How to get Married in Kuwait? | An Expat’s Guide

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Tying the knot in Kuwait- made possible to make great memories with idyllic Sky Lounge in Radisson Blu Hotel .

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 ) :

  1. Original Passports with the residence Visa & copy  (for  visa 20 needs the Sponsor’s consent )
  2. Original Civil ID card and copies
  3. 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.
  4.  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)
  5.  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 ! 

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Expat’s marriage -Love makes it possible even you are in foreign ground.

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?

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Expat Marriage in Kuwait- Made possible by Love. Radisson’s Blu intricate interiors accents our exchange of vows. A perfect setting indeed.

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 .

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Our personalized and DIY made Thank you giveaway gift  with all our favorite soundtracks. Photo background was taken during our island hopping trip.

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.

You can also follow my Expat practical tips and Survival guides in Expat’s guide to Expating in Kuwait and make sure you hit the follow button below to follow this Blog.

 

 

Life in the Sea in Kuwait

Kuwait is more than desert , oil and delicious dates. I have seen beautiful sunsets here & extensive marine culture. Kuwait’s history is closed to the sea .But one thing that is very evident in Kuwait is either the lack of things or the complete abundance of it. Everything is in extremes, just like their love for leisure boats.

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Life in the Sea in Kuwait

Kuwait is one of the largest leisure boating markets in the Gulf. According to figures from the Kuwaiti Government, there are now an estimated 15,000* registered leisure boats. Kuwaitis have always been sea people and the boat ownership ratio is estimated at one boat for every 44 Kuwaiti nationals and expatriates with higher incomes, a figure that is very high even for developed boating markets in Europe and the United States.

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It is a typical scenario for me to see that boats are parked beside their cars in front of their villas. Some has been out there in the dust for times I don’t recall since when. There are many beautiful marinas around here where you can see huge number of boats docked. Here are my personal favorites, which I highly recommend for you to checked out  :  Marina Crescent, Souk Sharq, Al Kout , & The Yacht Club.

Water sports are the most popular activity in Kuwait, with the warm waters of the Persian Gulf, the coral reefs and a multitude of marine life attracting many scuba-divers and snorkelers. The KIM Center at the Hilton gives instruction and can arrange trips to the best dive sites, as well as offer kite boarding, water skiing and kayaking. For canoeing and kayaking, Dive Caroline is another good source for underwater adventure.

If you are a yacht enthusiast and interested to buy one for yourself, you can check out Al Boom Marine for their collection & prime boats & yachts for sale.Al Boom Marine is the biggest distributor and dealer in Kuwait for luxury yachts and pleasure craft; largest number of workshops; marine engines; diving equipment; spare parts and various other marine equipment & accessories. Al Boom Marine has various workshops and showrooms situated throughout Kuwait and caters not only for the recreational market, but also provides its services to commercial as well as various governmental departments and institutions.

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Unlike the cozy houseboats along the Amsterdam canals, these boats exudes quite a different face.They are mainly used for leisure purposes and not to live into.The market is almost exclusively an imported one for small boats and yachts with a small network of boat distributors associated with all of the major Gulf boat builders and European and US shipyards. The boating season in Kuwait is from April to September, the opposite of that to the lower Gulf states such as the UAE, Qatar and Oman.

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This shot is taken in front of Souk Sharq in Kuwait. This is a famous mall with an adjacent Fish market. On the far end of the promenade you can see these huge amount of boats docked in a rather picturesque view. It’s quite a sight to see different types of boats & yachts with the view of some of the prominent towers in Kuwait like the Commercial Bank of Kuwait, Al Hamra Tower & Kipco Tower.You can also see from this side the area where the traditional fishing boats are docked. If you want to see how the fishermen unload their fresh catch of the day then this is just the right place.Many Expats frequented this place to get their favorite fish sold in the Fish market nearby.

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These boats are Kuwait’s national pride. It reflects their personality & rather lavish lifestyle. Some of the private collection of yachts are displayed during the prestigious Yacht show in Marina Crescent yearly. If you wanna have a glimpse of how the event looks like & how sleek the boats on display then you can check it out here.

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During the hot summer days, fishing & going on a boat trip is one the great things to beat the heat. The fishing excursion & boat trips can easily be arranged through the wide array of company who have boat rentals .

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If you’re an Expat living in Kuwait or you have visitors &  ever want to rent a boat for the day or go fishing in Kuwait, then this site is for you. FishFishME offers boat rentals and fishing trips for Kuwait and the GCC. Each boat comes with its own experienced driver, and they range from 25 footers to 33. You can rent the boats either from Kuwait City (at Souq Sharq) or from Khairan.

Their prices are very reasonable, starting from KD 25 for a 25 foot boat that carries up to 4 people to Kd 80 for a 33 footer that accommodates up to 12. Trips last 6 hours, and can be booked either for a morning or an evening tour. You can use the boats to go fishing, cruise the sea, or visit Kuwaiti islands.Booking have to be made in advance. You can check out their site for more details on how to book or call Abdullah on Tel. 67665606. 

Sailing and power boating are also favorite pastimes in Kuwait, with glorious views of the desert landscape from the Gulf an added bonus. Trips to a traditional fishing dhow are offered by SAS Sl-Gazeer Voyages, and ferries run daily to Failaka Island from the Marina Crescent Yacht Basin. Nuzha Touristic Enterprises offers yachts with or without skippers down the calm waters.

