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Certificates and copies of acts

A few words about certificates and copies of acts

Certificates and copies of acts are official documents issued by the Directeur de l'état civil with regard to births, marriages, civil unions and deaths entered in the Québec register of civil status.

Certificates and copies of acts are written using the information shown in the original act entered in the register. They reproduce the spelling used in the original act, not the spelling used in the application form for a certificate or a copy of an act. Furthermore, they are written in the language in which the event was registered.

A certificate or a copy of an act for a civil status event can be obtained by using the corresponding application form.

A certificate or a copy of an act of birth serves as proof of birth and is required, in particular, if you want to:

  • apply for a passport;
  • apply for Québec Pension Plan benefits or Government of Canada retirement allowances;
  • obtain a health insurance card, a social insurance card or a first driver’s licence;
  • register your child for elementary or secondary school;
  • apply for admission to CEGEP or university;
  • apply for a student bursary;
  • apply for your child’s admission to a childcare centre or a day care centre.

A certificate or a copy of an act of marriage serves as proof of marriage and, in particular, facilitates the exercise of civil rights for spouses and children alike.

A certificate or a copy of an act of civil union serves as proof of civil union and, in particular, facilitates the exercise of civil rights for spouses and children alike.

A certificate or a copy of an act of death serves as proof of death, and

  • facilitates the settlement of a succession;
  • determines the date of payment of benefits or annuities to the surviving spouse and to the children.

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Which document to request: a certificate or a copy of an act?

Before applying for a certificate or a copy of an act, find out the type and format of the document required by contacting the organization to which it must be submitted.

For a child less than 18 years old, we recommend the long-form birth certificate. It contains the parents’ names, and certain organizations require this document for applications made by a minor or in the minor's name.

The table below shows the information contained in certificates and copies of acts
Document type Document format Information contained in the document
Birth certificate Long-form 21.5 cm x 18.5 cm

Surname, given names, sex, date, time and place of birth, registration number, surnames and given names of the father and the mother, document number (since March 29, 2005), date of issue and, where applicable, notations entered in the act since it was drawn up.

Birth certificate Short-form 8.7 cm x 5.5 cm

Surname, given names, sex, date, time and place of birth, registration number, document number (since March 29, 2005), date of issue and, where applicable, notations entered in the act since it was drawn up.

Copy of an act of birth 21.5 cm x 26.7 cm

Integral reproduction of the information contained in the act, document number (since March 29, 2005) and date of issue.

Note: This document may show information pertaining to several civil status events. Information may be missing if one of these events occurred before 1994.

Marriage certificate 21.5 cm x 18.5 cm

Surnames, given names and sex of the spouses, date and place of the marriage, registration number, document number (since March 29, 2005), date of issue and, where applicable, notations entered in the act since it was drawn up.

Copy of an act of marriage 21.5 cm x 26.7 cm

Integral reproduction of the information contained in the act, document number (since March 29, 2005) and date of issue.

Note: This document may show information pertaining to several civil status events. Information may be missing if one of these events occurred before 1994.

Certificate of civil union 21.5 cm x 18.5 cm

Surnames, given names and sex of the spouses, date and place of the civil union, registration number, document number (since March 29, 2005), date of issue and, where applicable, notations entered in the act since it was drawn up.

Copy of an act of civil union 21.5 cm x 26.7 cm

Integral reproduction of the information contained in the act, document number (since March 29, 2005) and date of issue.

Note: This document may show information pertaining to several civil status events. Information may be missing if one of these events occurred before 1994.

Death certificate 21.5 cm x 18.5 cm

Surname, given names, sex, date, time and place of death, date of birth (on every certificate issued since February 2012), registration number, document number (since March 29, 2005) and date of issue.

Copy of an act of death 21.5 cm x 26.7 cm

Integral reproduction of the information contained in the act, document number (since March 29, 2005) and date of issue.

Note: This document may show information pertaining to several civil status events. Information may be missing if one of these events occurred before 1994.

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Who can apply for a certificate or a copy of an act?

To protect the identity of the persons registered in the Québec civil status register, a certificate or a copy of an act can be issued only to persons mentioned in the act to which the application pertains, or to persons who establish their interest.

If your name does not appear in the act, you must explain in the appropriate space on the application form why you wish to obtain a certificate or a copy of an act pertaining to someone else, and attach to the form a photocopy of an official document—for example, a power of attorney or a will—proving the reason given. We will assess the reason.

However, if the document requested concerns a deceased person and you are the person's spouse, child, brother or sister, you do not have to submit an official document justifying your application, event if you are not mentioned in the act.

In order for us to establish your family or marital relationship with the person to whom the application pertains, you must provide us with your date of birth if you were born in Québec. If not, you must attach a photocopy of your certificate or copy of your act of birth or, where applicable, a photocopy of your certificate or copy of your act of marriage or civil union with that person.

Important

We consider there is a family or marital relationship between two persons when this relationship can be established by consulting the civil status acts of those persons in the Québec register of civil status.

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Establishing the applicant's identity

We apply security measures to ensure that the person applying for a civil status document is authorized to obtain it. To that end, we require that every applicant attach to the application two different documents issued by two separate organizations. You must therefore attach to your application:

  • a valid photo ID
  • a valid proof of home address

If these two documents are not attached, the application may be returned to you without being processed.

