Marriage to a British Citizen
Every country has its own laws that apply to its citizens marrying a person from a different country. Getting married to a British citizen with the goal of eventually bringing them to Canada to live is a process with many steps.
If you want to bring your British 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 an Electronic Travel Authorization. For more information, please see our family sponsorship page and our eTA article.
If you file a Canadian sponsorship application for your British spouse or partner, this application takes an average of 10-12 months.
An eTA application for your spouse or partner to visit you in Canada while the sponsorship applications are processing will be granted instantly if approved.
Costs of the Process
To learn about the costs of the sponsorship process, click here.
British Marriage Basic Requirements
In 1837 civil registration was introduced in England and Wales, providing a central record of all births, deaths and marriages.
A Registrar General was appointed with the overall responsibility and the country was divided into registration districts, each controlled by a superintendent registrar.
Under this new system, all marriages have been certified by the issuing of a marriage certificate whose details are also stored in a central database.
From then onward, marriage ceremonies could be performed, and certificates issued either by a clergyman of the Church of England, in a parish church, or by a civil registrar in a civil register office.
Marriages performed according to the ceremonies of Quakers and Jews also continued to be recognized as legal marriages, and certificates were issued.
The certificate shows the date of the marriage, full names of both the bride and groom, age of both as well.
The certificate also records the previous marital status of the bride and groom. Those not previously married are either “bachelor” or “spinster.” From 1858 to 1952 a previously divorced groom was listed as “the divorced husband of so and so with his ex-wife’s maiden name listed, and vice versa for a divorced bride. The currently used wording is “previous marriage dissolved” with no further details given.
Unlike birth and death registrations, the local copies of marriage registers for churches are treated as ecclesiastical records and thus are deposited in diocesan record offices or county record offices (often but not always the same office) when full or when the church is closed.
These records are available for inspection in their original form (or a direct filmed copy) without the requirement to pay a search fee or the purchase of certified copies.
Marriage Visa can be granted to people who are married to or in a civil partnership with a UK citizen or permanent resident. UK citizens and permanent residents are allowed to sponsor their spouses or partners for a marriage visa.
Dependent children can also be included on Marriage Visa applications.
Applicants who have been married for less than 4 years will qualify for a 2 year visa to live and work in the UK, after which, if the relationship is still in place, they could apply for indefinite leave to remain.
Applicants who have been married and lived together for 4 years or more with their sponsor outside the UK before applying to enter on a marriage visa, may be granted Indefinite Leave to Remain straight away.
If your British spouse has dependent children, this does not affect the British Marriage document application.
If you have dependent children, they have no effect on the application to marry a British citizen.
Just like many cultures around the world, UK has its own traditions that are somewhat followed to date regarding marriage and weddings.
In the past when the marriage proposal was a more formal affair, the prospective groom sent his friends or members of his immediate family mostly older uncles or cousins to represent his interests to the prospective family of the bride.
If they saw a blind man, a monk or a pregnant woman during their journey it was believed that the marriage would be doomed if they continued their journey as these sights were thought to be a bad omen.
But if they saw nanny goats, pigeons or wolves these were good omens which would bring good fortune to the marriage.
During Medieval times in UK the man proposed by leaving a hawthorn branch at the door of the fiancé’s home on the first of May.
By leaving the branch at the door she accepted his proposal. She made known her refusal by replacing the hawthorn branch with a cauliflower.
A green dress is thought to be unlucky unless the bride is from Ireland. The belief is that a woman who had a 'green gown' was promiscuous, the green being due to rolling in grassy fields.
Traditionally, brides have been thought to be particularly vulnerable to evil spirits and many of the customs and traditions associated with weddings are to provide protection. The veil was originally worn by Roman brides. It was thought that it would disguise the bride and therefore deceive evil spirits.
The veil became popular in Britain in the eighteen hundreds and it is associated with modesty and chastity.
Flowers have for a long time always been used for decoration at weddings. Flowers chosen at the wedding are on the basis of their symbolic meaning. For example orange blossom flowers are popular because they symbolize purity and chastity.
Roses symbolise love and snowdrops represent hope. A combination of red and white flowers is not common, because they stand for blood and bandages.
The groom often chooses a flower for his suit buttonhole which also occurs in the bride's bouquet. This is a vestige of the time when a Knight would wear his Lady's colors to display his love.
Journey to the Wedding
When the bride is ready to leave the house for the wedding ceremony, a last look in the mirror will bring her good luck. Returning to the mirror once she has begun her journey will result in bad luck.
Seeing a chimney sweep on the way to a wedding is thought to bring good luck and it is still possible to hire one to attend wedding ceremonies. Other good luck omens when spotted on the way to the ceremony include lambs, toads, spiders, black cats and rainbows.
Seeing an open grave, a pig, a lizard, or hearing a cockerel crow after dawn are all thought to bring bad luck.
