British citizen marrying an Indian citizen/ special marriage act
goochick
India > Visa and Passport Questions > India Travel Basics > India Travel > Marriage related Visa Questions
#1
| Member

British citizen marrying an Indian citizen/ special marriage act

Hi Guys

I'm a British citizen coming to Punjab, India to marry my Indian fiance under the special marriage act :)

I'm finding it difficult to try and find out the correct documents needed for marriage?

And about this 30 day rule, could his family in India register for us or do I need to stay in India for at least 30 days?

Have tried to contact the British High commission in India but they did not give me the exact answers I need and feel I'm going round in circles.

We have decided to marry in India as my fiance's UK visa is about to expire, so after we marry we then apply for a UK spouse visa for him...my head is swimming with info and would love to talk to someone who has gone through it all or can point me in the right direction? ;)

Thanks

Lisa xx

97 Replies

#2
| Loud Noisy Bird
There is no point in asking the british High Commission about Indian law --- that isn't their job!

I recommend:

--- Google for Special Marriage Act, and read it through; it is not very long, and not complicated. Make sure you've got the Indian one! ;)

--- Search this site for Special Marriage Act too.

--- Search this site for Register Office. Maybe not every result will be about marriage, but most will.

--- Search this site for court marriage, which is the term some people use.

I think you'll find just about everything answered! Come back with any remaining doubts.

While I'm here, though, the 30-day thing; my understanding...

The marriage takes place at a register office under the jurisdiction of which one of you has lived for thirty days.

Then, you both have to give thirty days notice.

The only doubt on the document side is the thing that gives your status as marriagable, ie not already married. I did a Statutory Delclaration in London before a special sort of solicitor called a Notary Public. The British government has no such thing as a certificate that one is single, but I have a feeling there is something they now issue to people who need such a thing abroad.

Otherwise, you just need to prove your identity and your age (over twenty-something; goodness, I've forgotten! See the Marriage Act itself). Birth certificate and passport.
~
Life gets aadhar every day.
.
#3
| Member
Hi Nick

Thanks for your advice! :)

The British High Commission did send me an information sheet on marriage in India for British citizens but a little vague to be honest.

I have spend the last few days having searches on here which is great, will spend more time reading more threads as well

My fiance seems so laid back about it all while I'm getting stressed trying to gather all the info! lol

Would love to hear from other British girls who have married in India and how they got on? :D

Thanks

Lisa xx
#4
| Loud Noisy Bird
other British girls who have married in India


...Counts me out then! :laugh:
~
Life gets aadhar every day.
.
#5
| Maha Guru Member
Seems like a few such are members.

could his family in India register for us or do I need to stay in India for at least 30 days


I think it is both. But, my inlaws did that for me. I ask no questions, I get no lies said the mortgage broker..
#6
| Loud Noisy Bird
(

They've been arresting mortgage brokers in UK recently, I hear.

FSA (Financial Services Authority) wanting to show it has some teeth, I suppose, and finding people that easy to bite. Might take people's minds off the billions that it sat back and watched banks loose

)
~
Life gets aadhar every day.
.
#7
| Maha Guru Member
Amen..
#8
| Member
I am an American Citizen who married an Indian Citizen last year and here is what happened to us.

We went to my husband's local registrar and first submitted our "intentions" to marry. We had to bring our 3 witnesses along and we both had to be there for both visits. I'm not sure if your husband could do the first part before you arrive. My impression then was that our physical presence was required to confirm identity, etc. It would be worth trying if spending 30 days in India would be tough, but I wouldn't count on it.

For the first part of the registration we needed the following documents and stuff:
Patience. lots and lots of patience.
An entire day. seriously. I hope it isn't as long for you!
some passport size photos (that you can get much cheaper and in bulk here in India. I think we needed at least 6 each)
both our passports for identification
photocopies of our passport photo pages and the pages which list our address. They asked us to copy these on to the same sheet of paper and make it look like they were adjacent pages in the passport. Why? I guess to make it look more "official" The address page is the last page in and Indian passport and it is easy to do some cut and paste to get both on the same copy. For my American passport, there is only a write-in address page: more explaining to rather dense government officials
my husband needed proof of local residency. His current address is in his passport so I think that worked. But I think some kind of utility bill or other official document would also work
they also asked ME for proof of local residency as well! This took some serious arguing and negotiating. If you can, get some semi-official looking mail addressed to you at your husband-to-be's address before going this might help as it was one of the things they asked me for, but be prepared to have some debates with the folks at the registrar on this issue. We eventually got them to drop it, but it took some work
We also needed a pre-addressed stamped envelope to send to my local US registrar with the details of the registrar marriage here in India. this was in lieu of the document Nick mentioned that declares you are not already married in your own country. If you can get that before coming, or from your country's Embassy in New Delhi before registering it will make things easier.
3 witnesses! in person (both times)

They should give you some kind of receipt for all this that you should hold on to for the return visit. It cost us 33 rupees to "register" the marriage!

Then 30+1 days later (to play it safe) we went back to sign the actual papers. This time all we needed was:
ourselves
the same 3 witnesses
my husband's mother :)
sweets for the people at the registrar as a small "bribe"
an actual bribe, unfortunately (I think if you pushed more this would not be necessary and it should not be necessary, but oh well.)
another full day
and even more patience!

Congratulations and good luck!
#9
| Loud Noisy Bird
I don't think we had to take our witnesses along when giving notice. Of course, they were needed at the wedding, and I think we had to take them when we went to collect the certificate plus copies a week later (total of three visits). Errr... maybe I got this the wrong way around.

I had a home in Chennai already by the time of the marriage --- a BSNL phone bill is almost universally accepted as proof of address. It was my wife's residence, though, which determined which register office we dealt with.

