Getting Married in Indonesia
Moslem Marriage/Wedding Ceremony
To be legally married in Indonesia requires a religious ceremony. According to Indonesian law, both parties must be on the same religion. Each religion has different requirements, so the Indonesian fiance needs to e in contact with their religious body to find out what those requirements are. A few that we know:
- If your fiance(e) is Moslem, the ceremony should be held at the Kantor Urusan Agama (KUA) or the Office of Religious Affairs.
- These offices will issue a Marriage Book (Buku Nikah), which is proof that you are legally married.
- Persons married through a Muslim ceremony are issued a Marriage Book and therefore do not need to record their marriage with the Civil Registry, for Indonesian government purposes.
The following are marital requirement documents for a Muslim Ceremony:
- Copy of passport
- Copy of Birth Certificate;/li>
- Indonesian authorities require that all non-Indonesian citizens obtain a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage from their embassy prior to conducting the marriage ceremony in Indonesia. This certificate serves as a sworn affidavit witnessed by a Consular Officer at the Embassy or Consular office stating that the foreign bride/groom is legally free to marry. The embassy may have a particular form that you must complete, just contact the consular office and ask what the procedure is. The Indonesian fiance(e) must obtain a similar document from the government district office, or Kelurahan. Be advised that these No Impediment documents are only valid for 4 months.
- Copy of Divorce Decree, if applicable
- Passport sized pictures of you and your fiance with red or blue background
- Tax receipt or proof of tax settled (for foreigner who works in Indonesia)
- Copy of ITAS (Temporary Residence Permit Card) or your visa, if applicable
- Citizenship letter and Endorsement Letter by Police (for those who live and reside in Indonesia).
All foreign language documents have to be translated into Indonesian by an authorized translator.
Note: The Muslim traditional marriage Nikah Siri is not accepted as a legal marriage by foreign governments. For example, if you follow nikah siri and then try to get a visa to visit your "spouse's" home country, you will not be considered married and therefore can not get a visa on that basis.
Non-Moslem Marriage/Wedding Ceremony
An expatriate/Indonesian couple will experience two type of ceremonies. The religious ceremony will be performed first, followed by a civil ceremony. The religious ceremony will be conducted by a representative of the couple’s own religious belief (i.e., a Priest for Catholics, a Minister for Protestants, or a Celebrant for Hindu and Buddhist followers).
There will be two certificates presented at the end of ceremony, one from the church/temple/other, and the other which you will present to the Civil Registry Office
- After you hold the religious ceremony, then you MUST record the marriage with the Civil Registry. Failure to do this will cause paperwork headaches later.
- The Civil Registry will then issue a Marriage Certificate which is evidence that you are legally married. A non-Moslem wedding which is not recorded by the Civil Registry is not considered legal.
- There is normally a ten-day waiting period in order to register your marriage with the Civil Registry after you have submitted all the required documents. Recording by Civil Registry officials can sometimes be arranged directly at the religious ceremony for an additional fee.
The following documents must be completed:
- Copy of passport (both partners)
- Copy of birth certificate (both partners)
- Copy of proof of legal termination of any and all previous marriage, i.e., Absolute Divorce Decree (If applicable) or Death Certificate;
- Copy of passports of two witnesses;
- Six identical 4x6 cm photographs of you together with your spouse (with the groom on the right side);
- Letter of No Impediment stating that you are legally free to marry from the foreign fiance's Embassy in Jakarta;
- Indonesian Police Certificate stating that you intend to get married in Indonesia and have not committed any crimes
Our thanks to Asep A. Wijaya of Wijaya & Co for this information www.wijayaco.com
Note: Countries outside Indonesia generally don't recognize the church issued marriage certificate as legal. It's fine inside Indonesia, but if you're planning on getting residency (or even a tourist visa) for your wife in the expat's home country, you'll need the Catatan Sipil issued marriage certificate. As it's 80% in English, you shouldn't need to have much translated on it for future use.
