Marriage to a Zimbabwean Citizen
Every country has its own laws that apply to its citizens marrying a person from a different country. Getting married to a Zimbabwean citizen with the goal of eventually bringing them to Canada to live is a process with many steps.
If you want to bring your Zimbabwean 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.
Zimbabwean Marriage Basic Requirements
In Zimbabwe marriage is a legally recognized institution that is therefore legally governed by an Act of Parliament called the Marriage Act (Chapter 5:11).
The constitution of Zimbabwe does not bar marriage of a Zimbabwean to a national of any other of concern if you are trying to move there permanently.
A marriage officer is a man or woman trained in understanding the Marriage Act in order to uphold the sanctity of the Marriage Act by attending your wedding ceremony and contracting the two parties in marriage in front of witnesses. This means that a marriage is a contract that the marriage officer authorizes on behalf of the government.
Marriage officers do exams and their conduct is expected to be of highest level. Apart from being governed by their own unwritten ethics they are also governed primarily by the Marriage Act (Chapter 5:11) of the Zimbabwean constitution.
According to the laws of Zimbabwe, every magistrate is automatically a marriage officer by virtue of holding the office and remains so for as long as he or she holds that office. He or she is therefore a marriage officer of the district in which he or she holds office.
Apart from magistrates, the vast majority of marriage officers are ministers of religion appointed by the Minister of Justice under whose ministry the Act is administered. The Act facilitates the designation of individuals of certain religious denominations and organizations to be marriage officers. To cover the diverse population and communities in Zimbabwe, marriage officers solemnize marriages according to the different faiths present that are, Christian, Jewish, Islamic, and Hindu rites amongst other religions.
The Minister of Justice has the right to revoke the designation of any person as a marriage officer on the basis of misconduct or any other credible reason pertaining to the duties of the said officer. The government also provides recourse for prejudiced couples.
The Marriage Act leaves room for only marriage officers who are ministers of religion to “demand or receive any gift or reward” for their services. It has been that many marriage officers do not demand payment but expect certain expenses of their services to be covered such as transportation, food and accommodation.
Most couples offer a token of appreciation which may range from $100 to $200.00 or even more. Therefore a marriage in Zimbabwe can be solemnized by a designated marriage officer or magistrate only. Impersonation of a marriage officer carries a penalty of up to 2 years imprisonment if found guilty.
Solemnization of Marriage
It is compulsory to have publication of marriage, in other words you must give public notice of intention to marry or to have a marriage license issued by a magistrate before marriage.
The publication can be through reading or posting on a public notice board in a conspicuous place usually the vicinity of a church or building notice board.
Publication of marriage must be done in three unbroken consecutive weeks prior to your wedding (solemnization of your marriage). This is an important requirement and the marriage officer will refuse to carry out any solemnization if this is not done. This may inevitably result in the wedding being pushed further to accommodate the requisite three consecutive weeks.
The other approaches and options besides publication of marriage are;
- The bride-to-be and the groom will cause a ‘notice of intention to marry’ to be published
- Either of the couple will announce publication of marriage and the other will get a ‘notice of intention to marry’ published
- Ensure that a marriage license has been issued before you marry. This is done at the magistrate’s court.
Registration of Marriage
This is very important: Immediately after the solemnization of a marriage the marriage officer is required to make an entry of the marriage in the marriage register book which has two duplicate registers of the entry.
The marriage officer will issue a single duplicate original register (marriage certificate) which bears the signature of the marriage officer, the couple and that of two witnesses both of ages above eighteen years.
Another duplicate original register has to be submitted to the Registrar within 14 days. It is a good idea towards the end of this period to give the marriage officer a call to ensure that this has been done.
The duplicate register that goes to the Registrar becomes part of the Marriage Registration Book which is accessible at any point in future for whatever purpose.
These are obtained on the day of marriage at the Magistrate’s Court (in the case of a court wedding) or in church for church wedding.
