If you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, once you have married your German fiance or you have lived together for one year as common-law partners, you can sponsor him or her for permanent residence in Canada.
Requirements To Get Married in Germany
To get married in Germany a civil ceremony has to take place a couple of days before the main wedding.
Requirements for a marriage certificate: (Both partners will most likely need)
- Copies of birth certificates
- If divorced, divorce decrees/statement
- Statement of single status called “Ledigkeitbescheinigung”
- All the documents required need to be translated into German in what is called “Apostille”
- Medical certificates and blood tests in some cases
- Minors should have parental consent
- Proof of a minimum of 21 days of continuous residence in Germany (this can be a Meldebescheinigung issued by the local Anmeldeamt)
- Birth certificates of children (if any) the couple may have had together
- The required application and questionnaire from the Standesamt
One or both partners may have to provide the following depending on their circumstances and the requirements of the local magistrate’s office:
- Certificate of No Impediment (CNI) (Befreiung vom Ehefähigkeitszeugnis)
- A financial statement
Same sex marriages are allowed in Germany.
Costs Of A German Wedding
The couple must appear in person at the Standesamt for the civil ceremony. The cost of the ceremony ranges from 30-75 Euros.
Regular weddings in Germany commonly cost between €10,000 and €20,000. As a general rule of thumb, you can expect a wedding for 60 guests to cost around €13,000.
Some people opt to use a wedding planner to organize their wedding day. This can be more expensive, but if there is a language barrier it can make the process a lot easier for expats.
Generally speaking, most of the wedding budget will go towards the venue and catering. Fees for the venue can vary, for example, the cost to hire a small town hall is much cheaper than a castle. For a more exclusive venue, you could pay up to €2,000. Other places might be free if you are paying them to provide catering.
A wedding menu or buffet tends to cost at least €35 per person. Drinks will often cost an additional €10-25 per person. Then there is the wedding cake, which on average costs between €150 and €300.
Another large expense is often the bride’s dress, but again, prices vary a lot depending on whether you opt for a designer gown or something cheaper from the high street. On average, the bride’s dress, accessories, and jewelry cost between €1,000 and €5,000. This doesn’t include wedding rings, which are usually between €500 and €2,000 each.
You will usually have to set aside around €500 for flowers; this can include decorations for the venue, cars, table decorations, and the bride’s bouquet.
Finally, couples need to consider finishing touches like wedding stationery (for invitations and place settings), DJs, and photographers. A decent photographer could set you back up to €2,500 in Germany, and DJs can cost a similar amount, especially if you want to secure a good one.
Steps to get married
To begin the marriage process you need to submit an application at the local registry office (standesamt) located in the town hall (rathaus), and give notice of the impending marriage (Antrag auf Eheschlielung).
You then need to make an appointment at the town hall and attend a meeting; here they will explain the process and documentation you need to submit. You should aim to arrange this meeting several months before you intend to marry, to give you both ample time to gather and submit all the required documents.
Ideally, both partners should attend the meeting in person. However, if one partner is unable to attend, the other may go on their own; as long as the absent partner has given them power of attorney to act on their behalf. Make sure to check the opening hours before you visit, as offices are often only open for a couple of hours during the week. After approval, you must marry within six months; otherwise, you will have to start the process all over again.
To summarize, the marriage process in Germany goes as follows:
- Visit the town hall (Rathaus) to give the intention to marry (foreigners must have been living in the locality for at least 21 days);
- Have your documents translated into German by a certified interpreter;
- Submit documents to the registry office;
- Organize the wedding ceremony to take place within the following six months;
- Notify the registrar of the names of any witnesses you wish to attend at least eight days before the wedding.
Commonly observed local marriage customs
German weddings have a lot of unusual customs that expats should probably be aware of. The night before the wedding, for example, the guests attend a raucous party called a ‘polterabend‘. Everyone takes it in turns to break porcelain plates to wish the new couple good luck.
The bride and groom may also have to take part in the ‘baumstamm sägen‘, which is a ritualistic sawing of logs. The act of sawing at the same time shows that the couple can work together and give their marriage strength and endurance.