Different requirements apply if you use the DEClic! and DEClic! Express online services.

Important

For a list of the documents accepted for an application submitted by mail or at a service counter, see the general information and instructions on the "Application for a Certificate or Copy of an Act" form.

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How to apply for a certificate or a copy of an act

You can submit an application in one of the following three ways: over the Internet, by mail or at a service counter. We offer normal or accelerated processing. Cost, processing time and method of delivery vary according to the type of processing and the mode of transmission you choose. To find out more, consult the Processing fees and turnaround section.

Over the Internet

You can apply over the Internet for a certificate or a copy of an act by using our DEClic! online service. You will pay less for your documents and eliminate postal delivery times.

Our online service is secure and accessible at all times, anywhere. Certain conditions apply.

By mail

If you choose to apply by mail, you must complete one of the "Application for a Certificate or Copy of an Act" forms.

There is a form for each of the following events: birth, marriage or civil union and death.

You can obtain paper versions of the forms at our Québec and Montréal service counters , at Services Québec offices or by contacting us. Be sure to always complete the latest version of a form in order to avoid any delay in processing your application. The version of the form is indicated in the upper right-hand corner of the document, next to the title.

PDF versions of the forms are available on our website and can be filled out on a computer screen. Download one of the forms.

At a service counter

You can submit your "Application for a Certificate or Copy of an Act" form and your payment in person at one of our service counters in Québec or Montréal or at a Services Québec office that offers our services. You can also fill out the form at the counter.

Important

If your name is not mentioned in the act related to the document requested, remember to provide a photocopy of the document justifying your application.

It is preferable to present originals of your photo ID and proof of home address if you submit your application in person at one of our service counters or at a Services Québec office that offers our services.

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Checklist

If you apply using a printed form, you must:

  • Complete all of the sections of the form.
  • Write in block letters (uppercase, lowercase, accented characters), in black or blue ink.
  • Attach a photocopy of a valid photo ID.
  • Attach a photocopy of a valid proof of home address.
  • Attach a photocopy of the document establishing why you want to obtain the civil status document, if your name is not mentioned in the act.
  • Sign and date your application.
  • Include your payment and verify that it corresponds to the total cost of the documents requested.
  • Take the time to verify that the information in the form and the spelling used are accurate. Be sure that you have chosen the proper type of document.

For information about the processing time of an application, consult the Processing fees and turnaround section.

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Security features of certificates and copies of acts

The certificates and copies of acts we issue include security features that ensure their authenticity. These features, described on the reverse side of the documents, are the following:

  • Watermarked security paper
    The drawing below, or part of it, can be seen by holding the paper up to a light.
    Fleur-de-lys is visible and Québec.
  • Chemical protection
    Chemical indicators incorporated into the paper cause stains to appear when the paper is exposed to ink solvents.
  • Engraving
    Fine, continuous blue lines are printed at the top of the document, giving a relief effect and a rough feeling to the touch.
  • Latent image
    When holding the document at eye height and looking at it horizontally, a fleur-de-lys is visible in the upper right-hand corner of the engraving. This image cannot be reproduced by a photocopier.

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Loss or theft of a certificate or a copy of an act

If a certificate or a copy of an act is lost or stolen, please contact us by telephone before applying for a new document. That way, we can invalidate the lost or stolen document in order to contribute to the prevention of identity theft. Note that we can invalidate only documents issued since March 29, 2005, and that only the person who applied for the certificate or copy of an act can notify us of the loss or theft.

If, because of circumstances surrounding the loss or theft of the document, you wish to have a note added to the concerned file so that it is harder to issue certificates or copies of acts, you must send us a request in writing to that effect. In your request, you must

  • explain the circumstances surrounding the loss or theft of the document;
  • ask that a note be added to the file making it harder to issue certificates or copies of acts;
  • indicate the surname, usual given name, date and place of birth of the person who lost the document or had it stolen, as well as the surnames, usual given names and birthdates of the person's parents;
  • indicate your surname, usual given name, address and telephone number;
  • in case of theft, provide a photocopy of the police report, if any.

Your request must be sent to the following address:

Gestion des retours
Directeur de l'état civil
2535, boulevard Laurier
Québec (Québec)    G1V 5C5

We recommend that a new application for a certificate or a copy of an act be submitted before or at the time of the request to have a note added to your file. You will then be able to obtain a document one last time without being subjected to the inconveniences related to this security measure.

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Online service: Verification of the validity of a certificate or a copy of an act

The Verification of the validity of a certificate or copy of an act This link opens a new window. online service enables you to ensure that a certificate or a copy of an act issued after March 29, 2005 is valid. The service also indicates whether, since the document was issued, the death of the person or one of the persons to whom the document pertains was entered in the Québec register of civil status or whether a notation of dissolution of a marriage or civil union was made to the act being consulted. Lastly, it indicates whether the document was declared stolen or lost.

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Reviewed: 2013-05-28

If you want to make a comment, a suggestion or a complaint,
feel free to contact the Bureau de la qualité des services

Website of Québec.

© Gouvernement du Québec, 2014

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