This is what a Zimbabwean Marriage Certificate looks like:
Details contained in each certificate include:
- Names of the Groom and bride
- Ages of the bride and groom
- Home addresses of the bride and groom
- Date of marriage
- Signatures of the bride and groom
- Signatures of the witnesses
- Signature of the marriage officer
Requirements for obtaining a copy of marriage certificate
- Names of the married people
- Date of Marriage
- Chapter type of Marriage
Requirements for foreign nationals coming to Zimbabwe specifically for marriage
- Intentions of getting married in court
- Passports of bride and groom
- Divorce decree if divorced
- Death certificate if widowed
- Intentions of getting married in church
- Marriage license issued by court
- No marriage certificate (or Certificate of Non-Impediment) issued by authorities in one’s country of residence.
A new marriage certificate in Zimbabwe has been introduced that has a serial number, meant to curb marriages of convenience.
The securitized certificate comes into force with immediate effect.
Old marriage certificates, still remain valid while marriage officers have been given a month to surrender old certificates they have not yet issued out.
The introduction of the new marriage certificate is meant to flush out foreigners and Zimbabweans who have allegedly been abusing the country’s marriage laws.
Marriage officers will be required to produce a practising certificate and letter of confirmation from their head of denomination church before they can be given the new certificates.
A foreigner who intends to marry a Zimbabwean is now required to produce an original non-marriage certificate from his or her country of origin, otherwise the marriage cannot continue.
There is a spousal visa or partner visa available, provided to the spouse, civil partner or de facto partner of a resident or Zimbabwean citizen, for the couple to stay together in Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwean marriage visa is provided for an extended period prior to wedding based on a proven relationship with a Zimbabwean citizen or resident.
- Original and signed Canada passport with at least 6 months of remaining validity.
- 2 Passport size photographs
- Proof of status. Copy of Permanent Resident Card or other proof of legal status in Canada (eg study permit, work permit, refugee/protected person status document)
- Itinerary, a copy of round trip tickets or confirmed itinerary.
- Bank Statement or a Copy of a recent bank statement showing proof of sufficient funds.
If your Zimbabwean spouse has dependent children, this does not affect the Zimbabwean Marriage document application.
If you have dependent children, they have no effect on the application to marry a Zimbabwean citizen.
Zimbabwe has traditional ceremonies that mark rite of passage from one stage of life to another. One of those is marriage, the custom is highly complex and there are considerable variations in the practice throughout Zimbabwe.
Dowry is ‘Roora’ in the Shona language; ku-roora means to be a partner in a marriage transaction or to acquire a wife by Shona custom.
The first step in the process involves the selection of a munyai, or messenger, whose function is to convey news of the intended marriage to the family of the bride-to-be. The munyai can be a relative or a close friend of the suitor.
The munyai first approaches the village, looks for a vantage point at a safe distance and calls out “Matsvakirai kuno!” which means “Look, here she is!” .
It is customary that any villagers, who may be nearby, then chase away the munyai while attempting to beat him up.
Sometime later the munyai will be allowed to return to the village without fear of chastisement. The family elders (in practice, this would normally be the woman’s uncles, rather than her father) then meet to determine at what level the roora should be set. Beer is brewed and shared to formalize the settlement. The munyai then returns with the terms set to the groom-to-be.
In rural Zimbabwe a man and his cattle are inseparable. Cows are very valuable because they pull plough, fertilize fields and are a measure of security. It is not surprising that the major portion of roora usually consist of a specified number of cattle.
Types of Marriage
Two types of marriage are recognized under Zimbabwean law. Customary marriages are potentially polygamous and legal for black Zimbabweans only and usually are dissolved only by death (divorce is rare). Civil marriages are monogamous and can be dissolved by death or divorce.
Customary marriages are the more common. Arranged marriages are very rare, although families on both sides are heavily involved in marriage negotiations, which include deciding on the bride price to be paid by the husband to the woman’s family, a wife and her children, belong to the husband and are affiliated with his kin.
