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How Can You Marry Your Foreign Soul Mate In India, Legally?

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Love Has No Boundaries

Love has no boundaries, it is often said. And this is quite natural. Because love is an emotion that cannot be necessarily restricted to a water-tight geopolitical boundary. Well, is that the case with you? Are you in love with a person who is not an Indian or not an Indian citizen? Are you making plans to marry him/her sometime soon and that too in India? Well, if your life partner to be is from countries like the United States, etc., we can help you know the law which can help you marry him/her in our own country.

Also read How Can A Woman Change Her Name In The Aadhar Card After Marriage?

The Special Marriage Act Of India

Well, if you are marrying a person who is a foreign citizen, then such a marriage would fall in the category of the Special Marriage Act. This act is concerned with marriages that take place between couples belonging to different religions, (in some cases) different castes, different backgrounds, and also those who belong to different nationalities. On the other hand, if an Indian citizen intends to marry outside India, then his/her marriage would be considered under Foreign Marriage Act that was passed in the year 1969.

As the legal age for getting married in India is 18 years for girls and 21 years for boys, the same rule would apply for marriage with a foreign national, irrespective of whether their country’s local laws mandate a higher or lower age to get married. Besides, the Special Marriage Act, apart from fixing the minimum age for marriage, also restricts the degrees or layers of prohibited relationships like mothers, grandmothers, stepmothers, step-grandmothers, etc.

Also read Can Hindu Women Inherit Property From Their Parents? The SC Decision That Changed It All

The Requirements In The Special Marriage Act

While applying and invoking the Special Marriage Act, the Central Information Commission has categorically clarified that if the bride and groom come from different religions and countries, then they have to marry under the Special Act. 1954 because they cannot marry under the personal marital laws.  

A 30-day notice period is required in India if one person is residing in India permanently and the other is residing temporarily in India. Suppose one partner is residing in a foreign country, then the ‘Marriage Notice’ form needs to be filled in by the partner who is in India and also the partner who is in the foreign country. This has to be submitted again by the partner who is in India to the local Registration office

About The Needed Documents, Certificates & Formalities

Before your marriage is undertaken, you have to ensure that the following documents are already there with you:

  • Birth certificates  (to prove the age)
  • An authentic visa of at least thirty days for the foreign national
  • An affidavit of single status signed by both parties. Suppose one of the parties had married earlier, then the Divorce Decree (for the divorcee) or Certificate of Death (for the widower or widow) is needed.
  • Address proof along with passport size photographs
  • Sufficient evidence to prove 30-day residence in India
  • Also a ‘No-Objection’ letter – For example, suppose the US citizen wants to wed in a civil marriage ceremony then he/she may be asked to present a ‘no objection letter’ from the US Embassy or Consulate to the marriage officer, also a proof of that of marriage termination, in case he had married earlier. On similar lines, a citizen of any other foreign country should present a no objection letter from the Embassy or Consulate of his/her country.

Besides, the parties have to wait for a minimum of 30 days, starting from the initial application, so that the marriage officer can publish a notice in the course of the 30 days. This notice may even include a newspaper publication to present an opportunity for anyone to voice his/her objections to the marriage.   

Performance Of Rituals And Ceremonies In Such Marriages

Many people identify an Indian marriage with a lot of rituals like taking rounds around the fire, lots of music, and exchanging garlands, the Court has stated clearly that any couple, irrespective of being Indian, NRI, or a foreigner who wishes to marry in India has to undertake a religious marriage ceremony or the civil marriage ceremony. That holds true even if the marriage is performed under Hindu Marriage Act, Muslim Marriage Act, Christian Marriage Act, etc.

These religious marriage ceremonies in India are legally valid but they need to be registered compulsorily. Also, marriage registration may not be enough. You may need to present a registration certificate which is adequate proof of a valid marriage.

Also read Know About Daughter's Rights in Mother's Property.

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