Marrying Your Cuban Love
Just wanted to share my recent & ongoing experience with marrying my Cuban husband, in Cuba, this past February 2010. I hope my story will help other Canadian citizens who might be looking for some information about getting married to their Cuban love. Below is a brief outline of how our experience unfolded, as well as some of the paperwork or documents that were needed to get married to a Cuban.
1. Deciding to get married:
Figuring out whether getting married would work out for us was a pretty emotional thing. My husband has a lot of family and friends in Cuba and isn't desperately trying to get out of the country, and my family and friends naturally thought that I didn't know what I was getting into. There were a lot of tough moments when we really had to consider how much we meant to eachother. Once it was decided, it was understood that my husband and I would live together in Canada to build our family for obvious reasons. We agreed that we would get married in Cuba and so began the plans.
My husband decided to get the following things in advance so that I could take them back with me to start the paperwork: a Cuban passport, (approx $50-80 CUC), single status affidavit, police record check ($50 CUC).
2. Getting married in Cuba:
Since I'm a Canadian citizen, there were a few documents that I needed to get for the wedding. I'm also Catholic, so it was really important for me to get married in a Church, so I needed some additional paperwork. Therefore, we got married in the Notario and in the Church. Below is a list of the documents I needed and brought with me:
a. Notary Marriage documents (if you're not getting married in Church, you'll just need these): Single Status Affidavit (you can find some templates online - notarized 1st by a Canadian Notary, then translated and notarized by the Cuban consulate in Toronto), Birth Certificate (copy notarized 1st by a Canadian Notary, then translated and notarized by the Cuban consulate in Toronto). It costs about 20-50$ to notarize a document, and about 80-100$ to translate and notarize those documents at the Cuban consulate.
b. Church Wedding documents: Baptismal Certificate (notarized 1st by a Canadian Notary, then translated and notarized by the Cuban consulate in Toronto), 'Expediente Matrimonial' (the priest insisted that I needed this "internationally known document" - which I didn't have at the time - however I just called my Church to have the priest fax a letter stating that I am a parishoner and free to marry...but if you can get this document beforehand it will be necessary), Copy of Marriage Class completion (not translated or notarized...did this solo. totally not worth the $. think they would have married us without this)
In order to speed up the document process, you can pay extra so that you can get your Marriage Certificate on the spot. The total cost of the Notario wedding - including making sure that we got the certificate promptly - was approximately 624 CUC. Doing this allowed me to start working on the paperwork for my husband's Permanent Residence application as soon as I got back to Canada.
2. After the wedding & filling out the Sponsorship and Permanent Resident applications:
In order to complete the applications, my husband needed to do the following: a. Go to Havana to get a certified Medical Check (if you pay $20-25 CUC, you can get them to fill the form and return it to you that day, otherwise, it would take some time to get the paper back). b. complete the Application for Permanent Residence & additiona documents (complete listing can be found on the Canadian Immigration website - you would be looking to sponsor someone as a Family Class/Spouse). c. Sign the paperwork (I just brought a few rough copies for the application and got my husband to sign the Sponship Agreement form, and his application forms before I came back to Canada so that I had his signature. d. Get 8 passport pictures & photocopy his id. e. there are a few other things that can be found on the Canadian Immigration website listing of documents.
For his application, I needed the original copy of his birth certificate, and I had to submit also the original copy of our marriage certificate (both to be returned to us once the application is complete). The application asked a lot of personal details from my husband regarding his past addresses, educational history, work history, and life timeline. It also asked for both of us to write a letter about why we want to be together and how we keep the relationship going even though we are appart. So it's a very good idea to take lots of group pictures, keep your tickets, receipts, letters, cards, or anything that can help to reinforce what you write. If you have phone bills they also ask for copies of such things.
3. After submitting the application...
It costs about 650-675$ CAD to submit the complete applications. It was estimated that it should take about 1-2 months before I would receive a letter from Canadian Immigration confirming that I am approved to be a sponsor. After that the papers are sent to Cuba where they are reviewed. This can take anywhere between 4-12 months (or more) depending on any additional information they require in Cuba. My husband has told me that some of his friends (who have already been accpted to come to Canada) have had interviews in Cuba regarding their application. We'll see how that works out.
Currently we're waiting for the application to be reviewed by Cuba. Hope to be updating soon on the progress :)