In accordance with Law No. 1 of 1974 concerning marriages in Indonesia Article 2 (1):
“a marriage is legitimate if it has been performed according to the laws of the respective religious beliefs of the parties concerned. All couples who marry in Indonesia must declare a religion. Agnosticism and Atheism are not recognized. The Civil Registry Office (Kantor Catatan Sipil) can record marriages of persons of Hindu, Buddhist, Christian-Protestant and Christian-Catholic faiths. Marriage partners must have the same religion, otherwise one partner must make a written declaration of change of religion/conversion.”
The Religious Marriage under Islam is performed by the Office of Religious Affairs (Kantor Urusan Agama), in a ceremony at a mosque, in a home, a restaurant, or any other place chosen by the couple. A Christian, Hindu or Buddhist marriage is usually performed in a church or temple.
Persons of non-Islamic faith are required to file with the Civil Registry Office in the Regency where they are staying first a Notice of Intention to Marry as well as a Letter of “No Impediment to Marriage” (Surat Keterangan tentang tidak adanya halangan terhadap perkawinan) obtained from their consular representatives.
Different countries may have different requirements, so contact the Consular Representative of your country in their Jakarta Embassy for details well before the intended date of marriage.
For the Notice of Intention to Marry you have to submit some or all of the following documents for both partners to the Civil Registry Office. (Show the original and give them a photocopy - all documents should not be older than three months prior to the wedding):
- Certificate of the religious marriage,
- Passport for foreign citizens,
- Surat Tanda Melapor Diri (STMD) from the Police for the foreign spouse,
- Photocopy of KK/KTP which has been legalized by the Lurah for Indonesian citizens,
- Certified birth certificate, legalized and translated into Bahasa Indonesia,
- Certified divorce decree (absolute) or death certificates regarding the termination of all previous marriages,
- SKK from Immigration for the foreign spouse,
- Proof that all taxes for the foreigner were paid,
- Certificate of the structure of your family
- Certificate of birth for all your legal children
- Certificate of religion
- Certificate of your marital status
- Five 4 x 6 cm photos, both partners side by side, with a red background,
- Foreign citizens: 'Letter of No Impediment to Marriage*' issued by your Consular Representative,
- For Indonesian citizens: never married: a Surat Keterangan Belum Kawin from RT, Kepala Desa or Lurah (district chief)
- Men aged 18-21 and women aged 16-21 require a parental letter of consent, signed across the RP 6,000 meterai/tax stamp.
- 2 witnesses, over the age of 21
Before the marriage, you and your fiance(e) would be strongly advised wish to file with the Civil Registry a prenuptial Property Agreement(Surat Pernyataan Harta)which must be signed before a local Notary Public. This contract is necessary if the Indonesian spouse wishes to hold property separately during the marriage. In the absence of such a document, Indonesian marriage law assumes joint ownership of property. Two witnesses over the age of 18 are required. They must show the originals and present photocopies of their passports if they are foreign citizens or KTP (identity cards) if they are Indonesian citizens. Civil Registry employees can act as witnesses.
The Civil Registry office has a Mandatory Waiting Period of 10 working days from the date of filing. This waiting period may be waived for tourists presenting a guest registration form (Form A). Islamic Marriage Certificates (Buku Nikah) issued by the Office of Religious Affairs (Kantor Urusan Agama) are legally valid in Indonesia and do not require registration with any other agency if you are going to live in Indonesia.
However, if you might move somewhere else in the future, get a marriage certificate issued by the Civil Registry and an officially certified translation right away (see below). All other Marriage Certificates will be issued by the Civil Registry usually on the same or next day. A sworn English translation of the marriage certificate should be obtained for use abroad. It may be necessary for the marriage certificate or translation to be registered by your Consular Agency. Or you may choose to have the sworn translation of the marriage certificate verified or a special translation made by the Consular Agency of your home country or the Consular Agency of your country of residence might prove useful.