If you want to look further for fishing trips & boat rental facilities in Kuwait, then you can check it out Here.

 

 

 

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Hala February Kuwait!

 

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Green, Red & Black are the colors of Hala February  in Kuwait

February is a beautiful month in Kuwait. The weather is cool and  at its best, (Hooooraayy! ) and super perfect for outdoor activities. This is the best time to spend more time outside and explore because there’s so much things to see. If you’re new in Kuwait, then this is the best time for  Expats to get to know more about this country and participate to this most-awaited national holiday. From the beautiful street decorations up to the fresh spring flowers that adorned the landscapes of Kuwait, the whole K- town becomes alive.

February is the month of the colorful festival “Hala February “  highlighting the National Liberation Day which falls on February 25-26. Usually there are lots of varieties for a month-long activities and events everywhere. From winter Bazaars, Light shows & concerts, Outdoor Markets, desert camps, cultural tours, concert parades,  local community  festivals and so on. There’s so much going on everywhere that your weekend is packed with events to suits your lifestyle. In relation to this festivity, recently, Kuwait flight its 2,000 meters National Flag- (  Guinness World Record by making the Longest Flag-February 9,2016).

When I was a newcomer here, I was amazed while observing  how nationalistic Kuwaiti people are. I distinctively remember how I knew that the festivities have begun. All the villas in our neighborhood has Kuwaiti flag hanged in their  walls. During the whole month of February, Kuwaiti national pride come to super boost. From the Kuwait Towers, up to the smallest Bakalas, the Red, Green & Black color is all around. Small flags adorned the windows, doors, shops and even cars. So many shops that mainly sells are stuff for the Hala February event. They sell costumes, decorations, hats, flags & banners and so much more. Most buildings have beautiful light decorations and shows which are quite a sight at night. It becomes so alive in the evening. This is one of the attractions during this month. If you love Architecture then you’re in a treat, all the towers & Skyscrapers are decorated with  beautiful lights. I love watching them.

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Little boy in a costume during the Hala February  Festival Parade.

Since this post is about the National Day of Kuwait, I think its just  fitting that I shared with you some of the  interesting facts that I have learned about this country . These facts have made this dynamic country to be a popular Expat destination in the Middle East and stand out because of its unique charm, spirit & flaws.Read on.

  • Until 1962, Kuwait celebrated its National Day on June 19, the anniversary of its independence, but in 1963 it changed it to February 25 to avoid the hot weather of June.
  • February 25 was the anniversary of Sheikh Abdullah becoming Emir of Kuwait in 1950. February 26, 1991 was the day Iraq’s occupying forces were driven out of Kuwait.
  • Kuwait has the world’s fifth largest oil reserves.
  • The national bird of Kuwait is the Falcon.
  • There are 1.43 males to every female in Kuwait.
  • In 2006, Kuwait became the first country to introduce the sport of camel racing, with remote controlled robot jockeys.
  • When Saddam Hussein occupied Kuwait in 1990 and named it the 19th Province of Iraq some dissidents called it “Wimbledon” which is SW19.
  • Kuwait has won two Olympic medals, both bronze for Fehaid Al-Dehani at trap shooting.
  • Kuwait is the only country in the world with no natural water supply from lakes or reservoirs but it did open its first grass golf course in 2005.
  • Eating, drinking, playing loud music and dancing during daylight hours in public are against the law in Kuwait during the month of Ramadan.
  • Kuwait is on top  in Fattest Country in the world with 70% of Kuwaiti men over 15 are obese and over 80% of women.
  • Coke beats Pepsi internationally but only in the Middle East does Pepsi beat Coke.
  • Kuwaiti Dinar (KD ) is the highest valued currency.
  • On November 12 2012, Kuwait marked its Constitution’s 50th Anniversary with outraging fireworks.With the cost of nearly KD 4 million, featuring about 77,000 fireworks, they earned the place of “The largest fireworks display” in Guinness World Record. My neck got so cramped watching fireworks for almost an hour! It was insane!
  • Kuwait has 15,000* registered leisure boats (as of 2012)
  • Kuwait has the third highest density of millionaires in the world.
  • Fifty percent (50%) of Kuwaitis are Divorced.
  • The minimum legal age of marriage varies according to gender, where the age of marital consent is 15 for girls and 17 for boys. Arranged Marriages is still the norm in this country.
  • Kuwait has broken world record in number of traffic deaths, with 17 deaths recorded in every 100,000 cases on the average.The worst record ever that Kuwait has. According to death statistics of 2014, 5,819 death cases were registered out of which 3,186 cases were of Kuwaiti citizens and 2,633 of expatriates. The total population of the country has reached 4.202 million out of which 1.298 million are Kuwaiti citizens.
  • Kuwait ranks #80 with 2.48 (2015 )  for Total Fertility rate of Kuwaiti women around the world.
  • The largest supplier of goods and service for Kuwait is United States. Therefore, both countries have strong cooperation.
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Water Towers lights up in Kuwait

How about you, do you know any interesting facts about the country you’re living in right now?

I hope you get to know more Kuwait through this post. Thank you for reading!