The bride, however, decides when to go to her husband. She goes at night, with her female relatives escorting her there. The day she chooses is a surprise to the groom. She is covered in white from head to toe so that no one can see her. As she walks into the village, his family starts dancing and ululating.
They also begin to prepare an impromptu party. The groom is found and told that his bride has arrived. The surprise is to see how the groom’s family reacts to such an emergency. The bride, covered, walks through the whole village, taking her time and parading herself which can be termed as showing off her beauty.
The villagers, all related to the groom, encourage her on. They throw money at her feet and sing songs about how happy they are that their people will live on because the bride has agreed to give birth to their son’s offspring.
She is eventually escorted into her mother in law’s home where she is encouraged to take off her veil with gifts and pleadings. That is when the family gets to see their daughter in law for the very first time. A party of dancing and drinking begins and continues all night long into the morning.
Marriage gives women status and access to land; unmarried men and women are rare. Divorce is not common and carries a stigma, especially for women.
In rural areas the family unit is composed of the husband, the wife or wives, children, and members of the extended family. In urban areas, households are smaller, with a tendency toward a nuclear family of the husband, the wife, and children only.
In polygamous families, each wife has her own house and a share of a field where she can cultivate and grow food.
Households usually are defined in terms of a domestic unit of the wife, the children, and other dependants; therefore a polygamous family and a wider extended family living together may consist of two or more households.
The men have authority, and wisdom is vested in age. After marrying, a man assumes domestic authority as the household head, but in wider family affairs the elders have more say. A woman also gains authority and respect with age, and newly married daughters-in-law take over much of the housework and help in the fields. Assistance continues after a daughter-in-law has established her own house nearby.
Food for weddings
Zimbabweans take the food served at weddings seriously, some would say it even makes or breaks the wedding experience for the guests invited. Weddings are a big deal in Zimbabwe.
Since, historically, many people couldn’t regularly afford meals made with meat, the opportunity to enjoy a traditional, hearty meat stew generally featuring beef, chicken, or goat is always welcome.
Weddings are a very special occasion for guests. In fact, sometimes cows or chickens are given as generous wedding gifts.
Sadza, a staple dish made from ground maize, is usually served alongside stew.
Sadza in Shona (isitshwala in isiNdebele, pap in South Africa, or nsima in the Chichewa language of Malawi), Ugali in East Africa, is cooked cornmeal that is the staple food in Zimbabwe and other parts of southern and eastern Africa. This food is cooked widely in other countries of the region as well.
Sadza in appearance is a thickened porridge. A thinner form of sadza, “porridge”, is cooked with peanut butter or margarine and eaten in the morning as breakfast.
The most common form of sadza is made with white maize. This maize meal is referred to as hupfu in Shona or impuphu in Ndebele. Despite the fact that maize is actually an imported food crop to Zimbabwe, it has become the chief source of carbohydrates and the most popular meal for indigenous people. Locals either purchase the meal in retail outlets or produce it in a grinding mill from their own maize harvested from the farms.
Zimbabweans prefer white maize meal. During famine or hardship they resort to eating yellow maize meal, which is sometimes called “Kenya,” because it was once imported from Kenya a few years back.
Before the introduction of maize, sadza was made from millet flour instead.
The sadza is usually served in a communal bowl or separate plates and is taken with the right hand occasionally, rolled into a ball, and dipped into meat, sauce/gravy, lacto/sour milk or stewed vegetables etc.
Accompaniments for this meal are diverse from meat fried, roasted or sautéed, to vegetables, sour milk and soup.
Sadza does not have a distinct smell, unless it is overcooked or burnt. The taste is somewhat plain although if you have discerning taste buds, the taste is almost similar to oatmeal porridge, this is the reason why accompaniments like beef stew or greens give it a welcome difference in taste.