*Letter of No Impediment to Marriage :
Based upon these documents and an affidavit prepared by the applicant, the Consular Agency will issue a Letter of No Impediment, usually within a few minutes.
Basically the letter needs to say something like:
We have reviewed the legal documents and status of _______ and can find no legal reason that would prevent his/her from marrying again. She/He is legally single and has never married (or) is legally divorced (whichever is appropriate).
Process of legalization of documents
Legalization of all documents is done by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Kementerian Luar Negeri), Directorate for Consular Affairs - Legalization Section, Jl. Taman Pejambon 6, Jakarta Pusat.
Then these documents have to be translated into Bahasa Indonesia by a certified translator.
The translations have to be validated by the Ministry of Justice (Kementerian Hukum dan HAM), Legalization Section, Jl. Rasuna Said 3, Kuningan, Jakarta Selatan and also by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
When you finish all the paperwork detailed above, take it to your government's embassy in Jakarta where they can validate any necessary documents. In your home country, you can present these wide array of official documents to the local government to get a legal wedding certificate in your home country. Foreign embassies can not register marriages as marriage is a local government responsibility. If you want to register your marriage in the expat spouse's home country, contact the embassy to find out what that procedure would be.
After reading through the extensive bureaucracy involved for foreigners marrying Indonesians ... you can see why a lot of them opt to marry overseas instead!
A foreign marriage certificate will be recognized by the Indonesian government (for the purposes of Indonesian paperwork) if you take your foreign marriage certificate to the Indonesian consular office and have an Indonesian translation of the foreign marriage certificate "consularized" by the Indonesian consular office for the area which you live. The consularization process means that the verify the validity of the document and stamp the back of the document and sign it and use an official stampl. The Consular office can usually help you to translate your marriage certificate, for a fee. If you're not sure which consulate you should do the paperwork through, contact the Consular office of the Indonesian Embassy in your capital city, tell them which city/state/province you live in and they will tell you which consular office to go to for your paperwork.
In a few cases (usually due to differing religions) the foreign spouse may be asked to convertor the couple must remarry, but in most cases a consularized translation of the marriage certificate is adequate. Especially in cases where the couple already have children and have been married for some time, there are fewer questions about the legality of their marriage.
Indonesian government marriage law of 1974 stipulated that you must register your marriage with the Civil Registry (Kantor Catatan Sipil) within one year after you return to Indonesia (Marriage Law). However in December of 2006, a new bill passed called Undang undang 23 tahun 2006 tentang Administrasi Kependudukan, in which new regulations are now in affect. The prevailing law is now the Law of Administration of the Population (2006) and not the Marriage law (1974):
Indonesian citizens who have married abroad (outside Indonesia) are obligated to register with an appropriate Indonesian government consular office (consulate or embassy) in the country where the marriage took place, in order to report this marriage officially to the Indonesian government.
A report must also be made to the appropriate government authority in your hometown in Indonesia in order to assure that your marriage is legal under Indonesian law. If you are Muslim, you report your overseas marriage to the Kantor Urusan Agama (KUA) in Indonesia, if you are from another religion, you report to the Catatan Sipil in the hometown of the Indonesian spouse. Without reporting in this way, you are not considered married by the Indonesian government! This should be done, at the latest, 30 days after the Indonesian citizen returns to Indonesia. The fine for a late registration is of a maximum of IDR 1.000.000 and is further regulated by regional regulations.
The civil registry officer will check the date of your marriage and the date of your arrival to Indonesia after you have performed the marriage abroad. If the day you arrive to record your marriage exceeds the limit, then the Civil Registry Office in Jakarta may also require a court decree in order for the marriage to be recorded (Jakarta Municipal Regulation). When you register you will obtain a Tanda Bukti Laporan Perkawinan, which makes your marriage legal in Indonesia.