Monks and nuns are also a bad omen. The belief is that they are associated with poverty and chastity. They are also though to signal a dependence on charity.
Bad weather on the way to the wedding is thought to be an omen of an unhappy marriage, although in some cultures rain is considered a good omen. Cloudy skies and wind are believed to cause stormy UK marriages. Snow on the other hand is associated with fertility and wealth.
Bridesmaids were dressed identical to the bride for the same reason as the origin of veil. The bridesmaids were thought to act as decoys to confuse evil spirits and thus protect the bride.
The wedding cake
The couple makes the first cut together to symbolise their shared future.
In Britain cakes were flat and round and contained fruit and nuts which symbolise fertility. In the past the custom was to throw many small cakes over the bride in a similar way in which we throw confetti today.
Also it was customary to crumble cake over the brides head. In Scotland Oat Cakes were used for this purpose. This was done to promote fertility.
In Yorkshire a plate holding the wedding cake was thrown out of the window as the bride returned to her parental home after the wedding. If the plate broke she would enjoy a happy future with her new husband but if the plate remained intact her future would be grim.
A number of customs involving shoes were thought to bring good luck. The best known, which is still upheld, is to tie shoes to the back of the newlyweds' car. This has been borrowed from the Tudor custom where guests would throw shoes at the newlyweds. It was considered good luck if the shoes hit them or the car
The bride's father gives the groom a pair of the bride's shoes to symbolise the passing of his daughter’s responsibility to her new husband. A different version of the custom is for the groom to tap the bride on the forehead with one of the shoes to assert his dominance.
After the reception, the bride throws her bouquet back over her shoulder where the unmarried female guest group together in anticipation. Tradition is that the one who catches the bouquet will be the next one in line to marry.
A similar custom is for the groom to remove the garter worn by the bride and throw it back over his shoulder toward the unmarried male guests. Again the one who catches it will be the next to marry.
Crossing the Threshold
After the wedding the bride must enter the new marital home through the main entrance. It is traditional for the groom to carry the bride over the threshold when they enter for the first time.
The belief is that the bride will be visited by bad luck if she falls when entering. An alternative is that the bride will be unlucky if she steps into the new home with the left foot first.
The bride can avoid both mishaps by being carried by her husband.
The Best Man
It is the best man's duty to protect the groom from bad luck. He must ensure that once the groom has begun his journey to the church, he does not return back for whatever reason.
He must also ensure the groom carries a small mascot or charm in his pocket on the wedding day. When the best man is paying the church minister's fee he should pay him an odd sum to bring luck to the couple.
The term "honeymoon" is thought to originate from the times when a man captured his bride. The couple would hide from the bride's parents before marrying. They would remain in hiding for another cycle of the moon after the wedding. During this period they drank honey wine.
In Scotland, the custom was for a breastfeeding woman to prepare the matrimonial bed to encourage fertility in the newlyweds.
In Ireland a laying hen was tied to the matrimonial bed on the first honeymoon night in the hope that some of its fertility would be passed on to the couple. Eating an egg with two yolks was also thought to bring fertility.
Food for Weddings
In England, fruit cake is a must-serve at weddings, and Christmas as well. Tradition dictates that the top layer of a wedding cake should be saved for the first anniversary.
Fruitcake is made with rum so it’s better to go easy on it.
These are the wedding favourites in various regions of UK;
Gloucester sausages served with Tewkesbury mustard, Cornish lamb pasties, Bath buns, Bath Oliver biscuits, Colston buns, Cornish saffron cake with clotted cream, Easter biscuits and local cider.
The south part serves Watercress from Hampshire, a Bedfordshire clanger, cottage loaves, cider cake, Isle of Wight crab pasties and barley wine.
In the South East, they serve oysters, jellied eels, lamb from Romney sheep or Southdown sheep, Coronation Chicken using Sussex chickens, Chelsea buns, Maids of Honor open tarts that look like simple cheesecakes, and bitter beer from Kent
Cromer crabs, potted crab, Suffolk ham, new market sausages, custard tart, Norfolk knob, Colman's mustard and cider are all served at weddings.
In East Midlands they serve Stilton cheese, Lincolnshire sausages, Melton Mowbray Pork Pie, Ashbourne gingerbread, Bakewell pudding and Melton Hunt cake.
Evesham asparagus, Fidget pie which is a cooked pork, ham or bacon, vegetable and apple raised pie, Pikelet bread, Banbury cake, Shrewsbury cake, Staffordshire oatcake, Bitter beer and Worcestershire sauce
Glamorgan sausage, Caerphilly cheese and Welsh cakes are served at weddings.
North West England
Cheshire cheese, potted shrimps, Herdwick lamb, Cumberland sausage, Borrowdale tea bread, Eccles cake and Grasmere gingerbread
Rhubarb, Wensleydale cheese, muffins, Yorkshire curd tarts, Yorkshire parkin, Pontefract cakes and black beer
North East England
England brown ale and mead.