List of Zimbabwean Consulates in Canada
Currencies in Use in Zimbabwe
The country has adopted a multi-currency scheme, which means other currencies are valid like the US Dollar and South African Rand. Valid currencies:
- South African Rand (R)
- Botswana Pula (P)
- British Pound (£)
- United States Dollar ($)
American Express, Diners Club and Visa are widely accepted, whilst MasterCard is not widely used. Some ATMs will accept credit cards.
Some ATMs accept credit cards.
Banks and major hotels accept these. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveler’s cheques in US Dollars or Sterling Pound.
Mon-Tues and Thurs-Fri 0800-1500, Wed 0800-1300 and Sat 0800-1130.
The import and export of local currency is limited to Z$15,000. Importation of foreign currency is unlimited. The export of foreign currency is also unlimited as long they are declared on entry into the country.
Major foreign currencies can be exchanged at bureau de change, banks and major hotels at the official exchange rate.
How to call Zimbabwe from Canada
To make a call to Zimbabwe from Canada, follow this procedure
- Zimbabwe’s code is 263
- Exit code is 011
- Dial 011-263-area code-local number
How to call Canada from Zimbabwe
Canada’s code is +1 and then the local area code-local number #
|403 / 587 (southern Alberta)
587 / 780 (central and northern Alberta)
|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)
|204 / 431
|782 / 902
|418 / 581 (eastern Quebec)
438 / 514 (Montreal)
450 / 579 (Greater Montreal)
819 / 873 (remainder of Quebec)
|Newfoundland and Labrador
|306 / 639
|782 / 902
The time difference between Zimbabwe and Canada
|Canadian Time Zone
|# of Hours
Zimbabwe is Ahead
|# of Hours
|Pacific (BC, Yukon)
|Mountain (Alberta, western Nunavut, Lloydminster, Saskatchewan)
|Central (Manitoba, Northwest Territories, central Nunavut, northwestern Ontario)
|Eastern (most of Ontario, most of Quebec)
|Atlantic (Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, eastern Quebec)
Emergency Information for Canadians
Embassy of Canada to Zimbabwe in Harare
45 Baines Avenue,
View Larger Map
The Embassy’s office hours for consular, passport and citizenship services are:
- Monday and Wednesday: 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
- Tuesday and Thursday: 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
- Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
For emergency assistance after hours, call the Embassy of Canada in Harare and follow the instructions. You may also call the Emergency Operations Centre in Ottawa at 613-996-8885.
Other important Information
Country Code: 263
IDD: International Direct Dialling is available
Outgoing Code: 00
Emergency telephone numbers
General emergencies – 999
Police – 995
Ambulance – 994
Fire emergency – 993.
- Polio, Typhoid: Vaccination is recommended.
- Malaria: Exists in certain areas throughout the year in the Falciparum variety. Resistance to chloroquine has been reported in some cases.
- Yellow Fever: A vaccination certificate is required for travellers arriving from infected areas.
- Other Health Risks are: Bilharzia, Cholera and Rabies. Incidences of AIDS are also high, visitors should seek medical advice before travelling.
Food and Drink
Piped water in urban areas is considered drinkable. Normal precautions should be observed with food. In rural areas water is untreated and therefore not safe to drink. All fruit and vegetables should be washed and peeled before consumption.
Power and electricity
220/240 Volts AC, 50 Hz.
Religon in Zimbabwe
It is estimated that between 60 and 70 percent of Zimbabweans are mainstream Christian of denominations such as the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Methodist Churches however, over the years a variety of indigenous churches and groups have emerged from these mainstream denominations.
Evangelical denominations, primarily the Pentecostal churches and apostolic groups, were the fastest growing religious groupings in the period 2000–2009.
While the country is overwhelmingly Christian, the majority of the population continues to believe in indigenous religions.
Islam accounts for 1 percent of the population while the remainders of the population practice Greek Orthodoxy, Judaism, and other traditional indigenous religions. There are also small numbers of Hindus, Buddhists, Baha’is, and atheists believers.
Most of Zimbabwean Christians are of the Protestant denomination. The largest Protestant Christian churches are Anglican (represented by the Church of the Province of Central Africa), Seventh-day Adventist and Methodist).
