If you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, once you have married your Turkish fiance or you have lived together for one year as common-law partners, you can sponsor him or her for permanent residence in Canada.
Documents Required To Get Married in Turkey
- Marriage petition (Evlenme Beyannamesi).
- Certificate/Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry (Evlenme Ehliyet Belgesi): either a marriage license from your own country, or a statement from your country’s consulate or embassy in Turkey that you meet your country’s requirements to be married.
- Personal identification (passport, identification card, birth certificate or health certificate, as required by the authorities).
- Photographs of the bride and groom (five copies of each) for the official records.
You see that you probably already have one of the required documents—your passport. Another, the photos of the bride and groom, should be easy to obtain well before you leave home. https://turkeytravelplanner.com/special/wedding/documents.html
Cost of Marriage in Turkey:
58 Turkish Lira (around 12 CAD)
Steps to get married:
Once you have all your documents, you need to attend the town hall where you are to be married and submit them to the marriage officer. If you are lucky, you will be able to see the marriage officer immediately but if this isn’t possible you can make an appointment to see them, usually within a couple of days.
Note that you cannot submit these documents by post. Nor can you apply for an appointment to see the marriage officer until you have arrived in Turkey.
Your appointment with the marriage officer
During your meeting, you will complete, and sign in duplicate, a marriage declaration (Evlenme Beyannamesi).
If the office is satisfied with the application, a district alderman (muhtar), or a marriage officer – subject to couples applying together, in person, notarizes and an authorised officer certifies the documents. The stamped and dated marriage declaration gives you permission to marry. This is valid for six months; the marriage can take place within 48 hours of this license being issued.
The marriage officer will suggest some dates. These are usually several months in the future. A wedding within a couple of weeks can be difficult but not impossible to arrange. In Turkey, quick marriages are usually as a result of pregnancy.
Once you have chosen the date, you will be required to pay an administration fee to the municipality. This is currently (2017) about TRY100 (£22/€25/US$28), if you are not using their venue. If you want to use their venue, the charge is usually in the range of TRY100-TRY450 (£99/€113/US$127), depending upon the place and the day of the week. Weekends are more expensive. There is currently no fee for carrying out the ceremony but it is customary to give the officer a present. This is not corruption!
Pre- (and post-)nuptial agreements in Turkey
There are two different systems that usually govern what happens to marital property under Turkish law.
The basic (and default) matrimonial property regime is the “participation in acquired assets” which means that the spouses will benefit equally from all assets acquired during the marriage.
If the spouses do not want to be subject to these arrangements, they can choose an alternative arrangement: a separate property regime, a shared separate property regime or a communal property regime.
Under the Turkish Civil Code, spouses are able to make agreements about marital property, before, at the time of, or after the marriage.
There are two different forms of prenuptial agreement. Under the first, the prenuptial agreement can be completed at the office of a notary public. Under the second, the couple can declare to the marriage officer the regime that they want to use when they apply for the marriage.
If the spouses decide to choose a marital property regime during the marriage application, they must inform the marriage registrar in writing.
You should note that, as the institution of marriage is so important to public policy, in the course of matrimonial proceedings a judge has absolute discretion as to how to apply any terms in a prenuptial agreement. In reality, this means that your chosen arrangement could be modified or overruled.
The stag (bachelor) and hen(na) nights in Turkey
In Turkey, it is becoming customary for both the bride and groom to have a celebration with their friends the night before the marriage. These days it is increasingly common for it to take place a week or two before the marriage.
For brides, the traditional form of this is the henna night. The bride and her friends get together and paint henna on each other’s hands. This is not compulsory.
In some countries such parties tend to involve considerable public drunkenness. This is not the case in Turkey. These events are an unofficial but important part of the marriage process and drunkenness would be thought totally inappropriate.
A marriage ceremony in Turkey
The marriage ceremony will, typically, take about 15 minutes. Usually, a time slot of 30 minutes is allocated to the ceremony. Do not be surprised if you arrive and find that you have to wait until the marriage of a preceding couple has been concluded or if there is another couple waiting in the waiting room as your marriage is concluded.
Most marriages take place in the evening.
In the case of foreigners (who do not speak fluent Turkish), most town halls extend the period reserved for the marriage to one hour. There is no extra fee for this.