Stories of my wedding are all over IndiaMike! Some people will groan, and say, oh no, not again! [Blush] :laugh:

I'm not sure that I was the first, but I certainly was very far from the last IMer to do it, and there are lots of posts, covering Special, Hindu (and I think, Muslim) marriage act.

Inked proves a further valuable story (welcome to the site!)
They should give you some kind of receipt for all this that you should hold on to for the return visit. It cost us 33 rupees to "register" the marriage!
Please note that there is absolutely no need to spend thousands on lawyers or middle men, as some of our members have.

One of our members has been unlucky enough to encounter major corruption, which has been very expensive for them. How much one has to pay "extra" will depend on the individuals you encounter. Our registrar would not even accept sweets, and her clerk asked a modest payment (Rs100 twice).

Some countries have various requirements and procedures that marriages abroad be registered with them too. This adds to the complexity and expense. UK is not one: it is blissfully unconcerned about who we marry and where!

There is also the possibility of arranging with the registrar to attend your own function. This requires agreed-upon additional fees. The Indian register-office wedding could hardly be less romantic!
~
Life gets aadhar every day.
.
#10
| rhill1

Originally posted by: goochick View Post

Hi Nick

Thanks for your advice! :)

The British High Commission did send me an information sheet on marriage in India for British citizens but a little vague to be honest.

I have spend the last few days having searches on here which is great, will spend more time reading more threads as well

My fiance seems so laid back about it all while I'm getting stressed trying to gather all the info! lol

Would love to hear from other British girls who have married in India and how they got on? :D

Thanks

Lisa xx

Goodchick,
best wishes from sunny Melbourne!! Hope all goes well
rhill1 xx:) :D
#11
| Member

Originally posted by: edwardseco View Post

Seems like a few such are members.



I think it is both. But, my inlaws did that for me. I ask no questions, I get no lies said the mortgage broker..


Very true! :D
#12
| Member

Originally posted by: inked View Post

I am an American Citizen who married an Indian Citizen last year and here is what happened to us.

We went to my husband's local registrar and first submitted our "intentions" to marry. We had to bring our 3 witnesses along and we both had to be there for both visits. I'm not sure if your husband could do the first part before you arrive. My impression then was that our physical presence was required to confirm identity, etc. It would be worth trying if spending 30 days in India would be tough, but I wouldn't count on it.

For the first part of the registration we needed the following documents and stuff:
Patience. lots and lots of patience.
An entire day. seriously. I hope it isn't as long for you!
some passport size photos (that you can get much cheaper and in bulk here in India. I think we needed at least 6 each)
both our passports for identification
photocopies of our passport photo pages and the pages which list our address. They asked us to copy these on to the same sheet of paper and make it look like they were adjacent pages in the passport. Why? I guess to make it look more "official" The address page is the last page in and Indian passport and it is easy to do some cut and paste to get both on the same copy. For my American passport, there is only a write-in address page: more explaining to rather dense government officials
my husband needed proof of local residency. His current address is in his passport so I think that worked. But I think some kind of utility bill or other official document would also work
they also asked ME for proof of local residency as well! This took some serious arguing and negotiating. If you can, get some semi-official looking mail addressed to you at your husband-to-be's address before going this might help as it was one of the things they asked me for, but be prepared to have some debates with the folks at the registrar on this issue. We eventually got them to drop it, but it took some work
We also needed a pre-addressed stamped envelope to send to my local US registrar with the details of the registrar marriage here in India. this was in lieu of the document Nick mentioned that declares you are not already married in your own country. If you can get that before coming, or from your country's Embassy in New Delhi before registering it will make things easier.
3 witnesses! in person (both times)

They should give you some kind of receipt for all this that you should hold on to for the return visit. It cost us 33 rupees to "register" the marriage!

Then 30+1 days later (to play it safe) we went back to sign the actual papers. This time all we needed was:
ourselves
the same 3 witnesses
my husband's mother :)
sweets for the people at the registrar as a small "bribe"
an actual bribe, unfortunately (I think if you pushed more this would not be necessary and it should not be necessary, but oh well.)
another full day
and even more patience!

Congratulations and good luck!



Many thanks Inked! ;)

Great to hear from someone who has went through the same process, gives me hope! lol
Are you living in India with your husband or are you back in the States?

How did you find your trip to India?

I can't wait to go, have always wanted to visit India and really happy I will be spending 6 weeks there so we are planning on doing a bit of travelling around and will be a huge bonus that I will have my personal guide! :D

Lisa x
#13
| Member

Originally posted by: rhill1 View Post

Goodchick,
best wishes from sunny Melbourne!! Hope all goes well
rhill1 xx:) :D



Hi Rhill

How is life down under? ;)

thanks for your best wishes

Lisa x
#14
| Member
Hi there
Am just new to the site and reading through lots of useful threads on marriage. I am a British citizen, now living in Scotland and hoping to marry my Indian boyfriend in India. We met and he lives in Africa. Sounds like its all going to be way more complicated than we thought. We had hoped to marry in India then after some time I plan to go back to Africa to live there with him before moving to Uk, or maybe India. Anyway I'll keep reading through.. Any advice gratefully received.
Lisa I'd love to know how you're getting on with your plans.
Cheers :-)
#15
| Loud Noisy Bird
Welcome to the site!

My stock advice: marry (at least the legal stuff) in the country in which at least one of you resides, you you intend to permanently reside. You can have whatever ceremony you wish, religious or not, anywhere in the world.

There are special visa restrictions on marriage for persons visiting the UK --- but I expect you're already familiar with the UK side of things.
~
Life gets aadhar every day.
.