There are fewer than one million Roman Catholics in the country (only about 7% of the total population).
There are two archdioceses (Harare and Bulawayo) each contain three dioceses Chinhoyi, Gokwe, and Mutare and Gweru, Hwange, and Masvingo respectively).
Local churches and groups have also emerged from the mainstream Christian churches over the years they fall between the Protestant and Catholic churches. Some, such as the Zimbabwe Assemblies of God, continue to adhere strictly to Christian beliefs and oppose the traditional religions.
Other local groups, such as the Seven Apostles, combine elements of established Christian beliefs with beliefs based on traditional African culture and religion.
Some churches in Zimbabwe
- Seventh-day Adventist
- Methodist in Zimbabwe
- United Methodist Church
- Roman Catholic
- Zimbabwe Assemblies of God (ZAOGA)
- Word Of Life Ministries
Muslims in Zimbabwe range from as low as 120,000 – 250, 000. The Muslim community consists primarily of South Asian immigrants (Indian and Pakistani), a small number of indigenous Zimbabweans, and a very small number of North African and Middle Eastern immigrants.
There are mosques located in nearly all of the larger towns. There are 18 in the capital city of Harare, 8 in Bulawayo, and a small number of mosques in small towns.
The Muslim community has expanded its outreach efforts with the aid of the Kuwaiti-sponsored African Muslim Agency (AMA) Some chiefs and headmen in the rural areas are rumoured to have converted from Christianity to Islam.
There is small number of Hindus in Zimbabwe. Hindus are mainly concentrated in the capital city of Harare. Hindu society primarily consists of Gujaratis, Goan and Tamil.
Hindu Primary and Secondary schools are found in the major urban areas such as Harare and Bulawayo.
The Hindu Religious and Cultural Institute (HRCI) is dedicated in teaching Sanatana Dharma to children born into Hindu families of Zimbabwe, but non-Hindus are also allowed to study here.
Most Hindu families living in Zimbabwe still have links with India. Gujarati language is taught in HRCI. HRCI also publishes books offering religious education for Hindus.
Brahma Kumaris have three Centres in Zimbabwe (in Harare, Bulawayo, and Victoria Falls) ISKCON has a Centre at Marondera. Ramakrishna Vedanta Society has a centre in Harare.
Zimbabwe offers an experience of a lifetime for any married couple looking for exotic locations to go on honeymoon. Zimbabwe is known for the mighty Victoria Falls (a World Heritage Site), numerous wildlife sanctuaries and game reserves.
Hwange National Park, is one of the largest elephant sanctuaries in Africa, Matobo Hills, noted for its spectacular granite rock formations and its wealth of ancient rock paintings or take a an extraordinary cruise up the mighty Zambezi River.
Best time: April – October
Situated in the lush Victoria Falls Private Game Reserve is a luxurious oasis catering for any honeymoon couple.
Stanley and Livingstone Hotel
The Stanley and Livingstone is located in the heart of a private game-rich reserve, 10 minutes from the romantic Victoria Falls. This boutique hotel represents the grandeur of a bygone era allowing experiences of Africa’s greatest highlights in the utmost comfort and glamour.
Wander through the secluded entrance into your sumptuous honeymoon suite where you will enjoy luxurious pampering. The bedroom is spacious and boasts uncompromised luxury and romance.
The en-suite Victorian bathroom encompasses a blend of old and modern influences with your romantic Victorian-style bathtub and a range of amenities for decadent bathing.
Open four-wheel drive vehicles will take you on exciting safaris along shores of a beautiful lake, through basalt plains and into teak forests. On evening safaris your drive will culminate into romantic dinners under the stars. Explore the ancient wildlife trails on foot accompanied by a professional guide.
An Elephant back safari on an African Elephant is an unforgettable experience. The care giver will introduce and help you mount your Elephant for a meander through the African bush. From its back you have the elevated advantage of viewing game from up-close. Afterwards a delicious breakfast, lunch or snacks are served with the opportunity to interact with your Elephant.
