Hotel Check-In for Foreigners (& the Problem if your Partner is Indian)

After our long journey to Aurangabad, we wanted to check-in to our hotel as soon as possible, take a nap and freshen up. The receptionist at the hotel wanted to see a copy of my passport, visa and our marriage certificate before giving us our room key. I had not carried any form of identification with me. I started to panic, we were just so exhausted and this was the last thing we needed. What were we going to do? Where would we stay?

The receptionist at the hotel wanted to see a copy of my passport, visa and our marriage certificate before giving us our room key.

I later found this on India’s bureau of immigration website:

Any Hotel/ Guest House/ Dharmashala/Individual House/ University/ Hospital/ Institute/ Others etc. who provide accommodation to foreigners must submit the details of the residing foreigner in Form C to the Registration authorities within 24 hours of the arrival of the foreigner at their premises. This will help the registration authorities in locating and tracking the foreigners. 
Wow, ‘locating and tracking the foreigners’ sounds a little scary! If you are travelling around India as a tourist you will probably be carrying your passport with you anyway, but if you are a foreigner based somewhere and go on a trip remember to take copies of your passport and visa with you.

If you are in a Foreigner/Indian relationship you also may be asked to produce a copy of your marriage certificate if you stay in a hotel in India.

Some hotels in India strictly forbid Foreigners and Indians sharing a room.

If you’re a foreigner,  married to an Indian, make sure you have a copy of your marriage certificate at check-in otherwise you may have to pay for separate rooms.  If you are in a Foreigner/Indian relationship and are not married I would advise you call and check if the hotel will allow you to share a room before you book!

We were lucky, my husband gave a stern look to the receptionist, the receptionist looked at me wearing Indian clothes and sindoor and he gave us our room key. We were lucky on this occasion, we will always carry a copy of our marriage certificate and my visa in the future!! *lesson learnt*



104 thoughts on “Hotel Check-In for Foreigners (& the Problem if your Partner is Indian)

  1. Though it was a little hard on you but I think it’s a good thing as there has been many cases of violence against foreigners and any case gets a lot of media attention so it’s a good trade off as it would make the hotels safer 🙂 😀


  2. First, I thought you should know, your “comment here” link isn’t working.

    Second, it’s super good to know this information! Me and DN might have had a bit of trouble in the future. I’m glad everything worked out well for you, though.
    You look so beautiful! ♥


  3. Hi Lauren,
    Looking good!
    In China foreigners need to carry their passports at all time, with their visa, and if is for work, work permit. In my case I need to carry my two passports (old and new one).
    In China when you move to an apartment you need to register at the closest “police station (PCB), for that you need your rental contract, passport, copies, and sometimes the book from the owner of the apartment which shows all the information. If you go to a hotel / need to show them the passport and they will go it for you (some hostels cannot have foreigners actually).
    If I go visit my in laws I also need to do it for their home. But till now the only time someome asked for our marriage licenses was the police last Autumn, they tought the driver (brother in law) was driving tourist illegally so we had the certificates with us to show that we are all a family.


    • Hi Laura, lovely to hear from you again!

      Wow that is a lot of paperwork!! I know that when I get my X-visa the super intendant of police has to visit our house and interview my husband and I.

      I guess things are run a lot differently in different countries, you have to live there to realise it!!

      I hope you and your family are well!! x


  4. Been there and learned exactly the same lesson! Funny thing is… for many years when travelling on business for a JV (Indo-Canadian company), was never asked! Now? Don’t leave home without your passport, visa / PIO card! Even throw in the FRRO Registration booklet just in case!

    Amused to read this and love the pic!


  5. Lauren,

    Sorry to hear about your problems checking into the hotel, glad that worked out okay. I have heard that sometimes this is a problem. Love your red outfit! Very beautiful and colorful.



  6. What absolute rubbish to ask for your marriage certificate! I just hate these self-appointed guardians of our morality! What if you weren’t married? It’s just ridiculous, and I’m sorry that you both had to go through that, even though you say that you weren’t offended (I would definitely have been!)


    • I agree, it is a shame that couples who are not married cannot stay in some hotels! I wasn’t offended but it does surprise me a lot!

      I do not think there are written rules about marriage certificates either, I understand about the identification, as that is the law but marriage certificate is extreme.

      I hope you are well, thank you so much for stopping by!! x


  7. I never had a problem but I think it was because we were travelling as a family with in-laws. I guess with children or parents it is not really a big deal. Have to sign the Big Book so bring your passport anyway!


  8. enjoy the wedding and eat yummy food.
    The receptionist followed the law.The Govt of India mandated the hotel industry to keep a tab on movement of all foreigners to identify and track the potential terrorists. Some Pakistanis have abused their western/other citizenship and exploded the people in Indian cities. This has been the reason and a recent direct development for the scrutiny. Indians also must provide some form of identification like drivers licence,company IDs or ration cards etc. In Iran and Turkey I had to show my passport several times. Marriage certificate was asked for obvious reasons, I will not explain that here. Police Raids do take place on occasion, please be prepared and keep the certificate handy in future.


    • Hi Surya,

      I hope he followed the law in regards to my passport and visa but I don’t think that it is the law to also ask for marriage certificate. I would love to see it written somewhere if it is, or maybe it is just some hotels policy (I would love to see that in writing also).

      Thank you for the info, I hope you are well.


      • Iam hesitant to talk about this here. In fact police raids on suspected prostitution is an decades old practice. Indian men were asked about their Indian wives when the couples checked in to hotels many years ago.No, they dont carry marriage certificates with them. In fact there was a movie in which this made a hillarious scene, an old Jaya Bhaduri starrer with Anil Dhawan I think. This has nothing to do with nationality or terrorism. .Just be careful why spoil your holiday mood, its just not worth it, toss a copy in the bag and be done with it. Enjoy your trip and the weather before summer unleashes its shakti.


