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An Indian Get Married To A Foreigner In India?
If the one you cannot live without lives in another country or on another continent that is oceans apart and you can’t wait to unite with them here, in India, read on. While you may think love, compatibility and a feeling of togetherness is all you need to be with your soul mate, the legal process and time involved is also something you may want to consider while planning your union. In India, such a marriage is governed by the provisions of the Special Marriage Act. This act not only deals with marriages between people belonging to different religions but also different caste or backgrounds and hence, marrying a person from another nationality is also governed by the Special Marriage Act. We must also highlight that for an Indian citizen intending to marry outside India; it is the provisions of the Foreign Marriage Act passed in 1969 that apply.
Since the legal age for marriage in India for girls is 18 years and for boys, 21 years, the same rule extends to marriage with a foreign national, even though their country’s domestic law may prescribe a higher or lower age for marriage. The Special Marriage Act, in addition to prescribing the age limit, also mentions degrees of prohibited relationships such as mothers, stepmothers, grandmothers, and stepgrandmothers etc.
The Central Information Commission while highlighting the applicability of the Special Marriage Act has also categorically clarified that if groom and bride belong to different religions or countries, they have to marry under Special Marriage Act, 1954 as they are not permitted to marry under personal marital laws. Some people may not desire to perform marriage as per their religious customs and prefer marriage under Special Marriage Act. There exists a 30-day notice requirement to be given in India if one partner is permanently and the other partner is temporarily residing in India. Marriages between Indian and a foreign national also shall be registered under this Act. If one partner is residing in the foreign country, the ‘Marriage Notice’ form has to be filled by the partner in India and also the partner in the foreign country, which has to be resubmitted by the partner in India to the Registration office.
Documents, Formalities, and Certifications needed
Before solemnizing your marriage, you should ensure that the following documents are ready:
1. Birth certificates (for age proof)
2. A valid visa of more than thirty days for the foreign national
3. A single-status affidavit signed by both parties. In case one of the parties has married previously, the Divorce Decree (for divorcees) or Certificate of Death (for widowed) is necessary.
4. Address proof and passport size photographs
5. Adequate documentary evidence of 30-day residence in India
6. A ‘no-objection’ letter – For instance, if an American citizen wishes to wed in a civil marriage ceremony he may be required to present to the marriage officer a ‘no objection letter’ from the US Embassy or Consulate, as well as proof of termination of any previous marriage if any. Similarly, a citizen of any other foreign country is required to present the no objection letter from the Embassy or Consulate of his/her country. The parties also have to wait at least 30 days from the date of initial application to formalize the marriage so that the marriage officer can publish a notice, which might even include a newspaper publication for giving an opportunity for any objections to the marriage to be voiced.
Is performance of rituals and ceremonies enough?
While we may associate a marriage in India with extensive rituals like walking around the fire, a lot of music and exchanging garlands, the Court has clarified that any couple, whether Indian, NRI, or a foreigner who wants to marry in India has to either perform a religious marriage ceremony or the civil marriage ceremony. Even if the marriage is celebrated under Hindu Marriage Act, Muslim Marriage Act, Christian Marriage Act and for the Parsee Marriage and Divorce Act. Such Religious Marriage Ceremony in India is a legally valid marriage but it needs to be registered compulsorily. For VISA and immigration purposes a Marriage Certificate from Registrar of Marriages is a requirement. Getting your marriage registered may not be enough and you are often required to furnish a registration certificate which acts as adequate proof of valid registration of a marriage. There is no period of expiry for this certificate and a registered marriage, like any other form of marriage is valid until a divorce is obtained.
Succession to Property:
When parties belonging to different nationalities get married in India, the succession is naturally governed by Indian laws. It is the Indian Succession Act that determines the rules applicable for deciding succession. However, if both parties (despite belonging to different nationalities) are Hindus, it is the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act that would apply instead.
To Marry A Foreigner In India
I am an Indian citiizen married to a foreigner. I am a resident of Mumbai and we are settled here in this city. Let me tell you step by step on how I married her here in India and settled down in India.
My wife (She was my fiancee then) came to Mumbai on a tourist visa, I made sure my fiancee got a tourist visa valid for 3 months since the entire procedure takes that much time. To apply for a tourist visa for 3 months , I gave my invitation letter, a scanned copy of my PAN card and return ticket valid for 90 days.
Next step was visiting the office of the Marriage registar in Bandra (E) in Mumbai. All marriage to foreigner has to solemnized under the Special Marriage Act of 1954. First we had to jointly fill up the Intent to marry form. For this they require your age proof, (Passport, Birth Certificate) your address proof ( Passport, Ration Card, Voters Identity card) and Martial status. If any one of the spouse is divorced then the divorce decree along with the judgement copy has to be submitted. If the divorce decree is in any other language other then English get it translated and attested by your counsulate/embassy. Passport size photographs are also to be pasted on this notice. All the documents has to be photocopied at the time of submission, photocopies has to be notarized. You have to pay a nominal sum as fees for which a receipt is given.
Then after two weeks visit the Marriage Registars office for the actual date ot marriage. At this time have all your original documents ready so that the Marriage Registar himself can verify. After verification of the documents the registar will give a date for the marriage. The date of marriage will be stamped on the back of the receipt. You can also say that you will show all the original documents on the day of the marriage. You can choose your date of marriage minimum one month from the date of submission of the form to maximum three months.
For the marriage itself you have to have three witnesses. All witness should have their passport size photographs ( 3 copies) along with proof of residence. You should also carry 3 nos of passport size photographs. The marriage itself is solemnized in front of the marriage registar where in the husband and wife has to take the oath. The marriage certificate will be issued only after 15 days. The marriage certificate had our photographs and also the photographs of the witness.
Since my wife was here on a tourist visa, I had to convert her visa from a tourist visa to a short visit visa (valid for one year). For this I visited the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO). The FRRO in Mumbai has no authority to convert a tourist visa to any other form of visa. For this one has to go to Delhi at the following address: The Director (Foreigner), Ministry of Home affairs, Visa Facilitation Centre, Jaisalmer House, 26, Mansingh Road, New Delhi - 110 011. She carried the original marriage certificate, and both our passports. A fresh visa application form has to be submitted. After that they issued a sealed envelope to be submitted at the FRRO (Mumbai) for processing the Short Visit Visa in Mumbai. As a note I would like to add that a tourist visa is extendable by 45 days (Max) if an Indian citizen gives an undertaking in writing. The undertaking form is available with them.
At the FRRO we submitted three copies of our marriage certificate, three copies of our passport with the latest electricty bill as proof of residence. All original documents were carried by us for verification. They issued a booklet called the residential permit with her extension to stay for one year stamped in it. In the meanwhile I intend to apply for the PIO since any foreigner married to Indian citizen is eligible.