Frequently asked questions

Here are the answers to questions we are frequently asked:

Certificates and copies of acts

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What birth certificate format should I request?

Before applying for a certificate or 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 under 18 years of age, we recommend the long-form birth certificate because it contains the parents’ names.


What document do I need to settle a succession (estate)?

You should apply for a copy of the act of death because it is an integral reproduction of the information contained in the act.


What do I have to do if I want to apply for a certificate or copy of an act, but don’t have a valid photo IDs?

If you have an identifier (user code and password) for clicSÉQUR, the government authentification service, you can submit your application using the online service DEClic! - Application for a certificate or copy of an act. If you don’t already have a clicSÉQUR identifier, you can get one when you access the online service, provided that you filed a Québec income tax return the previous year.

If you’re unable to submit your application using our online service and you can’t provide a valid photo ID, you must enclose a duly completed guarantor’s declaration with your application form Déclaration du répondant (PDF, 41 Ko) A guarantor is a person who confirms your identity. The guarantor must not seek monetary compensation for taking on that responsibility. The declaration form is available in the “Forms” section of our website, at our Québec or Montréal service counters and some Services Québec offices, or by contacting us.

Application for a certificate or copy of an act for a child under 18 years of age

Since the applicant must provide documents that a child under 18 years of age may not be able to provide, it is recommended that one of the parents act as the applicant on the child’s behalf.


Can I obtain a certificate or copy of an act in whatever language I want?

No. Certificates and copies of an acts are always issued in the same language in which the act was drawn up and entered in the register of civil status.

In exceptional cases, the language of registration can be changed if it is established that an error was made when registering the act.

For more information, see the directive Correction d'une erreur relative à la langue dans laquelle un acte de l'état civil a été dressé (PDF, 40,3 Ko) (in French only).


How can I obtain a certificate or copy of an act if I don’t live in Québec but the civil status event occurred in Québec?

You can apply for the certificate or copy of an act using the DEClic! online service if you have an identifier (user code and password) for clicSÉQUR, the government authentification service. If you do not have one, you can get one by creating a clicSÉQUR account. To do so, you need only have filed a Québec income tax return recently and have a home address in Canada. Otherwise, you can complete the application form corresponding to the certificate or copy of an act you want and mail it to us, along with the required ID documents. For more information, see the Certificates and copies of acts section.


Can I apply for a certificate or copy of an act that concerns someone else?

If your name is mentioned in the act of the person concerned—for example, if you are the person’s mother or father or, in the case of a death, the declarant—you will not be required to establish your interest.

If your name is not mentioned in the act, you must establish your interest by explaining why you are applying for a certificate or copy of an act that concerns someone other than yourself and attach a photocopy of an official document as proof of the reason given. For more information, see the Certificates and copies of acts section.


What do I have to do to obtain a civil status document from Québec for a birth, marriage or death that occurred outside Québec?

You can ask the registrar of civil status to insert an act in respect of a civil status event that occurred outside Québec into the Québec register of civil status. The registrar of civil status is the only public officer authorized to insert an act of civil status into the Québec register of civil status, and only if the act concerns a person domiciled in Québec.

As soon as you have received confirmation that the act has been inserted into the register, you can apply for a certificate or a copy of the act.

For more information, see the Insertion of an act made outside Québec into the Québec register of civil status.


If I don’t have a clicSÉQUR identifier, can I still pay the lower fee applicable to online applications?

Yes. You can pay the fee for online applications by using the DEClic! Comptoir online service available at our service counters in Québec and Montréal as well as at some regional offices that offer the DEClic! Comptoir online service.

To find out if the regional office nearest you offers this service, click here. If not, please contact us.


Can I cancel an application for a certificate or copy of an act after it has been submitted?

Online application for a certificate or copy of an act

Online applications for a certificate or copy of an act may not be modified or cancelled.

Application for a certificate or copy of an act sent by mail

You must call us immediately if you wish to make a change of address or modify or cancel an application for a certificate or copy of an act. Note that, in some cases, it may not be possible to modify or cancel an application once we have started processing it.


How can I check the processing status of my application?

If you submitted your application using the DEClic! or DEClic! Express online service, you can track the processing of your application using the online service Verification of the processing status of an online application This link opens a new window..

If you submitted your application when you completed and transmitted the declaration of your child’s birth using the Electronic Declaration of Birth online service, you can track the progress of your application using the same service.

If you submitted your application by another means, you can contact us to find out the status of your application. Note, however, that the Directeur de l'état civil does not send any information on the processing of applications for certificates or copies of acts by email owing to the risks involved in transmitting personal and confidential information by such means.


What do I do if the certificate or copy of an act I received contains an error?

You must send us the document concerned without delay, making sure not to write the corrections you want made directly on the document. Rather, enclose a letter explaining the error and the correction you want made, along with any supporting documents.

