17 hours 18 hours 19 hours 20 hours
Mountain (Alberta, western Nunavut, Lloydminster, Saskatchewan) 10 hours 11 hours 13 hours 14 hours 15 hours 16 hours 17 hours 18 hours 19 hours
Central (Manitoba, Northwest Territories, central Nunavut, northwestern Ontario, Saskatchewan) 9 hours 10 hours 12 hours 13 hours 14 hours 15 hours 16 hours 17 hours 18 hours
Eastern (most of Ontario, most of Quebec) 8 hours 9 hours 11 hours 12 hours 13 hours 14 hours 15 hours 16 hours 17 hours
Atlantic (Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, eastern Quebec) 7 hours 8 hours 10 hours 11 hours 12 hours 13 hours 14 hours 15 hours 16 hours
Newfoundland 6.5 hours 7.5 hours 9.5 hours 10.5 hours 11.5 hours 12.5 hours 13.5 hours 14.5 hours 15.5 hours


Emergency Information for Canadians in Russia

Canadian Consulates in Russia

Embassy of Canada in Moscow

23 Starokonyushenny Pereulok
Moscow, 119002

Telephone: 7 (495) 925-6000
Fax: 7 (495) 925-6004 E-mail:


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Consulate of Canada in Vladivostok

707-59 Krasnogo Znameni prospekt
Vladivostok 690002

Telephone: 7 (4232) 49-11-88
Fax: 7 (4232) 49-11-88 E-mail:


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The Canadian Government's Travel Alerts for Russia


Russian Marriage Customs


Russian wedding customs are different from the normal western traditions. For example, there are no bridesmaids, a best man and flower girls.

In Russia, a man asks a woman if she will marry him that is all, no rings are given and no one is informed about the wedding except closest friends and family.

The wedding is usually planned within 1-3 months. The time depends on the department of registrations (ZAGS - department of registration of civil statuses, which is also responsible for registrations of births, deaths and divorces).

The couple is supposed to write to the department of registrations asking to register their marriage. The department will give them available dates (usually when the registrar is available), but according to the law the waiting period is 1 month.

During the Soviet era, the waiting period was 3 months, so the two had time to cool down. Russians typically marry early, between 18years -22 years.

After the couple has applied to the department of registration, they are considered as bride and groom; but Russians do say they are engaged, they say "They handed in the application". The planning of the wedding is very simple it includes rings, brides' dress, cars, and reception.

Russians consider "engagement rings" as the rings that the couple exchanges during the wedding ceremony which the two buy together and the groom pays this is the necessary part of the wedding tradition.

Marriage Preparations

The bride's dress is usually made especially for the occasion because it's cheaper than buying it. All Russian women are taught how to sew in school, therefore they saw their own wedding gowns. Sewing is compulsory in the course of 'domestic labor' subject for girls in Russian schools, boys are taught how to make furniture and fix pipes among other things.

There is no custom of giving a wedding dress to a daughter, and if somebody marries in their mother's dress people might think it's weird or that you don't have money to buy a new one.

The wedding ceremony is a wedding train of several cars, big black cars are considered a luxury in Russia, and usually if the couple has money, they will hire at least one for the bride.

In the old days the bride's family was supposed to pay for the reception expenses, nowadays brides' and groom's families share expenses.

The reception takes place at a restaurant, cafe or at groom/bride's home, which is more affordable.

The Wedding Day

The groom and the bride have their family and friends with them, meaning the groom's company meets at the groom's place and the bride's company meets at bride's place.

The groom goes to pick up the bride to go sign the marriage registration at ZAGS, and then they go to the ceremony of "brakosochetanie" (this is the formal name of the ceremony when a bride and a groom exchange rings and put their signatures in the registry).

Traditionally the wedding is ruled by "witnesses". The best man and maid of honour usually act as the witnesses.

The groom and the bride go to the registrar’s office in the same train but in different cars. All cars are decorated with ribbons and balloons, often the bride's car has a doll on the bonnet, or two golden rings on top of the car.

The ceremony in ZAGS is similar to what happens at a civil ceremony in the West, the bride and the groom are asked if they want to marry each other before they exchange rings, then they kiss and sign the registry, thereafter the witnesses sign.

Nowadays many couples opt for a marriage, however the church still requires a civil marriage certificate to arrange the ceremony for the couple (the couple must be officially married by ZAGS before the marriage in church). So if the couple plans to have a church ceremony, they usually go through the civil ceremony a few days before the wedding.

After the marriage ceremony the coup leaves the guests for a tour around the city sights. Thereafter they head to the reception.

