Are you looking to get married in Kuwait? We took a closer look at the advice and regulations from the British Embassy in Kuwait.
17 July 2013| Last updated on 16 October 2017
Are you looking to get married in Kuwait? Here we take a closer look at the advice and regulations you need to familiarie yourself with to make sure you are following all the rules and the laws of the land.
Guidance for Marriage in Kuwait
It is possible to get married in a church in Kuwait and under Sharia law in the courts as an expat. If you are an expatriate residing and wishing to get married in Kuwait, you must post your marriage bans to acquire a Certificate of No Impediment (CNI) from your embassy, which confirms that you have not been married previously or that your previous marriage has been legally terminated.
But remember, expatriates wishing to obtain information about marriage must also contact the relevant local authorities to be sure of the requirements that they need in order to proceed with their ceremony.
Advice on marriage in Kuwait can only be given by the Kuwaiti authorities or by a lawyer practising in Kuwait. However, please read the following notes which act as general guidance for expatriaties. If you have any doubts on the validity of your marriage, it is best to check with a lawyer.
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Certificate Of No Impediment
You can obtain these certificates at your embassy in person where you must also show them that you have been legally resident in Kuwait for a minimum of 21 days.
Following are the steps you need to take to acquire your CNI:
1. Posting a Notice of Marriage
a) You (British National) must be in the country for 21 continuous days prior to coming into the Embassy.
b) On or after your 22nd continuous day of staying in Kuwait, you may then come into the Embassy with your original:
Long form birth certificate (including parents’ names) www.gro.gov.uk
Naturalisation certificate (if applicable)
Divorce decree absolute certificate (if applicable) and/or
Ex-spouse’s death certificate (if applicable).
If your fiancé is from the Philippines, you will also need to provide a CENOMAR document (Certificate of No Marriage) issued by the National Statistics Office (NSO) in Manila. The CENOMAR certifies that the Philippine citizen (or previous Philippine Citizen) has no record of marriage with the NSO. Please note that the CENOMAR issued by the NSO Manila should be presented to the Embassy/Consulate within 3 months of it being issued.
Any documents not in English, must be translated into English.
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c) You would also need to bring in the above mentioned documents (originals) for your Non British fiancé/e. If your fiancé/e is a British National, he/she would also have to come in; if he/she is not a British National, then he/she would not need to come in.
d) Request for and fill in the Notice of Marriage form (Fee 12) and swear an oath/affirmation to the effect that there is no impediment to your marriage, which will then be posted for 21 days in the Embassy.
2. Collecting your CNI
After 21 days, come back to the Embassy and request for a Certificate of No Impediment (Fee 13). If no legal impediment to the marriage has been shown to exist, the CNI will be issued in English and Arabic.
Marriage in the Ministry of Justice, Kuwait (Civil Ceremony)
Civil ceremonies take place on Sundays and Wednesdays in the Ministry of Justice Building.
After acquiring your CNI, you are required to take them to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kuwait to be stamped. The Bride and Groom are required to provide the following documents:
Original Kuwaiti Civil IDs and copies of bride, groom and witnesses
Original Passports and photocopies of bride, groom and witnesses
CNI from respective Embassy for bridge and groom, stamped by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kuwait
Two male witnesses are required for a civil ceremony.
In order to register your marriage in your own country, you will need to get a translation and a Ministry of Foreign Affairs attestation before taking all your papers to your own Embassy.
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Under Islamic law, a Muslim woman is required to marry a Muslim man, whereas a Muslim man may marry a non-Muslim. All Muslim weddings are held at the General Courts in the Palace of Justice, Fahad Al Salem Street in Kuwait City.
Muslim wedding ceremonies are held at the Reggaie Courts, Reggaie.
Muslim Bride: Where the bride is a Muslim, only a religious marriage under Islamic law is permitted and the groom must be a Muslim.
Muslim Groom: Where the groom is a Muslim, only a religious marriage under Islamic law is permitted although it is not obligatory for the bride to be a Muslim.
For further information, please contact the Ministry of Justice: 00965 22465600
Marriage in the Church
Weddings at St Paul's and the Roman Catholic churches just have to be recorded at the General Register's Office whereas weddings at the Evangelical church must also undergo a civil ceremony.
In order for the marriage contract signed in a church to be recognised, it needs to be signed by a Notary at the Ministry of Justice and all the documents above must be produced. The Church will provide you with all the details of documentation, fees and other requirements.
Registering a Marriage
It is not possible to register your marriage in Kuwait with the Embassy, however you can arrange for your local marriage certificate to be deposited with the General Register Office in your home country.
This is not a legal obligation and has no bearing on the validity or otherwise of the marriage. It simply means that you are able to obtain a certified copy of your marriage certificate directly from the GRO, should you need to do so in the future. There is a charge for this service.