We will review the information contained in the document concerned and, if we see that there is an error, we will make the necessary correction within the limits of the powers conferred on us by law. Otherwise, the document will be returned to you immediately.

For more information, see the Requests to correct information in a certificate or a copy of an act.


What do I have to do if I lost a civil status document or had one stolen?

As soon as you notice that the document has been lost or stolen, call us so that we can invalidate the document and prevent identity theft.

For more information, see the Loss or theft of a certificate or a copy of an act section.


If a person dies, do I have to destroy any certificate or copy of an act that concerns the deceased?

No. You should keep the documents in a safe place. Civil status documents do not have an expiry date. They retain their legal value and may be useful in future.


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Death

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How can I obtain a proof of death?

You can request a certificate or a copy of an act of death. First confirm with the organization exactly which document is required by it so that you can be sure of ordering the right one.

For more information, visit the section Certificate and copy of act.


What explains the time period for entering a death in the Québec register of civil status?

The Directeur de l'état civil (DEC) must receive the copies of forms Attestation of Death and Declaration of Death (identified as the DEC copies) in order to enter a death in the Québec register of civil status. The process of entering a death in the register begins upon receipt of these two documents.

Registering a death involves

  • the analysis of documents received (information declared; missing information, signatures, etc.)
  • the collection of missing information from the declarant of the death or from the health care facility, where applicable
  • the search and validation of information in the register (change of name, birth, marriage or civil union, divorce)
  • the addition of a mention on the deceased's act of birth
  • the addition of a mention on the deceased's act of marriage or civil union, where applicable
  • the entry in the register of the deceased's act of death.

The time required for processing can also vary according to the number of events to enter in the register or the complexity of the files.

For more information, consult the section Entering of events in the register of civil status.


Does the cause of death appear on the certificate or copy of act of death?

No, it doesn't. The law does not require that it be entered on an act of death.


What is meant by the "Method of disposal" of the deceased's body on the Declaration of Death form?

The method of disposal of the body essentially corresponds to what was done with the body of the deceased. The methods include burial, cremation and anatomical study.


What is meant by the "Place of disposal (name of the cemetery, crematorium or other)" on the Declaration of Death form?

When disposal of the body is by cremation, the place to be designated on the form as the "place of disposal" is where the cremation took place (that is, not where the ashes are placed after the cremation).

In the case of burial, if the body is temporarily stored in a receiving vault or other place because the ground is frozen, the place of disposal is where the body is to be buried.


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Marriage and civil union

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Can two persons born and living outside Canada get married or enter into a civil union in Québec?

Yes. It is not necessary to be a Québec resident or a Canadian citizen to get married or enter into a civil union in Québec. However, the intended foreign spouses must comply with the legal framework of Québec, for example, the conditions related to age and matrimonial status.


Can same-sex couples get married or enter into a civil union in Québec?

Yes. They have been able to enter into a civil union since 2002 and get married since 2005.


Can spouses change their surname after their marriage?

No. In Québec, the law provides that, in marriage, both spouses retain their respective names, and exercise their respective civil rights under those names. Hence, the spouses’ surnames in the act of marriage are the same as in their respective acts of birth.


My spouse and I have just separated. Do we have to notify the Directeur de l’état civil?

If you were de facto spouses, you do not have to inform the Directeur de l’état civil of your separation.

If you were married or in a civil union and a judge has pronounced your divorce, the dissolution or nullity of your marriage or civil union, the court will notify the Directeur de l’état civil directly.

If you were in a civil union et que, le cas échéant, vous aviez signé une déclaration commune notariée, votre notaire doit en aviser le Directeur de l’état civil.


I am divorced. Can I remarry?

Yes. You must provide your officiant with evidence of your divorce by presenting your certificate of divorce or absolute decree of divorce.

For more information, consult the website of the ministère de la Justice du Québec This link opens a new window..


Is a marriage solemnized abroad between Canadian citizens residing in Québec recognized in Québec?

Yes. A marriage solemnized outside Québec is recognized provided it complies with the same rules applying to a marriage in Québec and provided the solemnization took place in accordance with the laws of Québec or those of the country where it took place. The rules vary from country to country.

For more information, consult the embassy or consulate of the country where you wish to get married.


What do we need to do to make our marriage solemnized abroad valid in Québec?

A marriage solemnized abroad is recognized in Québec if it complies with the solemnization formalities of the country where it was contracted and the conditions of Québec and Canadian laws.

Moreover, it is possible to ask the Directeur de l’état civil to have your act of marriage obtained outside Québec inserted into the Québec register of civil status. This simplifies certain steps for you with Québec’s departments and bodies.

For more information, consult the section Insertion of an act made outside Québec into the Québec register of civil status.


Are former spouses considered single again following a separation?

If the former spouses were living in a de facto union at the time of their separation, that is, they were not married or in a civil union, they are both considered single.