Lanark blue cheese, Dundee cake, Border tart, Cumnock tart, and Parkin biscuit.
List of British Consulates in Canada
Canadian Consulate / Embassy in the UK
High Commission of Canada in London
MacDonald House 38 Grosvenor Steet,
Telephone: 44 (20)7258-6600
Honorary Consul of Canada
Telephone:44 0289 754 2405
Consulate of Canada in Cardiff
c/o St John Cymru Wales,
Telephone: 44(0) 2920-449635
Consulate of Canada in Edinburgh
Telephone: 85 (2) 3719 4700
The official currency of England is the Sterling Pound. Sterling is the fourth most traded currency in the foreign exchange market, after the American dollar, the euro, and the Japanese yen.
Calling England from Canada
This is the procedure for calling UK from Canada;
- The exit code for Canada is 011
- The code for UK is 44
- Dial 011 – 44 – area code - local number
Calling Canada from England
This is the procedure for calling Canada from UK;
- The international code for calling is 00
- The code for Canada is 1
- Dial 00 – 1 – area code – local number
|Alberta||403 / 587 (southern Alberta)
587 / 780 (central and northern Alberta)
|BC||236 / 250 / 778 (majority of BC)
236 / 604 / 778 (Metro Vancouver)
|Ontario||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|
|Nova Scotia||782 / 902|
Time difference with Canada
The time zone in England is UTC/GMT 00
|Canadian Time Zone||# of Hours
The UK is Ahead
|# of Hours
|Pacific (BC, Yukon)||8 hours||8 hours|
|Mountain (Alberta, western Nunavut, Lloydminster, Saskatchewan)||7 hours||7 hours|
|Central (Manitoba, Northwest Territories, central Nunavut, northwestern Ontario)||6 hours||6 hours|
|Eastern (most of Ontario, most of Quebec)||5 hours||5 hours|
|Atlantic (Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, eastern Quebec)||4 hours||4 hours|
|Newfoundland||3.5 hours||3.5 hours|
The main religion in England is Christianity as practised by the Church of England.
The Church in Wales is Anglican while in Scotland the official Church is Presbyterian Church of Scotland.
Other groups are Roman Catholics and Methodists.
The Queen of the British monarchy is called the Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
Burgh Island, Devon.
Located in Bigbury Devon in South England is an island that has a magnificent view of South Devon coastline.
It is home to Home to the famous Art Deco Burgh Island Hotel.
Occupying the south bank of the Dart Estuary, exceptional views across water to the marina and Kingswear, Dartmouth has a rich history and remarkable natural beauty.
It's a top holiday and weekend destination. From the Cherub Inn, its fourteenth century pub, to half-timbered Victorian design buildings, its seventeenth century museum to Victorian shop fronts, the town's narrow streets are a pleasure in which to walk. Ships sailed from its natural harbour to fight in the Crusades, American troops also trained in the local area for the D-Day landings in World War 2.
St Ives, Cornwall
St Ives is an iconic Cornwall town that offers almost everything for a honeymoon or longer holiday. There's great food and drink, beaches and sea and, when the sun's out, exceptional light.
To the north, the path skirts St Ives Bay, is said to be one of the most beautiful in the world, to Godrevy Cove and beyond. In spring there are plenty of seals sunbathing in the secluded sandy coves creating a spectacular scenery.
In Pardstow there is Food, drink and exquisite landscape to explore. Attractions include a walled harbor and exceptional views of the Camel Estuary.
Padstow is a small fishing port located on the west bank of the Camel Estuary, part of the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Across the water is Rock.
Lyme Regis, Dorset.
Lym Regise town looks out across Lyme Bay towards one of the most dramatic stretches of the Jurassic Coast including Golden Cap and the distinctive orange cliffs at West Bay. Beyond that are Chesil Beach and the Isle of Portland.
There's a museum, aquarium, countless pubs, cafes, restaurants and loads of shops perfect for a honeymoon getaway.
Dartmoor national park
The most southerly National Park in the UK, Dartmoor is located in Devon in South West England. The Park is a short drive north east of Plymouth and south west of Exeter. There are castles and gorges, museums and ancient woodlands that are popular with hikers.
Bath's one of the UK's most popular destinations. Along with London and Edinburgh, it is also a UNESCO world heritage site.
Famous attractions are architecture, view of Pulteney bridge, Victoria art gallery and the Bath skyline walk.
In addition to its thirteenth century cathedral, attractions in Salisbury include Salisbury cathedral close, Mompesson House, Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum and The Rifles Museum.Visiting Salisbury St Thomas Beckett Church is highly recommended. The Doomsday Painting here is the largest in England. Harnham Water meadows have a classic view of the cathedral as painted by John Constable.
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument of unique importance, a World Heritage Site, surrounded by remains of ceremonial and domestic structures making it a world renowned tourist attraction.
Learn more about sponsoring your British spouse