The Kantor Catatan Sipil may ask you for ... are you ready ... a letter from the foreign spouse's parents saying they give permission for the marriage, even after the fact! Seems strange ... but this request has come up repeatedly. So, if you want to avoid hassles, get a letter from you folks or other senior family member before you start through the bureaucracy at Kantor Catatan Sipil.
They may also ask for a certified letter from the foreign spouse's embassy verifying that the marriage certificate is legal ... which shouldn't be any problem if it is notarized, and especially if you have had the translation consularized by the Indonesian consular officials abroad. If you have children, you can bring them with you to these meetings ... more proof that you're married! Don't despair, often the officials are happy with just seeing a copy of your foreign marriage certificate, consularized by the Indonesian consulate and that is adequate to register you. But as with everything else - there is an exception to every rule!
It is customary in Indonesia to throw a big reception to which everyone one of the Indonesian partner's family members, friends and acquaintances is invited. Some couples who have married abroad may opt to have a reception in Indonesia which, in theory, demonstrates the Indonesian spouse's family's support of the marriage. Or, another way to go is to have a "tunangan" (engagement ceremony) in Indonesia in traditional fashion before the wedding,
One visitor to the site wrote about his experience returning to Indonesia after marrying abroad:
We experienced family pressure to make our marriage "syah" after returning from the US in 1997 and registering with the Catatan Sipil. My wife found a sort of kyai in her father's village who performed a ceremony that looked a lot like the standard Muslim ceremony I've seen at KUA two days ago (witness/wali, prayer, etc.) but without the buku nikah. In fact, the kyai and I and anyone in attendance who cared about accuracy knew that I was "declaring respect for Islam" but not converting. This may be enough for some families.
Prevailing law - Undang-Undang nomor 23 tahun 2006 stipulates:
(1) Perkawinan Warga Negara Indonesia di luar wilayah Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia wajib dicatatkan pada instansi yang berwenang di negara setempat dan dilaporkan pada Perwakilan Republik Indonesia.
(2) Apabila negara setempat sebagaimana dimaksud pada ayat (1) tidak menyelenggarakan pencatatan perkawinan bagi Orang Asing, pencatatan dilakukan pada Perwakilan Republik Indonesia setempat.
(3) Perwakilan Republik Indonesia sebagaimana dimaksud pada ayat (2) mencatat peristiwa perkawinan dalam Register Akta Perkawinan dan menerbitkan Kutipan Akta Perkawinan.
(4) Pencatatan perkawinan sebagaimana dimaksud pada ayat (1) dan ayat (2) dilaporkan oleh yang bersangkutan kepada Instansi Pelaksana di tempat tinggalnya paling lambat 30 (tiga puluh) hari sejak yang bersangkutan kernbali ke Indonesia.
(1) Setiap Penduduk dikenai sanksi administratif berupa denda apabila melampaui batas waktu
pelaporan Peristiwa Penting dalam hal:
a. kelahiran sebagaimana dimaksud dalam Pasal 27 ayat (1) atau Pasal 29 ayat (4) atau Pasal 30
ayat (6) atau Pasal 32 ayat (1) atau Pasal 33 ayat (1):
b. perkawinan sebagaimana dimaksud dalam Pasal 34 ayat (1) atau Pasal 37 ayat (4):
c. pembatalan perkawinan sebagaimana dimaksud dalam Pasal 39 ayat (1);
d. perceraian sebagaimana dimaksud dalam Pasal 40 ayat (1) atau Pasal 41 ayat (4);
e. pernbatalan perceraian sebagaimana dimaksud dalam Pasal 43 ayat (1);
f. kematian sebagaimana dimaksud dalam Pasal 44 ayat (1) atau Pasal 45 ayat (1);
g. pengangkatan anak sebagaimana dimaksud dalam Pasal 47 ayat (2) atau Pasal 48 ayat (4):
h. pengakuan anak sebagaimana dimaksud dalam Pasal 49 ayat (1):
i. pengesahan anak sebagaimana dimaksud dalam Pasal 50 ayat (1);
j. perubahan nama sebagaimana dimaksud dalam Pasal 52 ayat (2);
k. perubahan status kewarganegaraan di Indonesia sebagaimana dimaksud dalam Pasal 53 ayat (1); atau
l. Peristiwa Penting lainnya sebagaimana dimaksud dalam Pasal 56 ayat(2).
