Civil marriage: Indian & Foreigner in India: Notice of Intended Marriage

We would be married under the Special Marriage Act (1954), this form of marriage allows Indians from different religions or Indians and foreigners to get married

We got married and now we need to get ourselves a civil marriage and a marriage certificate. One good reason for this is that I am currently in India on a tourist visa which will only last six months so I need to get a long-term visa (and eventually a OCI card two years later).

How does a foreigner marry an Indian in India?

We would be married under the Special Marriage Act (1954), this form of marriage allows Indians from different religions or Indians and foreigners to get married (but aren’t all marriages supposed to be special). There are also different marriage acts for different religions, the Hindu Marriage Act (1955) for example. Under the Hindu Marriage Act (1955), marriages can be dissolved if one of the pair develops an incurable form of leprosy or if one day one of them decides to renounce the world.

I arrived in India with my full birth certificate, my passport (obviously) and proof of my address (my provisional drivers license- British passports do not state the address so it was lucky I had it). My husband also needed his passport, birth certificate and a proof of address. We both had to have passport sized photographs made, without any prior warning, I cringe when I see mine.

First thing we had to do was go to see a lawyer to make an affidavit. This had to be made because neither of my parents were there to ‘give me away’, the affidavit confirmed that I was willing to marry my husband (it seemed a little strange, but something we had to do).

Three witnesses were needed; our lawyer, my husbands best friend and my mother-in-law were our witnesses. We made lots of trips to the xerox (otherwise known as photocopy) shop, we had to have copies of all our documents and the documents (passport and proof of address) of the witnesses.

All five of us then went to the registry office. It was a beautiful but unusual place, people were typing on old fashioned typewriters and offices were in the open air, outside a grand(ish) British built building. I had the usual confused looks from passersby. The registry office itself was packed full of people registering all matter of things from the purchase of a car to a birth of a baby, everyone kept asking why I was there.

Piles and piles of ancient looking paper, slowly degrading, were stacked behind the registrars and falling out of cupboards. Years and years of records were in that room, I wondered how many years exactly. I sat and looked at them for ages, it was really busy so it took a long time.

After signing three copies of the notice we had our photocopies verified against our documents and we were then ready to submit our notice.

After all documents were signed and verified, we had to confirm our names and addresses to the registrar. It was quite funny, she asked us if this type of marriage has ever occurred before. She did not ask to see a ‘Certificate of No Impediment’ (UK version of a single status affidavit), she said because it states I am a ‘Miss’ in my passport, so it is fine… I think other registry offices in India may not be as relaxed about it as they were in Nagpur.

 

Our notice then sat in the registry office for 30 days, thankfully no one objected to our legal union. We returned to the registry office and became husband and wife… again. It was quite a surreal moment and not how I pictured I would be saying those vows.

Summary of documents required for a civil marriage in India between a foreigner and Indian:

  • Full birth certificate
  • Passport
  • The foreign party will need a visa for more than 30 days (we got married whilst I was on a 6 month Tourist visa)
  • Proof of address
  • Certificate of No Impediment/Single Status Affidavit
  • Passport sized photographs

Of course, this may vary from court to court so don’t take this list as gospel, I would suggest contacting a local lawyer to advise you on what you will need to avoid your marriage being denied.

Part 2: Our civil marriage ceremony.

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130 comments

  1. Nasate Bhabi Ji!

    I am an Indian planning to marry a Non-Indian, we found your articles very very helpful. Specially to change the idea about Indian & Indian cultures to my will be in-laws.
    Thank You Very Much

    Like

  2. Question: Can I as a foreigner marry an Indian man in India in a Religious Ceremony? — I see online that it seems to state that you can under the Hindu Marriage Act but it will be a Christian wedding and it doesn’t state those specifics on the US Consulate in India Website. How many days do you need to be in the country to have such a marriage? We desire and want to do it the honest, right way… how long were you in India once you guys took those steps towards officially getting married? I do have to go back home for a while to take care of some final things before I come back to my husband to live in India but so many questions and not enough connections to get clear, honest answers. Your help/knowledge/experience would greatly be appreciated…

    Like

  3. Does any one have idea,i married with indian women while she here in tourist visa she is indian and i am swedish citizen,once we registered here in sweden is it necessary to register india too?

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  4. Hi, I would like to congratulate you and your husband. And wish you guys a very happy married life. If it is okay then may I ask a few questions ? I want to ask like what is the proof of address for a foreigner ? Since my fiance is one, so does she need to give a proof of address in India ? And if yes then how I mean cause I read about the special marriage act, it says you need a ration card or an evidence from the police station (SHO) and this is baffling for me since I don’t understand how to get an address proof for my fiance in India given she will stay with me, so her address would be same as me but what about the proof ? Could you please help clarify the situation. Thank you…..

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  5. HI…
    Brave girl… I wonder if I am as brave as well…
    Can someone tell me please how high is the fee for the registration… And how much for the court marriage and certificates?

    Thank you!!
    P.

    Like

  6. I am planning to do the same 😉 .. He is from UP and I am from Sri Lanka. Gladly we have blessings from our parents. Hopefully we will get marry soon. The article is really helpful.

    Like

  7. Dear Lauren,

    You mentioned that you used your birth certificate.
    I am wondering if you had to get the birth certificate
    Notarised or apostille stamped?

    Thank you kindly.

    Nh

    Like

  8. Hey Lauren, your blogs are truly amazing.
    Well I am about to get married with a French citizen. Could you kindly let me know if Single status certificate is required for both the parties or just the foreign citizen?

    Like

  9. Hi! I am finding your blog very useful. I am also from the UK and met my Indian partner in Japan. We were wondering if it might be easier to get married here and then submit those documents to the Indian government? It’s very handy that you didn’t need the Single Status Affidavit as well..

    Like

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