At the reception, the event begins with a toast. The first toast is dedicated to the new couple. One of the witnesses announces the first toast, and then the parents have their say. Witnesses will also add some greetings, usually in the form of a poem, and eventually announce the toast.

During this part people only eat starters and salads but there are usually 10-20 different types of starters on the table so guests can sample.

There is no tradition of a wedding cake in Russia or the bride and groom cutting it together.

The Wedding Day

The second day of the wedding is a party held at the couple’s new residence (usually at one of the parents' place - most young couples live with wife's or husband's parents first). The party starts in the morning or early afternoon.

Guests must "buy"the cutlery they will use to eat .

On the second day the couple wears different clothes but must be new clothes bought specifically for the occasion.

On the second day they cook a bit less food, mostly food cooked is beetroot soup with vegetables, potatoes and meat or "ukha" (fresh water fish soup with potatoes and onions) soups are very popular among Russians. The main course is often "pelmeni" (similar to ravioli) that can be also eaten with broth.


Wedding Food


Pickled cucumbers are popular in Russia. Served in almost all Russian meals, and goes fine with any dish. Every Russian knows them right from the birth.


Salo (bacon)

In Russia bacon is called “salo” and it is eaten raw, the more fat in it than meat the better it is. Its put the freezer, then sliced thin and eaten with Russian bread and garlic.



Fermented or sour cabbage is almost as popular as pickled cucumbers, and every Russian party including a wedding serves it. Many Russians especially like drinking it’s juice as a hangover killer, together with the pickled cucumbers brine.



This is a famous Russian meat jelly that is served cold, a lot of meat is boiled and left to cool and served with toppings.



Salami goes with Russian bread and butter or cheese and ham as well. It’s a quick snack that is easy to prepare.


Pickled Mushrooms

These are hand-picked and prepared in a special recipe and put in jars, they are only opened during special occasions like wedding feasts.



Marinated herring and black bread, is often served with onions. Some Russians consider it to be “one of the tastiest foods ever”.



Caviar is eaten very often on the big occasions like parties or weddings, served with bread or on its own, eating caviar with just a spoon is a sign of luxury in Russia.


Pickled Tomatoes

Pickled tomatoes are put together with pickled veggies, cucumbers, fermented cabbage and pickled mushrooms all processed at home by Russian wives, ready for New Year celebrations, birthday parties or weddings.


Shashlik (BBQ)

Barbecue is a must in Russia and its called Shashlik which means fried meat.



This recipe is very easy any fish, a few potatoes, some carrots, onions, and salt and here you have perfect soup for any celebration. Also black pepper can be added.



Its red beet and meat soup topped with Smetana, a kind of sour cream.



This is a salad made of boiled potatoes, a lot of mayonnaise, wurst, and green peas.


Religion in Russia

Orthodox Christianity

The Russian Orthodox Church is the largest in Russia. Many Russians consider themselves Russian Orthodox simply because they are Russian, despite the fact that some have never even attended church.

Orthodox followers in Russia range from 60 million-100 million.

Protestant and Catholic Christianity

The Catholic Church in Russia is estimated to have 600,000 to 1.5 million followers. Protestants are more than 2 million, with more than 3,500 officially registered religious organizations.


Buddhism was introduced in Russia around the 16th Century. Southern Russia is home to many large Buddhist temples, particularly in Buryatia, Kalmykia, and Tuva. Buddhists in Russia range between 1.5 million-2 million.


Islam in Russia is a minority religion, with believers estimated at 9 million. In Moscow there are about 2 million Muslims living there. The Moderate Council of Muftis is the central leadership figure that oversees Islam in Russia.


Although they represent a small segment of the population, the Jewish community in Russia and they are very active, the Jewish population of Russia is estimated at 228,000.

Shamanism / Paganism and other traditional beliefs

The Evenk are the traditional and most populous adherents of Shamanism in Russia, it is a mystical and decentralized religion. The population of Shamanists or pagans is not clear.

Atheism and Agnosticism

According to a 2006 poll, 11% of the Russian population said they do not identify with any religion, 3% found the question hard to answer.


Church in Moscow


Ivolginsky Datsan


Mosque in St Petersburg


Temple of all religions in Kazan


Romantic, Scenic and Historic Places in Russia

Gorely Volcano - Kamchatka

Gorely is an active volcano close to the Mutnovski, in the south of Petropavlovsk. There are two lakes, with one being acidic because of sulphur gas exhausts, and seven craters. 