This African country offers the honeymooners a good range of hotels with all the luxuries, amenities and facilities. Your accommodation in any of the hotels will transform your honeymoon into a dream affair. Some of the best hotels and lodges which you will find in the capital city of Harare include:
- Imba Matombo Hotel Harare Zimbabwe
- Crowne Plaza Hotel Monomotapa Harare
- Cresta Jameson Hotel Zimbabwe
- Quality International Hotel Zimbabwe
- Safari Lodge in Harare – Zimbabwe
- Cresta Lodge Zimbabwe
Elephant hills Lodge
At the Elephant Hills Resort, located approximately two miles from the Victoria Falls, couples have a choice of 276 rooms, all of which have mini-bars and balconies. The resort is high on a hill that overlooks the Zambezi River, offering a spectacular view of game drinking water. There are three restaurants, a large outdoor swimming pool and an 18-hole golf course, among other amenities. Guests can also partake in many local area activities, including walking through nature trails, elephant-back safaris, canoeing, whitewater rafting, river cruises and hot water balloon flights over the falls.
Troutbeck Resort is located in Nyanga in Zimbabwe’s Eastern Highlands and features stunning views of Mount Inyangani, the highest peak in the country. Facilities include outdoor swimming pool, tennis, volleyball, squash courts and fishing in the resort’s lake, which, as the resort’s name suggests, teems with trout.
The couple gets arranged trips to World’s View, one of the area’s most popular panoramic vistas. A stable on the premises allows couples to go on scenic horseback tours. The Montclair Casino is also within a short distance of the resort. Troutbeck has 73 rooms. Those in the Lake Wing offer private balconies, glass doors and large windows through which guests can see the lake and the golf course.
Crowne Plaza Monomotapa
Located in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe is the landmark Crowne Plaza Monomotapa resort hotel. The four-star establishment has 133 standard rooms, 38 King Leisure rooms and seven luxury suites.
Facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, two restaurants, two bars, a sundeck and a gymnasium. Couples can also treat themselves to a relaxing massage at the hotel’s massage parlour. The Crowne Plaza is a stone throw away from the Harare’s Central Park and Gardens and a 10-minute drive away from the Botanical Gardens.
Getting to Zimbabwe is quite convenient. The capital city of Harare has a world class international airport which serves major international flights to and from the city. The most frequent carrier is Air Zimbabwe which serves flights to almost all the destinations of Africa and major European cities.
Lake Kariba is a place of outstanding beauty and tranquillity, perfect for a honeymoon experience. Experience a golden Kariba sunset, with the backdrop of rugged mountains and clear African skies, a site to see. A trip on a house boat is one of the many highlights for visitors to the Lake.
Matetsi games Lodge
This location is ideal for a honeymoon because it has 15 km of private river Zambezi river frontage.
It is 40 km from the Victoria falls upstream which originates from the river Zambezi.
Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel
This is another ideal honeymoon destination in the city of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Matapos National Park is close by the hotel as well as the Chipangali wildlife orphanage.
There are 172 guestrooms that are very well appointed and air-conditioned with en-suite bathroom facilities. With 24 hour service available the rooms are the perfect base from which to explore this magic city or to just unwind and relax .There are two fully stocked bars or enjoy a high class meal at the Loziba Restaurant.
Matobo Hills Lodge
Matobo Hills Lodge is located in a private reserve that borders Matobo National Park 50km from Bulawayo city.
Among the facilities offered are bar, lounge, swimming pools, and conference facilities. Bird-life is abundant including the world’s largest concentration of black eagles.
There are also game animals to watch
Aloe Motel and Nature Park
This park is situated 22 km before Bulawayo and on the way to Victoria falls. Wholesome meals, large, clean rooms with showers. It is run by a family so it is a private establishment.
Sponsoring Your Zimbabwean Spouse to Canada
To learn more about the sponsorship process, click the button below.