Marrying a Kuwaiti Women as a Non-Kuwaiti Man (1/2)

Marrying a Kuwaiti Women as a Non-Kuwaiti Man (1/2)

Marriage in Kuwait can be a difficult task to accomplish, leaving aside the family issues here and the normal process of “no system” to do things, people at government offices that speak English, but don’t when you need help.

Some background on our situation, I have been married to my wife for about two years now in the US, but have never been legally married in Kuwait, despite the fact that I have worked here on and off during the last two years. I do not speak with my father in law, which complicates matters in Kuwait. I have meet a few other gentlemen that are married to Kuwaiti women that expressed difficulty in getting through the legal and court system in making their marriage official in Kuwait, but they never documented it. My goal is to get through this without hiring an attorney.

First off, if you have the support of your father in law, the below does not apply to you as the process is very straight forward. However if you do not, or are curious, then read on!

Things you will need:

  • Civil ID with 6 or more months of validity (both)
  • Marriage document from the US
  • Copies of all of the above documents
  • Proof that you are Muslim
  • Time and patience
  • You and your wife are 21 or older

Your day will begin around 8 or 9 am at the Court Complex in Riggae, Kuwait. Refer to the map here:

They will have you go all around the building talking to people, and hope that one can help you. Eventually they will send you to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to have your marriage document stamped. Refer to the map here:

This is relatively fruitless as they will turn you away citing that there is nothing you can do. So they refer you back to the Court Complex, and you will want to talk to someone on the ground floor by the entrance there is customer service (on the right after security) as you come in. Tell them you want to “sue the country” for not letting you and your wife get married. As bad as this may sound to another American, it’s not a huge deal here (my wife had to explain this to me), they are happy to help you with this… This is where progress begins. They will refer you to someone, where you explain your situation, they will ask for proof of marriage, and proof that the husband is Muslim (Sunni or Shia). My wife and I used our marriage documents from the US. Proof that you are Muslim can be in the form of a document from the Islam Presentation Committee (IPC), I didn’t have any document from them so I used a Saudi work visa that said I was Muslim and they saw it as an “official document”. I would imagine they might accept a number of other things, but the IPC document seems like the safest bet. Once this is done you will go all over the building again, collect more stamps from the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th, floor. You will get charged 15 Kuwaiti Dinar (KD) by one gentlemen. At the end when you go to get your court date (this is computer generated from what they said), you will need to get a 5 KD revenue stamp, obtain copies of more documents that you have got stamped along with a copy of your civil ID. Once this is done, keep the documents they left you with as you will need them for the court date. Now you wait until that date… in our case its in November.

My thoughts on this. What a mess… Something such as marriage should be straight forward, regardless of parental support. Marrying a foreign man here is frowned upon and discouraged by many in Kuwait, and the “process” they have makes it more difficult for the couple. However it is not impossible, I have many female Kuwaiti friends that have spoken with me about someone special overseas they would love to marry, but don’t know where to start if they were on their own doing this. I hope that by documenting the end of my journey, I can make the lives of others easier and bring happiness to more people as my wife and I are not the first in this boat.

13 thoughts on “Marrying a Kuwaiti Women as a Non-Kuwaiti Man (1/2)

  1. I’m sorry your process is proving to be more difficult when it should. Very informative piece and I wish you both everlasting love together!

  2. I think you can apply to have your court date advanced from November through a letter citing special circumstances or family commitment or travel plans …etc to the same court
    but you have to check the procedure
    You said you don’t want to spend money so maybe contact PRO BONO lawyer (s) who may advise you along the way
    stay positive and keep your eyes on the target ( to get your marriage official in Kuwait )
    stay neutral when discussing the legal system on social media

    i hope it is of help

  3. I desperately need your advice on my Kuwaiti girlfriend who i wish to marry and the matters between us, the law, and her family.

  4. I am in love with a Kuwaiti girl and we want to be together. She wants to get out of Kuwait she’s 29 and it seems that her father owns her and will force her into an arranged marriage…
    Is there any way for her to get out of Kuwait? She says she needs her father to sign some travel permissions.
    Her family are racist and only want her to marry an Arab. They don’t want her to be free to make her own choices in life. It breaks my heart and hers.
    Is there anything we can do?

    1. Richard, there are plenty of options depending on both of your willingness to depart. K-1 visa and departing after obtaining is a viable option for a US passport holder. Kuwait is not Saudi, unless she is travel banned she can simply go to the airport and get on a plane.

    2. If you want to remain in Kuwait, I can refer you to an attorney that would most likely be willing to take on the case if you wanted to go through the right legal route in country.

  5. Dear Salomon,
    Im sorry that you both had to go through this but im wondering if you can help us .. because we are getting desperate , i am a kuwaiti girl and my boyfriend is dutch we want to get married and live abroad and never come back. I heard that it is impossible to get a certificate of unmarried status to get approved and leagalised in kuwait to be used abroad , let alone if we marry abroad since it is a civil wedding the kuwaiti embassy needs to approve it and they may not.. we are really getting desperate i hope you can help us

    1. Ann,

      Not 100% sure in your case as I dont know the process or how things work in the Netherlands. The document we have (civil) is from the US has not caused us any trouble here. As you said it will not be recognized, the requirements were prohibitively difficult without her fathers direct involvement in seeing it through completion. Other things like renting a place if for some reason you come back, landlords have just asked why we dont have the Kuwait one, but its never been a show stopper in our day to day lives. It might impact estate planning if you have assets here, for me this is non-applicable, other than a car and motorcycle.

      The good news is, the courts in Kuwait did admit to us that they have seen issues like ours, but they did not provide Nouf or I with any insight as to their outcome. Our case (which I did not show up for) was about 90 days out, so you have to be patient. Could you possibly get married in Kuwait through this way, then emmigrate to the Netherlands? I have been able to get US documents for me attested in the US and use them here, with the exception of the marriage doc. I ran into this online that might be helpful to your boyfriend; I can refer you to an attorney who said he could do this for me in Kuwait, let me know and I can email you the info. He has helped many of people I know in Kuwait with a multitude of other problems.

      On a side note, your departure will put a strain on your relationship and on your family relationships in Kuwait. They will eventually come around. Some will, some wont, its just the reality of it.

  6. Thank you so very very much for your reply and help we will try to see things through and if there are any complecations i will maybe need that lawyer

  7. One more question tho , since you guys were able get a decleration of being unmarried in kuwait translated and legalized before being used in the US and then getting married . I keep asking for one and the ministry of justice saying my decleration is not supposed to leave kuwait and is not intended to be used abroad

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