And the fun doesn’t stop there, either. On the day of the wedding, the groomsmen traditionally kidnap the bride after the ceremony and take her to a bar. It is then up to the groom to track her down. But there is a price to pay when he finds her; he must pay the entire bill his groomsmen racked up while they were waiting for him to arrive.
Friends of the bride and groom often play pranks on the couple, too. This can include stunts like filling the room with balloons or hiding lots of alarm clocks to wake them up the next morning.
It is also worth noting that, when it comes to wedding rings, it is tradition to wear the engagement ring on the left-hand ring finger, and the wedding ring on the right hand. Find out more in our guide to wedding ring traditions from around the world.
Many German wedding traditions will be familiar to expats. For instance, it is still common for the bride to wear white (although it is becoming increasingly popular to wear brighter colors). The bride’s father will also walk her down the aisle, and the newlyweds often kick off the celebrations with the first dance. Couples will also cut the wedding cake at midnight, and the bride will throw her bouquet; the person who catches it will marry next – so expect some competition!
Possible Challenges for Getting Married in Germany
Every country has its own laws that apply to its citizens marrying a person from a different country. Getting married to a German citizen with the goal of eventually bringing them to Canada to live is a process with many steps. The German government imposes strict requirements on foreigners who marry Germans as an indirect way of discouraging German citizens from moving to other countries.
You must demonstrate to German 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 Germany. This is done by providing various documents including an Affidavit of Single Status to the German government either in Germany or via a German embassy.
Germany is a rich country in terms of diversity. The population consists of different religion groups. Therefore, it is better to check the religion requirements before getting married.
Religion in Germany
Christianity is the major and largest religion in Germany with 52 million of the population which is about 62% of the population.
The second largest religion is Islam with 4 million followers, about 5% of the population followed by Buddhism and Judaism.
There is freedom of worship in Germany thanks to the constitution which has favored religious freedom since 1949. The constitution also ensures there is no discrimination based on religion or faith.
Germany does not have a state religion, rather religious communities have large followers who are loyal to the constitution.
This ensures that of some privileges such as influence in School policies and membership fees through church tax.
This religion has 25 million with the Evangelical church leading with 23.9 million followers. Other smaller churches under this wing are;
- New Apostolic church 400,000 members
- Aussiedler-Baptisten 300,000-380,000 members
- Charismatic 232,000 members
- Methodist 65,638 members
- Baptist 86,500 members
- Christliche Versammlungen 45,000 members
- Pentecostal 40,000 members
- United Methodist Church 38,000 members
- Mennonites 39 members
- SDA 36,000 members
- Church of the Nazarene 1,984 members
The total population of Catholics in Germany is 24.5 million, Roman rite follow closely with 24.4 million, Old Catholics 15,000 and lastly Maronite Rite Catholics 6,000 members.
This is a major religion in Germany under the Christianity umbrella with 1.5 million followers which is about 2% of the population. There are many sub-divisions as follows;
- Orthodox Church of Constantinople 450,000 members
- Greek Orthodox 380,000 members
- Romanian Orthodox 300,000 members
- Serbian Orthodox 250,000 members
- Russian Orthodox 150,000 members
- Bulgarian Orthodox 66,000 members
- Syriac Orthodox 55,000 members
- Armenian Apostolic Church 55,000
- Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo 13,000
- Assyrian Church 10,000 members
- Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox 3,600 members
- Coptic Orthodox 3,000 members
- Ukrainian Orthodox 1,000 members
Islam is the largest minority religion in Germany most of them being of Turkish origin. They constitute about 63.2% from Turkey and others from other countries like former Yugoslav, Iran and Arab countries.
Islam was introduced into Germany during the Ottoman Empire in the 18th century through diplomacy, military and economic relations.
The total population of Muslims in Germany is 3.6 million of which 1.1% have German citizenship. The other sub tribes consist of Sunni 2.5 million, Alevite 441,000, Shia 225,000, Ahmadiyya 50,000, Ismaiili 12,000 and Sufi 10,000.
The Jewish community in Germany is the fastest growing in the world, most of them immigrated from the former Soviet Union states and settled in Germany after the Berlin wall was destroyed.