This extra time is because, by law, the ceremony must take place in Turkish: it must be open to any member of the public to attend. For this reason, if the parties do not each speak good Turkish, the marriage officer will arrange for an interpreter to be present at the marriage and the whole proceeding will be translated into the language of the parties. The parties will have to pay the fee of the interpreter. For most languages, this will be about TRY200 (£44/€50/US$56), although for unusual languages, where the interpreter may have to travel some distance, it can be much higher.
We have, on occasions, had to deal with a marriage where we needed two interpreters because neither of the parties spoke the language of the other very well. It made me wonder why they were getting married!
The ceremony itself is in a standard form. The marriage officer will supply you with a script when you book the wedding. The marriage officer asks each of the couple if they agree to marry the other; after a positive response from both, the marriage is declared made in accordance with the law.
Two witnesses (other than immediate family members and the translator) are required for the procedure. These can be friends or hotel staff.
Commonly observed local marriage customs in Turkey
Coffee with salt
It is customary of the customs and traditions of marriage in Turkey, that the bride adds more salt to the bridegroom’s coffee, and he must bear the taste and drink it in full, and this is an expression of the extent of his love and appreciation for his bride. After a coffee with salt, which expresses the groom’s willingness to endure whatever comes out of his future bride, the groom offers a simple gift to the bride like roses, and a simple ring is brought for the purpose of engagement. While women prefer to wear gold.
Customs and traditions of engagement in Turkey
Engagement is calm and not costly. It is enough to bring a simple ring for the bride and another ring for the groom and tie them with red straps. The mother of the bride breaks this bond, an expression of her move to a new life away from her father’s house.
Customs and traditions of henna in Turkey
The henna of the Turks is the day immediately preceding the wedding, and the celebrations may last for forty days, but the day of henna occupies a special importance and prestige for the Turkish people, and through it is the celebration of the bride and chanting the songs deposited at the separation of her father’s house, and large quantities of henna. To attend, especially friends and family, and are interested in decorating the bride with red henna, and the bride is keen to wear the red dress, which reflects the joy and happiness of the day of henna.
The groom will attend on the night of henna, and celebrate with his bride and remove the red scarf, the official colour of the henna night is red, and the celebration continues late at night and the groom comes at the end of the day to share his bride’s joy.
Customs and traditions of wedding night in Turkey
This day is of great interest to everyone, family, relatives and friends, everyone is preparing for this day long before, the celebration starts from the early morning, and the groom goes to bring the bride from her father’s house, and the bride’s robe is not without red laces, and the groom decorates and takes his Turkish bath, and the same case for the bride.
One of the most famous customs and traditions of marriage in Turkey, the bride to look in the mirror before leaving the house of her father, and this shows that the road is paved for her, and that her marriage life will last long, and of course is distributed to the guests.
Possible Challenges for Getting Married in Turkey
- Make sure to obtain a marriage license from the appropriate authorities in your own country before coming to Turkey. If this is difficult (because you’re already in Turkey), you can obtain one from your country’s embassy or consulate in Ankara, or perhaps in another Turkish city (depending on where your country’s consulates are in Turkey).
- Please note that if your own country won’t allow you to be married, Turkey will not allow you to be married.
- Only a civil wedding ceremony, conducted by the municipal authority (local marriage registrar) or by the census officer, has legal validity – a religious ceremony is not legally binding. If you would like to have a religious ceremony you must first have a civil ceremony.
- There is no minimum residency stay required. However you should allow between 3 or 4 days to complete all the necessary paperwork, depending on where you wish to get married in Turkey. You will be required under Turkish Civil Law to have a medical examination if you intend to get married.
- Marriage is only permitted between a man and a woman.
- Polygamy is not accepted; monogamy is an essential principle of Turkish family law and anyone currently married may not be married again in Turkey.
Arranged Marriage in Turkey
In the past, marriage among relatives, such as cousins, was common in Turkey. Today such kind of marriage is not practiced that much anymore due to the impact of urbanization.
Another kind of marriage is that in the case of the death of a brother, where the widowed sister-in-law is wed with a single or widower brother-in-law (Levirat). This is done in order to keep the inheritance of the deceased in the family and for the children’s welfare. Similarly, it is also possible that a sister gets married to a deceased sister’s husband (Sororat). However, this rural tradition too is disappearing fast.