Alexander Gardens - Moscow

The most famous attraction of Alexander gardens is the Kutafya Tower of the Moscow Kremlin. A ruined cave was built to Bove's decoration beneath the Middle Arsenal Tower in the year1841.


Dostoevsky Museum - Moscow

Dostoevsky museum is a collection of family portrayals, designs and lithographs of a variety of scenes in Moscow. It contains some of Russia’s ancient history including the book that contains records of the birth of Dostoevsky in the year 1821, and his feather pen with the signature sealed under glass.


Gertsev Gallery - Moscow

The Gertsev gallery is a contemporary art gallery. It is one of the best privately owned and popular galleries in Moscow. It was established in1996 and has a magnificent collection of modern Russian as well as foreign paintings.


Gorky Park - Moscow

Gorky Park is an amusement park in this city named in memory of Maxim Gorky. During the winter months, it is covered in snow and provides an excellent venue to try ice-skating near the park.


Hermitage Gardens - Moscow

Hermitage Gardens is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Moscow, it was opened for the public in 1894.

It is also widely used to hold various functions and events. Several high profile performances by eminent performing artists are also organized in this garden.


Kedrovaya Pad - Primorsky

Kedrovaya Pad is a highly protected wildlife and forest reserve in the south of the Far East Russian state of Primorsky.  This is a conservancy created to protect endangered species of Leopards and it’s a tourist destination popular with wildlife enthusiasts.




Ararat Park Hyatt

Ararat Park Hyatt is located in the heart of the Russian capital, Moscow, within the vicinity of the Bolshoi Theatre. The hotel is only a few minutes’ walk from the Kremlin, Red Square, the Russian Parliament building and Moscow's central business district.

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Grand Hotel Europe

Grand Hotel Europe was the first 5-star hotel in Russia dating back to 1824.

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Hotel National

Built in 1903 by the famous Russian architect Alexander Ivanov, Hotel National has been an awesome historic landmark for Russia for more than a century.

Located at the heart of Moscow's historical, cultural and business centre, the magnificent hotel opens spectacular vistas of the Kremlin and the Red Square.

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Ritz Carlton

The 11-story hotel, ideally located near the Kremlin and the adjacent Red Square, will set a new standard of luxury and service for visitors.

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St. Petersburg

Hotel Astoria

Located in St Isaac's Square in the heart of St Petersburg, the Astoria hotel sits opposite the beautiful St Isaac's cathedral and is walking distance to the Hermitage Museum.

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Bringing Gifts to Russia

Items Free from Entry Duties:

  • 400 cigarettes or 200 cigarillos or 100 cigars or 500 grams of tobacco products, as long as only one type of tobacco product is imported (otherwise only half of the quantities allowed)
  • 2 litres of alcohol, for persons ages 21 years and above only
  • Perfume for personal use
  • Goods up to an amount of RUB 65,000 for personal use only
  • Caviar (must be factory packed) max of 250 grams per person


Restricted Items:

  • Customs declaration forms filled out on entry of Russia must be kept carefully. When leaving Russia, this declaration has to be handed over, even when travelling to another C.I.S. country.
  • Dairy and meat products are permitted (except from Armenia and Georgia), provided they are packed in original factory packing and in quantities that can be considered for own personal use. Larger quantities are subject to inspection and travellers will be requested to provide the appropriate documentation, including veterinary health documents.
  • Cats, dogs and birds must be accompanied by veterinarian health certificate. All animals, except cats & dogs, special import permission from Veterinary department, Ministry of Agriculture is required. (Pets are not permitted in hotels.)
  • For travellers entering Russia, baggage allowance is 35 kg and/or a value of RUB 65,000. A customs fee of EUR 4per kilo will apply.


Prohibited Items:

  • Photographs and printed material that speaks against Russian Federation government
  • Sturgeons fish and any product made thereof and live animals (subject to special permit).
  • Dairy and meat products from Armenia and Georgia.
  • Arms and ammunition.


Bringing Items Out of Russia

No Exit Duties

  • Goods for personal use


Restricted Items

  • Archaeological, historical and artistic objects are allowed with only with written permission of Ministry of Cultural Affairs and with a photograph of the exported object.
  • All kinds of weapon require a permit from Internal Affairs Ministry


Prohibited Items

  • Arms, ammunition, precious metals, (gold, silver, etc.) and articles made thereof (also if containing precious stones like pearls)
  • Acipenseridae family (sturgeons) fish and any product made thereof.
  • Antiques and art objects (subject to duty and special permit from the Ministry of Culture) furs.


How to Sponsor Your Russian Spouse to Canada

For more information on sponsoring your Russian spouse to Canada, click the button below:

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