Most of the Jews from Russia and other former communist countries follow the Reform Judaism.
The total population of Judaism followers is about 200,000.
There is a large part of the German population that is non-religious, according to a survey carried out on young people between 12-24 years in 2006, 30% of German youths believe in God, 19% believe in a supernatural power, 23% are Agnostic and 28% are atheists.
Buddhists are about 245,000, Hindus 97,500, Sikh 50,000 and Baha’i 5,000.
Sponsoring Your Spouse From Germany To Canada
Questions commonly asked at sponsorship interviews
Communications between the two of you
- When and where did you meet your spouse for the first time?
- Who initiated contact?
- How often did you contact each other before your first meeting in person? How did you communicate? Where is your proof?
- How often did you talk on the phone?
- Do you have phone bills, e-mails, cards, etc., and can I see them?
Visiting Canada (if applicable)
- Where (which airport) did you first Land in Canada? What date?
- How many times have you been to Canada? How long did you stay each time?
- Have you ever stayed in Canada without status (i.e. after your visa has expired)?
- Why did you overstay?
- What did you do to rectify the situation?
- When did you leave Canada the last time? / When did you leave Canada when you didn’t have status? How long did you leave?
- Have you been admitted back into Canada with legal status since?
- Have you been issued any kind of document that authorizes you to live in Canada since you were without status? If yes what type and when is the expiry date?
- Has your spouse been to visit you in your home country? When?
- How many times has your spouse been to visit you?
- Where did your spouse land when they visited you? (Which Airport?)
- Did your spouse ever go to your home country prior to your relationship?
- Did you go to Canada prior to your relationship with your spouse?
- What is your husband’s/wife’s/partner’s name?
- What do you call him/her?
- How old is your spouse/partner? What is your spouse’s birth date?
- What colour are his/her eyes and hair?
- Does your spouse colour his/her hair?
- Does your spouse wear glasses or contact lenses?
- Does your spouse have any distinguishing features (birth marks, scars, disfigurements of the body)?
- Where was your spouse born? Which country and city?
- Does your spouse have any allergies?
- What is your religion?
- What is the religion of your spouse?
- When you and your spouse were dating what would you do together?
- Do you have any hobbies? Describe them.
- Does your spouse have any hobbies? Describe them.
- What type of music do you enjoy?
- What type of music does your spouse enjoy?
- What kind of movies do you enjoy?
- What kind of movies does your spouse enjoy?
- What kind of books do you read?
- What kind of books does your spouse read?
- Have you and your spouse ever exchanged gifts? Describe them.
- Please explain the type of relationship you have had since your first meeting.
- What makes your relationship with your spouse different from that of a female/male friend?
- Does your spouse support you financially?
- If I refuse this application what will you do?
- Where did your spouse go to school? (Elementary and high school)
- How many years of school did your spouse Complete?
- What degrees or formal training does your spouse have?
- In terms of education, would you say that you and your spouse’s educational background are compatible?
- Where did you work in your home country before coming to Canada?
- What is the name of the company? What position did you hold? How long did you work there?
- What did the job entail?
- Did you like your job?
- What was the salary?
- What do you intend to do when you come to Canada?
- What degrees or formal training do you have?
- What degrees or formal training does your spouse have?
- Where does your spouse work? What’s the name of the company? How does he/she travel to work?
- How long has your spouse worked there?
- What does the job entail?
- does your spouse like his or her job?
- What is the salary?
- Where does your spouse live?
- Whom does your spouse live with?
- Does anyone else live in your household other than your spouse and children?
- At what addresses have you lived at with your spouse?
- Did you own any Property with your spouse?
- What type of accommodation do you live in? House, condo or apartment?
- Is it rental or do you own it? If rented, how long is your lease? Are you both on the lease?
- How much is the rent?
- Who makes sure the bills are paid? How much do you pay for Cable/phone/hydro etc.?
Marriage (if applicable)
- When and where did the marriage proposal take place?
- Was your marriage arranged?
- When did you get married?
- Where did you get married?
- Who was at the wedding?
- How many people were at the ceremony?
