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Thinking of Marrying a Foreigner in Indonesia?

Marrying
Thinking of Marrying a Foreigner in Indonesia?
Here’s What You Need to Know

Love is in the air as February comes rolling in and people start thinking about romance and perhaps have a thought or two about getting married. For those considering marrying someone from a different nationality, brace yourself for the onslaught of legal pre-requisites that’ll give you a bite of reality. It’ll give you a glimpse of what it’s like in building a family with a foreigner in Indonesia.

When I was preparing to get married 15 years ago to my Singaporean husband, I didn’t really understand what I needed to do. A handy “what to do before you get married” guide would have made my life simpler, but I didn’t know anyone who could direct me through the legal hurdles. I knew for sure I wanted to handle everything myself so I wouldn’t have to incur additional costs to hire an agent or event organiser, even if it meant I would have to face bureaucracy head-on.

Getting Married in Indonesia

According to law, marriages between a couple of different nationalities need to comply with Law No. 1 Article 2 of the 1974 Marriage Law that states that a marriage is legal if it fulfils all the requirements of their religion or belief and is legally registered in both countries. My quest to line up the required documents started at the most basic level – the Neighbourhood Chief.

I met up with my Neighbourhood Chief to obtain the basic letters I needed to bring to the Sub-District Office (Kelurahan) then the District Office (Kecamatan) before I went to the Religious Affairs Office (Kantor Urusan Agama) to register my marriage date and reserve a Solemnisation Officer to preside over my exchange of vows ceremony.

I not only had to make sure I had my documents in order but that my fiancé had his available as well, which would comply with Indonesian and Singaporean law. I had to obtain a document from his Embassy that ensured he was single (Certificate of No Impediment) and a Domicile Letter issued by the Sub-District Office.

Also Read Getting Divorced in Indonesia as a Foreign or Mixed Marriage Couple

Information about the required documents is readily accessible on the internet, but I consulted with my fiance’s embassy too. Some embassies even require us to have all of our state documents (KTP, KK, Birth Certificate, school degrees or diplomas to be translated by a sworn translator) and legalised before submitting it to them.

Documents to prepare for Foreign Nationals:
  • CNI (Certificate of No Impediment) issued by the Foreign National’s embassy
  • Photocopy of Foreign National’s ID
  • Photocopy of Foreign National’s Passport
  • Photocopy of Foreign National’s Birth Certificate
  • Domicile Letter issued by the Sub-District Office
  • Statement of Divorce (if available)
  • Formal Photo with a blue background (four copies of both 2×3 cm and 4×6 cm)
  • Statement Letter proving religious conversion to Islam (Surat Mualaf)
Documents to prepare for Indonesian Nationals:
  • Statement Letter of No Impediment signed by Neighborhood and Village Chiefs (Kepala RT and RW)
  • N1, N2, and N4 Forms from the Sub-District and District Office
  • N3 Form for those planning to have an Islamic wedding
  • Statement Letter approving of marriage signed by the couple
  • Photocopy of National ID (KTP)
  • Photocopy of Birth Certificate (Akte Lahir)
  • Photocopy of Family Registry Card (Kartu Keluarga)
  • Photocopy of Pre-Nuptial Agreement (Perjanjian Pra-Nikah)
  • Photocopy of National ID of the 2 witnesses during the solemnisation ceremony
  • Formal Photo with a blue background (four copies of both 2×3 cm and 4×6 cm)
Getting Married Outside of Indonesia

For those contemplating getting married outside of Indonesia, remember to register your marriage at the relevant authorities like the civil registry office to receive your marriage certificate and later report to the Indonesian Embassy situated in the country’s capital where you held your wedding. Once you return to Indonesia, you’ll have 30 days to report your marriage to the local Civil Registry Office or face a penalty.

What if my Fiancé is of a Different Religion?

The current Marriage Law does not recognise marriages among followers of different religious beliefs. You’ll either need to convert to one of the religions to undergo a religious marriage in Indonesia.

However, by law, the local Civil Registry office must register any legal marriage carried out and registered overseas. After registering at the Civil Registry Office overseas, you’ll need to get the marriage certificate translated by a sworn translator before you can register it at an Indonesian Civil Registry office. You’ll need to also have a statement letter issued by the Indonesian Embassy at the country you registered your marriage, photocopies of both Birth Certificates, Foreign Spouse’s Passport, National ID (KTP) and Family Registry Card (Kartu Keluarga) and three formal couple’s photos (you and fiancé in one frame) with a red background (4×6 cm).

Thinking of Marrying a Foreigner in Indonesia?
After “tying the knot”, what’s next?

For all newlyweds, regardless of religion, don’t forget to register your marriage to the local civil registry office once the wedding is over. You’ll need to report your marriage to the Civil Registry 60 days after your wedding. Unfortunately, the marriage book issued by the Religious Affairs office is not widely accepted overseas, so make sure to do this before you go on your honeymoon.

The foreign country your spouse is from will greatly determine whether you’ll need to legalise your marriage book issued by the Religious Affairs Office (Buku Nikah KUA) and your Marriage Certificate issued by the Civil Registry Office at 3 Indonesian Ministries. For example, the Dutch government requires legalisation of both documents by the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Religious Affairs Ministry, and Law and Human Rights Ministry before submitting it to the Dutch Embassy. This step is needed when registering your marriage to the Dutch government.

After the wedding, several privileges for foreign spouses cited in Law No. 1 of the 1974 Marriage Law, Law No. 12 of the 2006 Citizenship Law as well as Law No. 6 of the 2011 Immigration Law kick in. Spouses are eligible to apply for Indonesian citizenship or renounce their citizenship if they decided to become a citizen of their spouse’s country. Foreign nationals can apply for spouse sponsored stay permits in Indonesia (KITAS Dengan Sponsor Istri) and can apply for permanent residency in Indonesia (KITAP) after two years of marriage.

Before the wedding, it’s best to get a pre-nuptial agreement to separate wealth. Otherwise, the Indonesian cannot purchase freehold landed property (hak milik). In this case, foreign nationals are not allowed to own freehold landed property under their name. They can only own have the right to use property (hak pakai) for a maximum of 25 years, which can be extended for another 20 years. If a pre-nuptial agreement was not made prior to the wedding, consult with a local public notary to produce a post-nuptial agreement for separating wealth, which will allow you to buy your own home.

Juliani Luthan, President of Perca Indonesia, a local association of mix marriage couples (Masyarakat Perkawinan Campuran) pointed out that couples of different nationalities must have patience and resilience through their entire marital life because they will face a lot of challenges related to the law in addition to dealing with differences in customs, culture, language, and beliefs.

Before the wedding, empower yourself with the proper knowledge you’ll need to have peace of mind from reputable associations that cater to mixed marriage couples.

For more information on mixed marriages and personal consultation with PerCa Indonesia before your wedding, go to www.percaindonesia.com

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