Are you in an Interracial relationship-Expat that’s looking into getting married in Kuwait?
No problem, Here I wanna share with you my very own experience & tips how can Expats can tie-the-knot in a Muslim country like Kuwait. Believe it or not but we did it only within 2 months of preparations!
Recently, I have been asked many times “How and what is the procedure for Expats to be able to get married in Kuwait? “.I have friends there who wants to get married, raise a child & bring their family there and I think living in this small-oil-rich country for almost 8 years gives me a legit reason to share my personal experience.I tell you, Yes, its possible & it can be done!
About Kuwait & Islamic Law
Kuwait is a Muslim country, in short, Cohabiting & Living-in with your partner, or Children outside marriage is against the Islamic law. It is HARAM and punishable by law. Now maybe you have read lots of news about disgraceful acts of Expats about this, but I’m telling you, Don’t be one.There are strict rules for family, bachelors and housing regulations that is being imposed, especially on Expats.Violating this is punishable by law . You don’t like to get messed up with this for sure. Getting married and the procedure itself is a pain in the ass and time-consuming, the paper works in Arabic and formalities done in all the ‘Wazara’ (Ministry ) are all part of the process that you need to do if you want to get married in a legal way. Under Kuwaiti Law, Expats can marry through the Court only if both of them holds a valid residency in Kuwait. If you are holding a tourist visa, you can’t marry there. For Catholics who wants a church wedding, you can get all the information Here. For Consulate/ Embassy marriages, just contact your Embassy if this service is available. In our case, The Netherlands Embassy doesn’t have this in Kuwait so we opted for a Court Marriage .
Knowing the Requirements
I did my research and made a few calls and I was able to get all the required papers that is needed. This is basically depends on your nationality, Visa Status, Type of Residency & personal preferences. We both don’t have our families in Kuwait so we only opted for a simple yet a memorable wedding. Planning and getting all requirements also takes time so we prepared it diligently .
My husband (now) is Dutch, from the Netherlands and I am Filipino.We are both Non-Muslim, both Roman Catholics and both under Visa-18 (private sector) . So our situation is not-so complicated and but only needs a lot of paperwork. So here’s how we did it through Court Marriage in The Mojama Al-Wazarat / Ministry of Justice in Kuwait City. The schedule of Marriages is only Sundays & Wednesdays. You need to go there together with all the required papers get the schedule,or your date & time of the intended marriage.If you’re a Filipino couple and wants to get married in the Embassy, you can also find all the information Here. Take note that the Embassy only solemnize only Filipino marriage.
Important Note : Documents should be translated all in Arabic!
It is very important that all documents should be translated into Arabic , to be submitted to Ministry of Justice including all the Translations,legalized & stamped, legalized by the respective Embassies and to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFa) before submission to the Ministry of Justice.
There’s always a huge line of people in MoFa so If you wanted to get things done quickly, you need to be super early.If you live in Kuwait, you know how the bureaucracy works in the Ministry and their timings. I don’t know how to explain this, but even a simple stamp & signature could take hours!! I really hate this but either way I survived it.
Sidenote: If it falls during Ramadan, please check their opening times.
Basic requirements for Court Marriage in Ministry of Justice-KW
( Both for Bride & Groom ) :
- Original Passports with the residence Visa & copy (for visa 20 needs the Sponsor’s consent )
- Original Civil ID card and copies
- CNI (Certificate of No Marriage or Single Certificate ) -Original copies , translated into Arabic and stamped & legalized by both embassies and Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kuwait, (MoFa) located in Shuwaikh near KUNA or inside the Ministry complex of the Liberation Tower.
- For Filipinos – CENOMAR ( Certificate of No Marriage ) – this should be in original, red ribbon & authenticated from the Department of Foreign Affairs in the Philippines. Ordering this from the PH take time so you need to arrange this early.You need to bring this to the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait and they will issue another paper after stamping. There is a fee for these procedures in the Embassy. Call them to check for the cost.Both of these papers then should be submitted to MoFa for stamping & legalized. ( 5Kd stamp each)
- For Filipino Catholics – NOC is required from the catholic church. This ( No Objection Certificate ) should be obtained from the Parish Church where you were baptized in your home country. They need not less than 3 months old. It should be stamped by the Parish church. You need to contact the Parish of the Holy Family Cathedral (Catholic Church) near Sheraton hotel and arrange for appointment with the priest in charge.Requirements for NOC are the following :
- Letter from the Parish Priest (where you are baptized/getting married ) requesting for the NOC.