- What day was the ceremony held on?
- Who performed the ceremony?
- Do you have pictures of the ceremony?
- Who was at the ceremony from your side?
- Who was at the ceremony from your spouse’s side?
- Were any friends present?
- Were your parents at the wedding? If not, why not?
- Where your spouse’s parents at the wedding? If not, why not?
- Were your spouse’s parents aware of the wedding? If not, why not?
- Was a reception held? When and where was it held?
- Who was present at the reception?
- Did you receive any wedding gifts? Describe them.
- Did you on a honeymoon? Where did you go and for how long?
- Can you show me pictures and receipts from the honeymoon, wedding and reception?
- Have you or your spouse been married before?
- Why was that relationship ended?
- Who initiated the divorce?
- What were the reasons for the divorce?
- What was the date the marriage was dissolved?
- Why did you marry your spouse?
- Since your marriage have you seen your spouse? If not, why not?
- Tell me why this marriage or relationship is genuine.
- Why were you so rushed to be married? How do you explain that?
- Do you have any children form a previous relationship? If so what is their relationship like with your spouse?
- What are their names and date of birth?
- Who has Custody of these children?
- Do you have visitation rights/spend time with them at your home or there’s?
- How often do you see your children?
- Does your current spouse have any children from a previous relationship? If yes
- What are their names and date of birth?
- Who has Custody of these children?
- Does your spouse have visitation rights/spend time with them?
- How often does your spouse see their children?
- Do you have any children from your current marriage?
- How many children?
- What are the names and birth dates?
- Where are the children now?
- Who looks after the children?
- How many brothers and sisters does your spouse have?
- What relatives does your spouse have in Canada?
- What relatives do you have in Canada?
- What are their names and where do they live?
- What relatives does your spouse have outside of Canada?
- What relatives do you have outside of Canada?
- Has your spouse met any of your relatives or friends? Who have they met and when did they meet them?
- Have you met any of your spouse’s relatives or friends? Whom have you met and when did you meet them?
- Did you get married to get to Canada?
- Did your spouse pay you to go to Canada?
- Did anyone pay you to go to Canada?
- Did you pay your spouse to sponsor you?
- If yes, How much?
What kind of documents are frequently requested?
- Document Checklist – Spouse (including dependent children of spouse) [IMM 5533] (PDF, 3.7 MB)
- Use your checklist to make sure you include all the forms and documents you need.
- Place the checklist on top, as a cover page for your application package
Sponsorship Application Forms for German Applicants
Forms for the sponsor to fill out:
- Application to Sponsor, Sponsorship Agreement and Undertaking (IMM 1344) (PDF, 588.96 KB)
- Sponsorship Evaluation and Relationship Questionnaire (IMM 5532) (PDF, 2.21 MB)
- Use of a Representative [IMM 5476] (PDF, 648.31 KB)
For the person being sponsored (principal applicant):
- Generic Application Form for Canada [IMM 0008] (PDF, 652 KB)
- Additional Dependants/Declaration [IMM 0008DEP] (PDF, 433.80 KB)
- Additional Family Information [IMM 5406] (PDF, 570.00 KB)
- Schedule A – Background/Declaration [eIMM 5669] (PDF, 597.99 KB)
Longer processing times than the official government listing of 12 months?
Both inside and outside Canada, the estimated time for spousal sponsorship is 12 months. However, it is stated in most websites that processing time outside Canada is less than inside Canada.
Do people in Germany engage in arranged marriages/matchmaking? Or are marriages usually love marriages?
According to the article “Forced Marriages in Germany More Prevalent than Thought”, thousands of young women and girls in forced marriages seek help every year in Germany.
Please check the link:
Are documents issued in Germany issued in any language other than English or French? If so, what language(s)?
Documents are generally in German language. Therefore, you’ll need a certified translation of your marriage certificate.
Unique Sponsorship Application Requirements from Germany
Germany – Additional forms for residents
Germany – Additional forms for residents
- There are no extra forms for this country.
Is a TRV required for a person from Germany to enter Canada for In-Canada sponsorship?
If you want to bring your German 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 (eTA).