If the couple was married at the time of their separation, only a judgment of divorce makes it possible to officially terminate the marriage. Once the divorce has taken effect, the former spouses are considered divorced.

If the couple was in a civil union at the time of their separation, only a notarized joint declaration or a judgment of dissolution of the civil union makes it possible to officially terminate the civil union. Once the civil union has been dissolved, they are considered former civil-union spouses.



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Officiant of a marriage or civil union

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What are the Declaration of Marriage and the Declaration of Civil Union?

The declaration of marriage or civil union is mandatary under the Civil Code of Québec. It makes it possible for the Directeur de l’état civil to draw up the act of marriage or civil union and insert it into the Québec register of civil status.

The Declaration of Marriage (DEC−50) or Declaration of Civil Union (DEC−55) form, as the case may be, must be completed by the officiant on the day of the ceremony and signed by the officiant, the spouses and two witnesses. The officiant must then send it by mail to the Directeur de l’état civil.

The form makes it possible to declare that a marriage or civil union has been solemnized. Hence, it cannot be completed before the ceremony.


How to obtain the Declaration of Marriage (DEC−50) or Declaration of Civil Union (DEC−55) form

The Directeur de l’état civil is in charge of the Declaration of Marriage (DEC−50) and Declaration of Civil Union (DEC−55) forms. The forms are not available on the Directeur’s website or elsewhere online.

Only an authorized officiant can obtain the forms by contacting the Directeur de l’état civil.

Officiant designated for a single event

The officiant designated for a single event receives the officiant kit by mail, which contains the Declaration of Marriage (DEC−50) or Declaration of Civil Union (DEC−55) form. The form must be completed and signed on the day of the ceremony.


Where can the Return of Marriage (SP−2) or Return of Civil Union (SP−7) form be found?

The Return of Marriage (SP−2) or Return of Civil Union (SP−7) is integrated into the Declaration of Marriage (DEC−50) or Declaration of Civil Union (DEC−55) form, as the case may be. It is on page 2.

The return is intended for the Institut de la statistique du Québec, which uses it for statistical purposes respecting population and demography.


Can a marriage or civil union be declared online?

No. There is no service making it possible to declare a marriage or civil union online.

The declaration is made by paper form only, the Declaration of Marriage (DEC−50) or Declaration of Civil Union (DEC−55), and must be mailed to the Directeur de l’état civil after the ceremony.


Who can declare a marriage or civil union?

The declaration of a marriage or civil union is made by the duly authorized officiant, along with the spouses and the witnesses.

It is made by mailing the Declaration of Marriage (DEC−50) or Declaration of Civil Union (DEC−55) form to the Directeur de l’état civil; the form must be duly completed by the officiant and signed by the officiant, the spouses and the two witnesses.

The officiant is responsible for forwarding the Declaration of Marriage or Declaration of Civil Union to the Directeur de l’état civil within 30 days after the ceremony.


Is there training to become an officiant?

No. However, the Directeur de l’état civil has prepared a self-training document entitled Officiant’s Guide intended for officiants. It contains information on the rules and formalities related to the solemnization of a marriage or civil union in Québec.


I would like to practice the profession of officiant and thus be able to solemnize a number of marriages or civil unions. Is it possible?

No. In Québec, only ministers of religion, notaries, clerks and deputy clerks of the Superior Court, who are designated as officiants by the Directeur de l’état civil, as well as mayors, municipal council members and officers, also designated by the Directeur de l’état civil, can solemnize marriages or civil unions. The Directeur de l’état civil does not grant citizens general designations to act as officiants. You must therefore practice one of the above professions to be able to act as officiant for a number of ceremonies.


Can the witness required for the publication of the notice of marriage be someone other than the witnesses present at the ceremony?

Yes. The witness can be someone else, and it is not necessary for the witness to personally know the spouses.


I am an officiant authorized by the Directeur de l’état civil. How can I change the information in my file?

If you are a minister of religion, you must notify the person in charge of your religious society and have that person contact us.

If you are a clerk or deputy clerk of the Superior Court, you must contact your legal attaché or coordinator for the procedure to follow.

If you are a notary, you must contact the Chambre des notaires du Québec, which will provide you with the information.

If you are a mayor, a municipal council member or a municipal officer, contact us.

If you are an officiant designated for a single event, you must contact us.


Is it possible to change a notice of marriage or civil union after it has been forwarded to the Directeur de l’état civil?

Yes, in certain situations. The officiant must contact us by telephone as soon as possible to request the change.


Can two persons solemnize the same marriage or civil union?

No. The formalities surrounding the solemnization, such as the exchange of consents and the declaration of the marriage or civil union, must be completed by a single officiant.


Can an officiant designated by the Directeur de l’état civil solemnize a marriage or civil union outside Québec?

No. The Directeur de l’état civil does not have jurisdiction to designate an officiant for a marriage or civil union contracted outside Québec.


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Reviewed: 2019-10-24


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