- Baptismal Certificate with seal & signature of the priest ( Fax copies are not acceptable)
- Passport & civil ID copies of the person who needs the NOC.
- Witnesses – 2 persons known to you but Catholics (not Family members ), with their respective Passports & Civil ID copies.
Note : If a church wedding has a legal status in your home country this may also be applied to you. The staff in MOJ will confirm during these things once you have your initial inquiry so make sure to call them first.
6. Bring the NOC /Certificate of Freedom to Marry to the Vatican Embassy (Apostolic Nunciature -Kuwait ) located in Al-Yarmouk.This is as per appointment basis only so you need to call first and schedule the appointment with the them.
7. 2 (Two) Witness to bring along during the court wedding ceremony with their original Passports & Civil ID must be present during the procedures.
Set up an Appointment with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ)
Once you are all set with all your documents, you need to submit these to the Ministry of Justice in Building #15 , first floor, ( They are just in front of the Liberation Tower ) . You will find many stamp machines there on the ground floor and kind staff who can assist you so make sure you secure it before the date of your marriage.You also need to bring exact bills for the machine.You don’t like to run around and get them on your wedding day!
They will check all the documents and confirm with you the date of marriage.You can contact them through # 22486444.The procedure itself takes only 10-15 minutes depending on the speed of the Authenticator for preparing the marriage contract. Your witnesses will also need to sign on the contract with their respective civil ID’s and passport. The ceremony itself is very simple and only for formalities. You will get your Marriage Contract on the same day in Triplicate copies ( 1-MoJ copy and the 2 copies are yours) and that’s it! Let a native check for the spelling, important dates or reference details because the contract is written in Arabic only.
If you are getting married here in Kuwait, do NOT kiss when it is announced you are married at the courthouse. Public display of affection is illegal and the judge will have no other choice than to have you both arrested (especially since there are appointed witnesses).
Finally, you are MARRIED! Mabrook !
Important Note :
Check carefully the Spelling, dates, and Names because what will be written in Arabic will be the basis of translations in your future documentations.You need to bring your Marriage Contract (Arabic) in Ministry of Foreign Affairs (KUNA-Shuwaikh/Liberation Tower Ministry Complex ) for another attestation before you can translate it on your preferred language and use on your other important documentation.make sure to invest in an accredited tranlator since you will use this document forever. Like us,You can also arrange to register your Marriage in your respective Embassies.
So, it’s not that bad right?
It’s tedious but with all these, we had our court marriage in the Ministry of Justice in Kuwait. I have never imagined that I would get married in a foreign country! Photography was not allowed inside the court but our Photographer was able to have his extra camera with him . He managed to get some photos during the ceremony so I am glad about it. I had my Kuwaiti sponsor and few friends come over as our witness. My in-laws flew over from Holland and decorated our apartment with traditional Dutch Slingers. It was quite a surprise when we got home. We had our reception with our guest in Al Boom, which is one of the ‘Mohammedi ‘type of traditional Dhow boats turned into a one of a kind restaurant. We have visited them first during my birthday and on my husband’s birthday. It is really a special place for us.
We entertained our friends by having them have a glimpse of the Guiness world record – Al Hashemi as our backdrop. I have written before our amazing experience while seeing this gigantic boat. Meanwhile we enjoyed scenic views from the Sky Lounge of Radisson Blu Hotel overlooking the Arabian Gulf. We got a very good package from them including the dinner & reception in Al Boom . The credibility of Al Boom is again proven and our guests were overwhelmed with the great food– so many choices! excellent personal service and the experience itself in dining in style . I need to mention that they gave us such generous complimentary cake, flowers, VIP access to the Sky Lounge & access to the grand ballroom of Al-Hashemi .
It was indeed a fabulous day .We will cherish this memory as part of our lives and Kuwait will always be close to our hearts where ever we are. If you have any special occasion, don’t forget to check out and consider this hotel. It’s all worth it.
Mabrook ! Gefeliciteerd , Congratulations on your wedding and Good luck on your wedding preparations if you are looking for a marriage in Kuwait.Hope this post have helped you.
Do you have any experience such as these? Were you also married in a different culture ? I would love to hear your stories in the comments below.
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