(2) Denda administratif sebagaimana dimaksud pada ayat (1) paling banyak Rp.1.000.000,00 (satu juta rupiah).
Registration at Catatan Sipil
The official fee is Rp 50,000 for "Pelayanan Pencatatan Perkawinan". You can do this registration at:
1. Kantor Dinas Kependudukan dan Catatan Sipil Propinsi
2. Kantor Suku Dinas Kependudukan dan Catatan Sipil
Cost Rp. 50.000 (Pencatatan/Registration),
Rp. 25.000 (Pemakaian Ruang WNI)
Rp. 50.000 (Pemakaian Ruang WNA)
Catatan Sipil West Jakarta / Civil Registry Office of Population and Capil
Jl. S . Parman No. 7 West Jakarta Tel. (021) 564-2808. Fax (021) 564-2808.
Catatan Sipil South Jakarta / Civil Registry Office of Population and Capil
Jalan V No Radio. 1 South Jakarta. Tel. 7280-1284-85
See the Civil Registry's website (http://dki.kependudukancapil.go.id/)for more information.
Indonesian government regulations make it difficult for people of different faiths to marry. If you want to be married in Indonesia, the official government regulation is that either the bride or groom must convert to the other's religion. This can be done in the Kantor Urusan Agama in the Religious Affairs Ministry. While for some this is a true conversion, for others this is simply a paperwork formality to enable the couple to marry and ease documentation procedures. As with everything else - you may find yourself the exception, with no one asking anything about your faith when you go to get married or register your marriage. In many cases the man is asked (by the girl's family or religious leaders in her community) to get circumcised. In some cases they'll ask for visual proof, in others, they'll take your word for it ... !
In Islam, it is forbidden for a Muslim woman to marry a man who is not Muslim - thus the pressure will build from the Indonesian fiance and her family for the expatriate non-Muslim man to convert. Conversely, a Muslim man may marry someone who is one of the "People of the Book" who share the historic religious roots of Islam - Christian and Jewish women. The understanding though is that the children of these couples must be raised Muslim. In fact, these mixed religious couples will raise their children as they see fit. We've seen examples of strict Muslim upbringing, strict Christian upbringing, no religious participation/attendance, and even indifference to religious upbringing.
Some inter-faith Indonesian couples purposefully get married while they are overseas and return with the marriage a fait accompli ... legal documents and all ... and that is one way out of one of the Indonesian partners having to convert in order to marry.
Mind you we are simply discussing legalities here. Once you move to Indonesia, one may find that the pressures from the Indonesian spouse's family and friends may influence the foreign spouse's previous decision to convert or not to convert to the Indonesian spouse's religion. Indonesian society tends to have more of the "image of religiosity" than western societies. Even if your Indonesian fiance isn't particularly religious, be prepared for his/her family to be so. Generally speaking Indonesians find it very difficult to go against their family's wishes.
There is a support group for foreign women married to Indonesian men who are considering converting to Islam, called Sisters.
For more information, Conversion to Islam: for expatriate men marrying Indonesian Muslim women.
Registration of Indonesians Spouses Living Overseas
Be advised that all Indonesians living overseas must register their presence with the nearest Indonesian consular office. The penalty, if you do not do this within two years of your arrival, is almost-certain complications when you need to renew your passport, and ina worst case scenario can even entail loss of Indonesian citizenship.
For more information on Indonesian citizenship issues.
See also Weddings in Indonesia for information on customs and culture surrounding weddings in Indonesia.
Last updated May 24, 2019