  9. Oh no how annoying! But as others have said, the acts of a few idiots have ruined it for honest people like you. On a different note, red is definitely your colour!


  10. Tracking down foreigners? Like seriously? How many times has the Government taken care of girls’ safety in broad day light or has tracked all the terrorists who resided in India for a long long time before the horrendous blast?
    You have all my sympathies darlin’
    And you look beautiful btw 🙂


  11. This is very similar to how things work in China! I’ve been refused stays at hotels when checking in with a local Chinese when we weren’t married; since then, I’ve always learned to carry around copies of that marriage license while traveling in the country.


  12. Lauren, you’re such a babe in that pic!

    Just wanted to commiserate about Indian bureaucracy with you. I remember it being a joy-sucking nightmare even during short trips – whatever the good intentions! I’ve had the same situation in small-town Turkey: they demand your marriage certificate, a ring ain’t good enough.

    Hope all’s good with you!


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  14. Same thing happened to me and my boyfriend many times here in India and what makes it difficult is that we are not married yet. I came back to india recently to marry him (he was suppose to travel to my country but things turned out differently) and in his homeplace people are very traditional and we are not allowed to stay in hotels together. Only in more expensive ones. I dont think that’s because of our safety, it’s because generally in here couples are not allowed to spend nights together before the marriage, especially if the other one is a foreigner. Most of the time I feel like they think that I’m his whore or a one night stand. Somehow in touristic places we havent had that issue, maybe because he is considered as a tourist there aswell.

    Because I’m a foreigner and from a wrong religion I’m not welcome to his home either. His mom kicked me out from there. I think it’s very unfair that we travel from so far to come here and try to respect the culture and traditions but they have no need to try to understand us. I’m so tired about it.

    Luckily not everyone are the same, like your parents in law. Even you may not yet know the language, at least you are welcome there and that is very important when you are a part of your husbands family now. Being accepted is a basic human need. I hope you’ll get a change to visit somewhere in india where’s more tourism. It could be a good experience for you to see other foreigners and get to be treated as a normal person for a while.


    • Hi Helena,

      I am so sorry your in-laws have been so disgraceful towards you, that makes me really sad. I sincerely hope that they realise that their son loves you and they should be happy for you both. I have heard that many of these parents who do not welcome their childrens partners because they do not approve and many realise the error of their ways in time.

      You boyfriend surely loves you so much, he is a keeper!! I have heard of many people breaking up with their partners because of family pressure so well done him!

      Keep in touch, sending you both lots of love

      Lauren x


  15. Cute outfit!
    Ugh, I would have hated that if they had asked for my marriage certificate, how conservative. We went to India twice together before marriage but I never had anything happen like that.


  16. Hi , ( third hi in last half an hour )
    So i realize this is my third post and i am sorry .
    Anyways , what are the conclusions ?
    Useless hotel staff and an all rounder hubby 😀

    i won’t comment on the pic as i am too young in comparison to you , for that . 😀


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  18. Hi Lauren… first things first… u r looking amazingly pretty n stunning.. red suits u… 🙂 😀

    I think with passing time either people or u will become accustomed to the culture 🙂


  19. Pretty outfit. Every single picture of yours is in an Indian outfit. Its like you’ve been wearing Indian salwar kameez throughout. Do you wear Indian outfits only? Or do you actually wear non-Indian ones too? I’ve always wanted to ask this ever ever since the first time I saw you pictures.


  20. i read about you in some magazine though i don’t really remember the name. right from your love story to getting settled in india ,everything you elaborated in a really sweet way.And I really appreciate the way you took the cultural barriers positively and doing your part to overcome all of them (and yeah i can understand some are really tough to surpass especially when if one’s a westerner). And yeah some of your articles about food and missing cheese and all that stuff brought smile on my face ..and by the way…missing cranberries(really difficult to find)?
    well..wish you all the very best for the future ahead….and hope you get along with the system really well…..and yeah i know it’s tough and needs patience…My sis-in-law’s italian…italian wife indian life…she is able to do really well…hope the same for you..
    cheers. 🙂


  21. Thank you very much for sharing your experience of life, I’m reading them because they are very important in my own way, Thanks a lot 🙂


  22. My Indian partner and I (Australian) travelled around India together and would actually recommend just booking your hotel online and showing up (without calling to ‘explain’ that you are an intercultural couple. Pre-booking, especially if arriving late at night, helps reduce any concerns they may have about being hassled by police for a bribe to ‘ignore’ prostitution occurring on their premises (a legitimate concern). However, if they do refuse you entry as a intercultural couple, just tell them that you will write a review on TripAdvisor telling foreigners not to stay at an establishment that endorses racism and discrimination. Most hotels can’t afford bad reviews.


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  25. I think these types of rules for protecting foreigners, not for creating problems for them.
    By the way u looks very beautiful………….


  26. Like everyone says you look gorgeous in red Lauren.. Your posts are always so positive even when you are having difficulties 😀 thanks for all the tips I hope to use once I eventually get to India!


  27. That’s so true. Had a similar experience last January with my girl friend who is now my wife. Was asked to provide marriage ceritificate as i am Indian and my girl friend is Czech. Luckily i had taken my English passport with me (which i thought might not be necessary for me in India). And i realised i did require it as all the hotels across India would not have let us stay together me being Indian and my other half Czech. But English passport and OCI card made the difference


  28. I think it’s messed up that they demand to be shown a marriage certificate. This country has way too much unnecessary moral policing!


  29. Haha same happened to us when we were in Delhi,
    Spl this happen in Delhi, other places of india no problem.
    Me and my wife are living in McLeodganj (HP) she is korean.


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