Another type of marriage is “taygeldi” marriage. In this marriage, the children from previous marriages of a widow and widower, who get married, may get married as well.
In the past, particularly in rural areas, men would “snatch” or kidnap a girl that they wanted to marry, but were not allowed to for one reason or the other, mostly due to objection by families. It also happened that a girl and boy run away in mutual agreement to overcome family objection to their matrimony. In some regions, there is also a type of “snatching” called “oturakalma”, where a girl goes to the home of the man that she loves and settles there, many times at the objection of her own family.
Another type of marriage which was often practiced in the past is “beşik kertme”. While children were yet in their cradle, they were promised or “engaged” to each other by their families. In the past, the rejection of marriage by the girl or boy once they reach marrying age, would be regarded as dishonor to the family and even could cause bloody family feuds. This type of arranged marriage is almost extinct today.
Another kind of marriage arrangement or custom in Turkey is marriage of “iç güveysi”. In this marriage, a man settles in the home where his wife lives. Usually in case of inability to pay a dowry for the bride or the absence of a son on the part of the bride’s family leads to this kind of arrangement.
In another type of marriage called “Berder” or “değiş-tokuş, değişik” ( exchange, changing) two families may marry their daughter and son to another family’s son and daughter. Such kind of marriages releases the two families of an old custom to pay a dowry to the bride’s family, since they “even” out.
A note on Baslik – dowry – is in place. This is an old custom that has nearly ceased to exist in the vast majority of Turkish society and is confined only to very underdeveloped regions.
According to Turkish traditions marriage between “milk” siblings is not possible. Children who are breastfed by a woman (a custom that was not uncommon in Turkey, when a mother could not breastfeed due to illness or other reasons, especially in rural areas, but has nearly ceased today) other than their mother become her “milk” children and they are not supposed to marry their “milk” siblings.
In some regions marriage with more than one wife at the same time (polygamy), while outlawed and punishable by law, is still practiced and it was more prevalent in the past when a wife could not bear children or she became ill or invalid.
Sponsoring Your Spouse From Turkey To Canada
Questions commonly asked at sponsorship interviews in Turkey
- How did you know each other?
- When and where did you meet in person?
- When did you start a relationship?
- When did you decide to have a lifelong commitment to the exclusion of all others?
- Details of proposal, marriage registration, marriage celebration
- Living arrangements – Living together? Living apart temporarily? Who does what chores in the house?
- Communication when living apart – how and how often?
- Financial arrangements – Who pays the bills? Future plans?
- Major joint purchases? e.g. house, car, appliances, investments
- Future plans in Canada – Work? Study?
Cultural practices which may be challenging in sponsorship applications/interviews, such as:
- Sources indicate that all male citizens are subject to compulsory military service in Turkey; this may affect Spousal sponsorship application as well.
- Turkey has one of the highest rates of child marriage in Europe, with an estimated 15% of girls married before the age of 18 and 1% married before the age of 15. A person cannot be sponsored as a spouse to Canada if they are under the age of 18.
- Many marriages in Turkey are arranged, which must be disclosed on a spousal sponsorship application.
Spousal Sponsorship Application Forms for Applicants from Turkey
- 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
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)
Spousal Sponsorship Processing Times for Turkish Applicants
Both inside and outside Canada, the estimated time for spousal sponsorship is 12 months. However, many people experience that processing time outside Canada is less than inside Canada.
Are documents issued in Turkey issued in any language other than English or French? If so, what language(s)?
Documents are generally in Turkish . Therefore, you’ll need an acceptable translation of your marriage certificate
Unique Sponsorship Application Requirements from Turkey
Turkey – Additional forms for residents:
- Supplementary Information – Your travels [IMM 5562] (PDF, 1.76 MB)
The principal applicant and all family members included in the application who are 18 years of age or older must complete this form.
- Details of Military Service [IMM 5546] (PDF, 1.16 MB)
Complete this form for anyone included on the application who has ever held a high ranking/senior official government position or served in the military, army, defence or police unit, (including National Service), and submit a copy of the military card/booklet, including blank pages, if applicable.
Turkey – Additional documents:
Turkey – instruction(s) for documents
- The Family Registration Document to be submitted is the “Vukuatli Nufus Kayit Ornegi
Is a TRV required for a person from Turkey to enter Canada for In-Canada sponsorship?
If you want to bring your Turkish 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